Saved by the Belle

PREPERATIONS are in full swing at St Mary’s College for this year’s highly-anticipated school production ‘Beauty and the Beast’, which will be staged at the Playhouse Theatre in August.

Thirty-five of the school’s year seven to 12 students – with skills across a range of performing arts disciplines – have dedicated themselves to bringing the magic of the classic Disney fairy tale to life.

This includes year eight student Cecilia Hutchinson as the loveable, headstrong Belle.

Produced by St Mary’s College, the musical is a collaborative effort between students and staff, with 11 St Virgil’s College students rounding out the gifted cast.

It follows the story of Belle, a young woman in provincial France, and the Beast, an arrogant young prince transformed into a monster after he is cursed by an enchantress.

St Mary’s College senior drama teacher Leah Smith said there was a wealth of talent to choose from, with more than 80 students from both schools auditioning for a part.

“Musical productions give young people the opportunity to express themselves in a different way and to find their creative spark,” she said.

“Not only do students benefit from and enjoy the thrill of being part of a full-scale production, but they are encouraged and inspired to take creative risks – to think on their feet, work as supportive team members and set achievable goals.”

The College’s newly-refurbished drama and music facilities, unveiled in 2017, offer students a suitable environment in which to refine their craft.

St Mary’s College music coordinator Scott Weston said students appreciated being able to rehearse in a professional space that closely mirrored a “live theatre” setting.

“It gives them the confidence to create a product that they can be proud of and which the audience will enjoy,” he said.

Mr Weston said students’ involvement in the musical was not limited to singing, dancing and acting roles.

“Students have input in all production aspects from set design to costume and prop development, and backstage coordination,” he said.

The vibrant production will be supported by the College’s 16-piece musical band and choregraphed by St Mary’s College alumna Georgie Taskunas.

St Mary’s College principal Helen Spencer said the school’s biennial musicals were always of a high calibre, with students performing each show with professionalism and passion.

“Arts education is a highly valued component at St Mary’s College and the opportunity to collaborate with St Virgil’s is welcomed,” she said.

Beauty and the Beast will be performed at the Playhouse Theatre from 16-18 August at 7pm, with a school matinee performance on 15 August.

Caption: St Mary’s College students will take to the stage in August for their biennial musical, Beauty and the Beast. Pictured, from left, Cecilia Hutchinson (year 8) as Belle, Grace Boxall (year 11), Taylah Lowry (year 11), Fay Burke (year 10) and Lucinda Smith (year 11), seated, as the ‘Silly Girls’.