Wallan Secondary College students from back left, Dylan Barretts, Kylie Jephcott, Sean Holt and Thomas Starkey; front, Maya Richardson, Chloe Taylor, Makenna Davidson and Alani O'Brien will return to the stage this year in a production of the musical Matilda.

Wallan Secondary College students will return to the stage with a bang in August, with rehearsals well underway for the school’s annual production.

Students will bring the musical Matilda to life this year after the planned 2020 production of the musical Seussical was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

College teacher and production co-director Sian Clarke said Matilda was a musical that would showcase the talents of all the students involved.

“Matilda has always been a personal favourite of mine,” she said.

“It’s got tons of ensemble numbers and the really great thing about Wallan Secondary is we’ve always got strong ensemble members and lots of students who can sing and dance.

“We always want the shows to feel inclusive, so the more ensemble pieces we have the better.”
Co-director Renae Daynes said the show would provide ‘wow factor’.

“We’re going to be adding some new aspects to the show this year that we haven’t included before,” she said.

“We have more cast members than previously, and the choreography is new and strong and different to anything that we’ve done before.”

Ms Clarke and Ms Daynes promised audiences would be awed by ‘magic’ special effects, but remained tight lipped about what was involved in creating them.

Year eight student Chloe Taylor, who has been cast in the lead role of Matilda, said she was looking forward to her first school production.

“I’m a dancer. I’ve danced since grade one, so originally I just wanted to be in a dancing role, but then my friend told me you have to do singing to do dancing, so I just ticked the Matilda box and I got the Matilda role,” she said.

“I’m excited to be [part of the production] and make new friends as part of it.”

Chloe said she would be ‘extremely nervous’ on opening night, but was looking forward to playing Matilda.

“I like that Matilda is very independent and she doesn’t need anybody to stand up for her because she can do it herself,” she said.
Alani O’Brien, who will play Miss Honey, said it would be her final college production and she wanted to finish on a high after last year’s production was cancelled.

“It’s my last year and I’m really excited. It’s going to be a good musical,” she said.

“I’ve been in school productions since I was in year seven. Just performing again will be great. I really miss it, and want to get back the energy that we missed last year.”

Maya Robinson, cast as Michael Wormwood, is also in her final year and said she wanted to ‘go out with a bang’.

“I saw Matilda live when it was in Melbourne, so I was really excited to do this one,” she said.

“It’s a great show and we’ve got a great cast this year with some strong dancers.

“[I have] a really silly, relaxed role and it’s comedic, which I love. You don’t have to take it too seriously, it’s not like you have to sing really well – I just kind of do my thing.”

Ms Daynes said productions were great for bringing students together.

“We had a year seven information night the other night where Sean, who plays Bruce Bogtrotter, was saying the production is something he’s really looking forward to,” she said.

“He’s new to the school this year and he said the production is something that has helped him feel at home very quickly.”

Tickets for Matilda will go on sale on May 30, with the production running from August 19 to 21.

People can call the college on 5783 0300 for more information.

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