Published on August 29, 2019

The future of HVGS performing arts is in safe hands, with the history-making production of Disney’s Mulan JR showcasing the dramatic and musical talent of students in Years 5 – 8.

For the first time, junior students joined senior students to bring a much-loved musical production to life on the big stage. The involvement of younger students (some in lead roles) has showcased the breadth of talent across the entire school.

Two students performing in Mulan

Kelli Hicks, Artistic Director and Junior School teacher says that this production has opened everyone’s eyes to the potential of our younger students with an interest in performing arts.

“Mulan JR has allowed younger students find meaning in what they love to do, to find their theatre tribe and to be around like-minded students,” Kelli said. 

Staging a school production is a huge undertaking – particularly when the cast is inexperienced in performance. Mulan JR brought together about twenty crew and forty-five cast members from beginning to end. What the audience sees on the stage though, is the result of months of work. A lot is happening in the lead up to the performance from deciding what to stage, gaining performance rights, auditions, set and prop design and construction, costume, hair and makeup design, and of course hours of rehearsals after-school and on weekends.

But this has only brought students closer. 

“Through this process, students have found positivity through joy, inspiration and pride in working together on such a project, and they become collectively engaged in creating something special. 

“Students have that feeling of ultimate accomplishment. They overcame their fears, self-doubt and confidence to be recognised and rewarded by peers, staff, family and friends, and all who came to enjoy the show,” said Kelli.

Two students performing in Mulan

Student feedback about their involvement in the production demonstrated just how vital opportunities are like these.

“The students involved have expressed how special it felt to be involved, how proud they were to perform after months of rehearsals, and how truly sad they felt for it all to be over,” Kelli said. 

Students who were not involved in the show have also been inspired by their peers.

“As a classroom teacher, I experienced first-hand the excitement of other students watching Mulan. A good 20 minutes was spent in class sharing their favourite parts of the show,” Kelli said.

Eleanor Smith (Year 8) played the lead role of Mulan and although felt a little nervous in the lead up to the show, said that her first experience of a musical production was fantastic.

“I loved working with kids of all ages – singing, acting and dancing together.

“Everyone was so proud of each other and their hard work! The feeling of accomplishment after each show, the smiles and memories are unforgettable.

“I learnt so much, met amazing people and had such great fun. I learned how to express myself through words and songs and now I can appreciate just how much dedication, hard work and time goes into staging a production,” said Eleanor.