When it comes to the annual production, most schools decide on a show, apply for the rights, and then rehearse for the performance.
Not ACG Senior College. Last month, the school held its production of All That Jazz. A devised cabaret put together by students and professional director Hamish McGregor, it started as an homage to previous years’ productions, but soon morphed into a purely original creation.
“We started with a base of a list of songs from all of the previous ACG Senior College productions and together culled them down to the ones we liked best,” explained Hamish, a professional director who three years ago switched from teaching to the performing arts.
“We created a loose story line and developed characters. As time went on we discovered that we needed to add some songs that were not from the previous shows. So the show grew organically to become the production that it was!”
The student cast poured their own ideas and passion into the show. They chose a cabaret style to give the show an intimate feeling, a step change from the typical school production.
“It’s been a very unique process for me,” Hamish said. “This often happens in drama class, where devising is an important tool. But most school productions don’t take a risk and let the students and an external director create something like this.”
It’s a fitting reflection of the ethos of the school, says Principal Tracey Dykstra.
“We believe in empowering our students to be self-expressive and responsible for their own learning. We are proud of the independence the students took in creating this year’s production with Hamish and it was great to see them stepping up to take the responsibility and have so much fun doing it.”