Now that the dust has settled from our senior school production, High School Musical, we can look back and reflect on an amazing achievement by our students. I have been delighted with the unanimously positive feedback from the audiences, including ‘the best school musical I’ve ever seen‘ and ‘as good as a West End show’. Compared to recent productions, this was a very young cast, with so many Year 7s and Year 8s having their first experience on stage. Lead roles were taken as young as Year 9. Such was the feeling of new stars in the making that the show might have been sub-titled ‘the next generation’.
And how varied they were, the actors, singers and dancers. Different talents, different temperaments, yet complementing each other so well. In every scene, each character gave it their all, leading to the most amazing variety of movement, facial expression, sound and mood. I watched all four performances; it felt as if I had seen a different show each time. By switching our eyes from one actor to another we watched something new, something unexpected, something unique. The interactions between cast members on the periphery of the stage sometimes seemed to be a show in themselves.
The wide variety of ages also allowed for great learning between older and younger members of the cast. In watching some of the rehearsals, I was delighted to see the way these young people taught, inspired and supported each other. Leadership and teamwork in abundance. It was as if confidence was contagious. A collective effort, where, as with all the most successful teams, the sum was even greater than the parts. The themes of the show were about identity, loyalty, participation, taking risks and celebrating differences. We saw this play out in reality throughout the production. The song ‘we’re all in this together’ could not have been more appropriately staged.
Learning is sometimes scary; it is often fun. Both at the same time is great, as I saw throughout this production. The journey of education is one that is best shared to be enjoyed.
M H P Walton