Published: 19 June 2018


Ms  FORREST  (Murchison) - Mr President, I recently attended one of my favourite pastimes, a musical production at a high school in my electorate.  This time it was Marist Regional College's production of High School Musical.

All involved in this great production did an incredible job.  The energy was palpable and the opening night went off without a hitch.  I thoroughly commend all who took part in this production, including the almost 90 students involved as actors, musicians and backstage and front of house staff.  They have been working on this show for eight months, with rehearsals three times a week until more recently, when they had rehearsals every second day in their own time.

The production was directed by Mrs Penny Thomas, the drama teacher, who incidentally grew up just down the road from me and taught my four children drama.  These are skills they continue to use.  There were five shows and two matinees.  One of those matinees was a community show attended by primary school students and Multicap and Umina Park residents.

When my children were at high school they were involved in school musicals so I am well aware of the enormous effort that goes into such a successful production.  I was wardrobe coordinator for some of these shows so I know the work involved.  More importantly, I witnessed the benefit to students of being engaged in such productions.  It was a joy to work with such enthusiastic and talented young people.

My recognition includes the voluntary support and work of teachers and other staff, parents, students and friends of the school, above and beyond the staff member position descriptions.

The principal, Mr Adrian Drane, in his comments contained in the program, noted and thanked those involved -

I can see that it requires an extraordinary amount of commitment, discernment, skill, talent, communication, negotiation and patience.  A production of this scale is not a one off event for the College, but something that is a culmination of six to eight months work for young people and staff.  They work together in achieving a common vision and goal which requires great synergy and trust.

The skills they learn and the experience they acquire from being part of this production will carry on with them throughout their lives.  We know that these skills learnt and developed, will serve them well in whatever field they choose.  Certainly the memories they have will have last a lifetime.

It is my hope as well that they continue with their involvement in the Arts as it is a driver of our culture and innovation in our modern day community.

Director Mrs Penny Thomas said -

High School Musical is a story for teenagers.  It covers the big issues involved in surviving at High School, a time in our lives that a few of us look back on with mixed feelings.

The play deals with the cliques, the ambitions, the crippling peer pressure, the highs and lows of teenage love and the awful pain of making mistakes while acquiring maturity.  The cast understand those feelings.  The play is about them.  You can hear it in the conviction with which they sing the songs and present their characters.

Mrs Thomas also commented on the contribution of a number of students who added so much to the show.  She said -

It has been very exciting to work with talented student choreographers Sophie Graham-Jones, Olivia Williams, Emma Walker and Stella Nibbs.  The show beats to the rhythm of the Rock Band and special mention must be made of Joel Humphries on keyboards, who learnt all the songs in the show early and played for auditions and rehearsals.  Madison Gleason has been adaptable, focussed and capable as the student deputy stage manager.  I know that these students reflect the ability and dedication of their music, dance and drama teachers in and out of school.

I acknowledge and thank the many others who gave their time and energy that went into making this show such a success.  Unfortunately time does not permit me to name them all.  Many volunteers filled the roles of director, production managers, music directors, choreographers, American accent coach, choral directors, stage managers, backstage crew, front of house manager, set design, construction and production, costume design and coordination, technical production and hair and make-up.

Many people were dedicated to making such an experience possible, and the benefit to all students involved is unparalleled.

Thank you to them all for a thoroughly enjoyable evening's entertainment while reminding us of some of the pressures of high school - the cliques, the ambitions, the crippling peer and parental pressures, the highs and lows of teenage love, the awful pain of making mistakes while acquiring maturity as well as the important messages included in the storyline for us as well as the students, of which there were many.

We all win if we work together; as the song said, 'We are all in this together.'


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