Published: 17 September 2015

Ms FORREST (Murchison) - Mr President, I am sure all of us love to be entertained and we often travel long distances to attend quality productions that offer class acts in terms of great acting, music, comedy and all-round entertainment.


Last Friday evening I had the privilege of attending the opening night of Burnie High School's most recent musical production, Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves.  This production involved the whole school in many ways with 200 students, approximately 36 per cent of enrolled students at Burnie High School, directly involved.


What was truly amazing about this production were the comments from those members of the audience who are regular attendees of professional performances in Melbourne and Sydney.  The feedback was that this production was as good as many professional productions.  I absolutely agree.  All performances were very strong with amazing voices, choreography, costumes, music, sets, backstage crew, lighting, sound, et cetera, all topped off with a large injection of impeccably timed humour.


Such was the quality of the production that I had to remind myself throughout the show that all those on the stage, including the backstage crew and in the orchestra pit, were high school students, none of whom was over the age of 16 years.


I would like to name all the students involved, but as there were over 200, my five minutes would not be long enough.  Therefore, I name some of the principal actors, noting that all performances were fantastic and very professional:  Lauren Wild as Fatima, Charlotte Austin-Lund as Mustafa, Georgia Cooper as Marjana, Hannah Watkinson as Bashim and Jasmine Hodgetts as Grabbit provided some of the best comedy performances I have seen in years.  Ben White as Ali Baba, Eliza Paul as Caterina, Madeline Blyth as Alsatia, Mason Waller as Prince Haroun and Chloe Lynch as Princess Jasmine also gave strong and professional performances.


There were so many great scenes in every respect and the transition between them was seamless and impressive, especially with such a large cast.  Many other students had other significant parts and the entire cast contributed to making the performance the success it was.  The humour was very current and delivered with impeccable timing, something that is not easy to achieve.


It was not only the performances of all students that resulted in such a high quality production.  The costumes, of which there were hundreds, were very impressive, colourful and creative.  The sets were amazing and professional and managed with precision by the effective backstage crew.  The tight and creative choreography, coordinated by a very talented group of students, was as good as you would see in many professional productions.  The slick backstage operations, the band, and all other aspects behind this quality production were top class.


I must also acknowledge the huge contribution of staff and parents as this requires an enormous commitment from all involved and many staff go above and beyond the call of duty to put on such productions.


I note the contribution of some staff that require particular mention:  Ben Lohrey, producer and director; Maree Welsh, producer, assistant director and costume designer; Bronwyn Darvell, musical and choral director; as well as stage managers Jessica Beaumont, Sharon Bell, who was also props coordinator, Ryan McIlfatrick, Mathew Smart, Eloise Crocker and Breaane McCall.


Burnie High School principal, Judy Fahey, is rightly very proud of her school and what has been achieved.  It must be acknowledged that it is costly to put on such a show.  Ms Fahey acknowledged, following the show, the value to the students from their involvement in the production, from the commitment and discipline required to put on the show, to the positive impact on their confidence and self-esteem.  On a cost-benefit analysis, there is a clear benefit to all students involved.


I attend as many student productions within my electorate and beyond whenever I can as I always enjoy live performance.  I am constantly amazed by the consistent quality and huge benefit from these productions, and the Burnie High School is a shining example of this.  All students involved in this production will have wonderful lifelong memories and lasting personal benefits resulting from their involvement in this production.



I sincerely congratulate all involved and thank them for a thoroughly entertaining evening.

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