In my first year of teaching at another primary school, I had a sink or swim moment when I was informed ‘Jo you’ve got 30 kids to do a drama thing with and then showcase the end product at our family twilight arts night.’ I had no idea where to begin, but I got the job done and when the curtain fell, I thought ‘Gee wouldn’t it be great to do ‘The Lion King’?’ So from there the seed grew and brought us here tonight - many years later! It is with great fondness that I will remember this production with the 2017 Grade 5/6 TPPS students. As they have helped bring that seed to its full fruition. I hope we have created some wonderful memories for the Grade 5/6 students with this production.
What a wonderful two nights we have had as our students have taken us into the African Pridelands. They have done such an outstanding job and it is simply amazing that we have achieved all this in just over 6 weeks.
The commitment and dedication the students have shown has been incredible! With many stopping me around the school at different times to check in on a staging detail, pronunciation of a song lyric in an African dialect, costume design, prop use or asking for an extra rehearsal.
I would like to thank some people that have helped me tremendously along the way and I hope I don’t leave anyone out …
The TPPS Community that brought in cardboard, belts, umbrellas, hoola hoops, broomsticks and cardboard tubes to be used for props or costumes.
Balwyn North Primary School and Haileybury Edrington that allowed us to borrow prop boxes and a ramp that were pieced together to create Pride Rock.
Tracey from Costumes Without Drama for supplying fabulous costumes for our students.
Andrea Bridge and family for donating a Woolworths gift voucher to assist with funding props and costumes.
Ian Lee of Blues Removals, a past parent who volunteered his time to transport our sets and props from TPPS to the Besen Centre and back again.
Michelle Tighe and Marnie Selwood – for offering support and help wherever they could, along with organizing afterschool rehearsals on a Wednesday.
Claire Nimmo – our ninja photographer, who somehow snuck in every now and then to capture beautiful photos of our students. You hardly knew that she was there until she would whip home and come back on the same day with a USB or poster full of photos for us to display. Thanks for your fantastic work our school community is very appreciative!
Lorena Novoa – our singing coach guru! Who used her fabulous skillset to work with the chorus group and some of our main cast to get them singing to perfection. Thank you Lorena for all your preparation and time in teaching the students.
Sam Sharp – even though it was such a hectic time for her family she volunteered her skills to assist with choreography. Helping to finesse “I Just Can’t Wait to be King” and the lioness dances to look amazing with great unison and canon maneuvers.
Mark Roberts, Brian Cleary and all the teachers at TPPS who have continually checked in to see how things are going and if there was anything they could do to help – I must admit that at times I didn’t even know what help I needed as there was so much running through my head. I know that at some point, there was laminating done for me and I don’t even know who did it, so thank you. To those that helped behind the scenes on the performance nights to assist students get ready for stage and then packed up, thank you for making it all operate so smoothly.
Marguerite Fredericks – for setting up and organizing a smooth sale of the tickets for both nights!
Laura King – thanks for designing and creating a beautiful program that is a great memento for our students.
Cara Barry – for sourcing all the supplies and organizing a team of hair stylists to create the amazing hairstyles for Rafiki, Pumbaa, Timon, Simba, the lionesses and the zebras. The hairstyles looked fabulous and added a great final addition to our characters’ costumes.
Marnee Tobin and Julie Foudoulis for bringing to life all the designs and instructions for our cast makeup from our discussions on how each animal should look.
Your planning and organization was impeccable which made the makeup run so smoothly and efficiently. The kids looked marvelous! Thanks to the teachers, parents and past students that volunteered their time to be Makeup Artists for the performances.
Thanks also to Julie Foudoulis for being such a great support, your messages to check if I needed help with anything, creating Rafiki’s hoop and doing my dishes – amazing!
Nicole Sumner! Wow! You worked unbelievably hard on ‘The Lion King Junior’ and should be very proud of what you achieved. Thanks for being so amazing and accommodating of my ideas, which enabled my vision of how it should all look come to life. I think at times, Nicole would see me coming and want to hide as I had another idea or image to show. “How about this? Could we do this? Would it look good?” I am sure Bronnie Brasch thought the same as she helped a great deal too – painting, experimenting with rocks at home, creating our buzzard puppet and Pumbaa mask.
The 5/6 teachers – thank you for being so flexible and accommodating in allowing Performing Arts sessions to change to enable a rehearsal of a specific group or scene. Well done on your work side stage both performances to assist with costume changes, switches of microphone sets, ensure cast members had props, transition of groups on and off stage.
Erin Levinson – I have enjoyed watching the animals, ZOGG (Zebras, Ostriches, Gazelles and Giraffes) and CHEF (Cheetahs, Hippopotamuses, Elephants and Flamingoes), walking around in character. The sense of dedication you passed onto that group was phenomenal, as they always strived to be in character.
Tracy Allen – Your work with the Wildebeest was fantastic! Thanks for creating a great Stampede dance that had steps in spectacular unison.
Kate Mitchell – Thank you for your hard work in getting our hyenas to look so … Slobbering! … Stupid! … Mangy! … Huh! The dance choreographed to “Be Prepared” was superb!
Elias Karageorgiou – great work with the musicians teaching them their songs and fabulous organization of our backstage crew! Getting the students to know what goes where onstage and when to bring it off. Brilliant.
Robyn Twyford and Irene Yaacoub – Thank you for assisting with the chorus group and teaching the choreography of “Grasslands Chant” and “Hakuna Matata” to our Grass and Jungle group. They did a wonderful job of bringing the Pridelands and Jungle to life.
Thomas Currie, who I had the pleasure of teaching in Grade 5! This time, the shoe was certainly on the other foot, as during this experience he has taught me so many things of a theatrical nature – striking the stage, battens, tabs, scrim, the meaning of ‘Chookas’ and ‘Break a leg.’ Thank you Thomas for all the time you spent planning and working with the main cast to help create such a brilliant show. It was an absolute joy to work with you in this collaborative way – you are a talented, capable and outstanding young man with a bright future ahead. Many of us at TPPS will look forward to watching where your star will next shine.
My family – my parents Ian and Heather West, who helped make the Wildebeest masks and did some extra babysitting of my daughters so I could work on production. Thanks to my husband Michael for making the gorge, fixing handles on wildebeest masks and starting the creation of the elephant ribcage. Michael and my daughters Mackenzie and Addison have certainly made some sacrifices, as I was a little absent with the amount of time I put into organizing and planning for production. Their support was amazing and unwavering, which enabled me to achieve what I set out to do. Thank you.
In a wrap, I would like to thank our school community for their feedback it has been so positive and has felt like I was wrapped in a warm blanket. I am so pleased that TPPS’ The Lion King Junior was so enjoyable and so well received.
“Break a leg!”