Directed by Year 12 St Francis Xavier’s College, Hamilton student Thomas Rodgers, the cast consisted of students from Years 7 to 10 and was a true showcase of their creative talent.
Thomas definitely has the directing bug as it was he who co-directed the St Pius’ production of Grease back in 2016.
“Once I heard some buzz about me directing a musical, something I hadn’t even put forward yet, I thought that this would be another fantastic opportunity to do what I love,” said Thomas.
“I was extremely surprised to have been entrusted with such a huge responsibility and I’ll forever be grateful to Mr Robert Emery, the St Pius Executive and the Creative and Performing Arts (CAPA) staff members who believed in me and my abilities.”
Chloe Anson-Smith who played the role of Ariel, sent chills through the audience as she sang a perfect and passionate rendition of the classic ‘Part of Your World’.
The character of Ursula was played by the talented Jessie Edmonds. Despite the flu and almost losing her voice, she was still able to terrify audiences in every scene with her incredible performances.
Nailing his comedic role as Sebastian and brilliantly leading the ensemble in ‘Under the Sea’ and ‘Kiss the Girl’, was Hayden McDonald who is billed as a talent with a bright future.
Keeping their funny and loveable characters of Flotsam and Jetsam perfectly in sync throughout the show, Ava Gidley and Francesca Moretti managed to steal the spotlight in many of their scenes.
Thomas, who had to balance the demands of his HSC studies with production meetings, rehearsals and organising costumes and technical design, was very thankful to everyone who worked behind the scenes and who provided him with incredible support.
“I would not have gotten through this experience without two people in particular, Rosemari and Adrianna Rossi,” said Thomas.
“Adrianna helped with choreography every week and Rosemari made over 60% of the costumes. I will forever be grateful for their support and generosity throughout this experience.”
A big thank you also goes out to the many people within the Newcastle theatre community who generously lent a helping hand to bring the production to live. Those involved include Julie Black from Metropolitan Players, Artistic Director of ASPIRE, Anna Kerrigan, Jane Smith from the Young People’s Theatre, Carl Caruso from Engadine Musical Society and Mel Hunt.
“I am so proud of every single cast member who has come out of their shell and developed new friendships, skills and confidence that I hope they will cherish and continue to sustain in the future,” said Thomas.
“From being petrified to tell me their names in their auditions to performing in front of over 1,200 people and wanting to do it all over again, that is why I did this and that is why I love theatre.
“I hope this inspired more students to get involved in the Arts. St Pius has incredible facilities and teachers that can cater for talented performers that show you don’t have to go to a performing arts school to succeed in the performing arts."