Urinetown was a delightful full scale production that entertained well over 570 audience members, over the three night season, while also highlighting the immense value of theatre in our kura.
In an era where educational approaches are constantly evolving (or are being forced to respond and pivot to unprecedented events) theatre remains a powerful tool for shaping the minds and hearts of young learners. In a world increasingly dominated by screens and digital interaction, theatre also provides an opportunity for students to unplug, engage with one another, create purposeful community and connections while participating fully in the magic of live performance. Therefore, in staging the show Wellington College is supporting and empowering a wonderful group of students to become more well-rounded individuals with a deeper understanding of themselves and the world they inhabit. It truly was a unforgettable creative and educational journey.
Collaboration lies at the heart of theatre, and it serves as an invaluable lesson for students. It was a project that showcased the talents of our students but it also exemplifies the remarkable way in which theatre nurtures healthy working relationships between staff members and also reaches out to the wider school community network.
I would like to extend my deepest gratitude to Jessie Cooper who was the instigator of the whole project back in 2022. To know from experience what is required, what pressure and stakes are involved, but yet stand up and say, ‘I’ll direct’ takes a special type of heroism! Next, a massive thanks to Kathy Roy for accepting her first role as a Musical Director with this project. Her mahi at the harmonious heart of the show was exceptional to witness. Thanks to Liam Boyle for forming such a impressive and efficient orchestra while also being a one man trio. Following on, thanks to the adults in the band, Nicky Sutherland and Mike Ashton (from WGC and Scots respectively), for their generosity of time, energy and artistry. Thanks also to the whole Visual Arts department for consultation, resources and practical help in the poster design and set finishing. Also, a final salute to Holly Browne, Nichole Devine and Ian Sims, from the Technology department, for their simply amazing support in building the large tricky set constructions which were on proud display each night.
This production has also provided a chance for staff to work together on various logistical and organisational aspects. A big thanks to Penny Dustin, for delivering on her various and valuable administrative responsibilities as well as overseeing ticketing and front of house; a salute to Oliver Michie for his flexible arm when approached to stage manage; and Blair Robertson for his work in assisting across set dressing, costuming and numerous other roles in rehearsals. Lastly, a special thanks to Libby Carson and the WC Parents Association for their help with hosting and getting the word out to our community.
One of the obvious impediments to putting on a show of the scale of Urinetown is the costs involved. I would like to acknowledge and sincerely thank our supporters and sponsors for making this aspect less daunting: Wellington Scaffold for there heavily subsidised work on the supply and installation of the bones of the set; Omri Ash of Millers Electrical; and Mike Gorham of Hynds Systems for the conduit and piping you can see all over the stage. Thanks to Lance Williams of Ray White Realty for once again suppling us with promotional billboards, Rowan McShane of Grouse Lighting for a staggering discount on lighting equipment, old boy/tech extraordinaire, Archie Taylor, now of NW group for facilitating a hugely reduced quote for key audio equipment, and finally a special shout out to Scots College for the use of their collection of radio mic’s.
Last, and of course, most importantly, a huge congratulation and thank you to the stars of the show – the cast and crew. From the work of the student tech team (lead by Cam Jones) showcasing confidence under pressure and wrangling the complicated interconnected technology that ran the light and audio each night, through to the 30 performers’ incredible solo and ensemble singing, wonderful comic timing and impacting moments of pathos and emotional connection, it was truly extraordinary to watch. Thanks to everyone for trusting the process, embracing the challenge, and committing to the mahi and each other.
Arts, Cultural and Extra-Curricular Director