Down the rabbit hole with Girls Grammar

Bethany as The Mad Hatter and Claudia as Tweedle Dee.

Matthew Pearce

Don’t be late, Rockhampton Girls Grammar School has a very important date with Alice in Wonderland Jr.

Thirty-three students from grades 5 to 12 will join in the fun as cast and crew for the musical, with the assistance of five teaching staff.

Arts teacher Laryssa Anger said the school had performed Seussical Jr last year, but that was the first RGGS musical in many years.

“Since last year was our first year, we surprised even ourselves by how well it did,” she said.

“We sold out three nights and so this year we have added another show.

“It is exciting to think of the possibilities for our future musicals. It is our goal to do one annually for the foreseeable future as we continue to grow the program.”

Laryssa said the school had a strong program across visual art, music, drama and dance so the school musicals were a fantastic way for the students to showcase their creative talents.

“Our lead girls this year are Caitlin, Kiera and Cadence,” Laryssa said.

“They are all outstanding performers who are having a great time. They are all very passionate about the performing arts.”

Rehearsals started at the end of Term 1 and went online during the school closures for Covid-19.

“We rehearsed once a week using the Teams platform,” Laryssa said.

“This kept the girls engaged and helped them to learn their lines.”

During Term 3, once restrictions eased, RGGS has held two full cast rehearsals a week, and one specific scene focus group each week.

“The girls are now starting to have their own rehearsal during lunch times and are working really hard to prepare themselves since our rehearsal time was cut short,” Laryssa said.

“Our goal is to produce a fantastic musical every year and to choose a venue that suits the performance.

“This year, we’re doing Alice in Wonderland and the venue is just perfect – we’re outdoors, families can bring along a picnic basket and sit at our outdoor table settings which will reflect the Mad Hatter’s Tea Party.”

Laryssa said this was the second musical production she had directed at RGGS but she had been involved in many musicals prior to starting at the school.

“There is something that I love about every single one of them,” she said.

“It is such a proud accomplishment to promote opportunities for the performing arts and see the girls get excited about showcasing their talents.”

Laryssa said Girls Grammar had a strong culture of developing its students holistically, and musicals were one of the many ways the girls had the opportunity to learn, have fun and shine during their time at the school.

“The connections that they make across year levels, the skills that they learn, the confidence that they build, it’s amazing,” she said.

“It is just such a special experience to watch them take on their roles, to watch them practice the dances, and try different voices and accents and laugh with each other as they do it instead of feeling self-conscious and scared to try something new.

“Some girls feel like they have found a place where they belong as part of the cast, when they haven’t found that anywhere else.

“It is just so fulfilling to facilitate this environment that everyone is proud to be part of and where they feel safe, confident and connected.”

Tickets are open to the public. While 250 people attended Seussical Jr each night, this year’s musical will have much smaller crowds thanks to Covid-19.

“We have a Covid Safe plan in action, which does require numbers to be limited in line with government guidelines, but we are sure everyone will have a wonderful evening following Alice’s adventures down the rabbit hole,” Laryssa said.

Alice in Wonderland Jr will be held at the RGGS outdoor undercover area at 7pm 4 September, 2pm and 7pm 5 September and 2pm, 6 September.

Tickets are available through trybooking.com or through the school’s Facebook page.