On the hind paws of last year’s successful production of Lion King Jr., students of Queen Margaret’s School will take to the big stage again at Cowichan Performing Arts Centre on June 2 with their latest production of Seussical Jr.
It takes a Whoville to put on such a production, and nearly 100 students of all grades are getting in on the act. Under the direction of Tilly Lorence, the 34 core actors in grades five through seven have been rehearsing diligently during recess and after school for the past six months. Approximately 55 students grades three to four have worked tirelessly with music teacher, Rebecca Clausen, while nine seniors have been preparing their vocal chops with choir director, Alison Hounsome.
“Our team wanted to find a show that had plenty of interesting roles for our large cast and a story with relevant themes, humour and heart,” said Lorence. “Seussical’s themes of friendship, acceptance, and the power of standing up for what’s right connected well with our school values of being kind, being curious, being brave, and being you. Also, it’s funny! The humour and themes appeal to all ages.”
All ages are invited to watch the private school students breathe life into some of Dr. Seuss’s best-loved characters in a touching tale of Horton and Gertrude banding together to save Whos, free Horton and restore peace and unity to the Jungle of Nool in either a 1 p.m. matinee, or a 6 p.m. evening show at CPAC. Tickets can be purchased online through CPAC’s box office or by calling 250-746-2722.
Lorence, who is in her sixth year at Queen Margaret’s has plenty of education, and experience in the arts behind her. Through her 19 years of teaching, and directing youth drama, Lorence said this is the most difficult Jr. show she has directed to date, due to the extra rehearsal time required.
“I hope the students feel proud of themselves and remember that learning takes patience and effort, and that they made friends and have lots of great memories,” said Lorence. “My favorite part of directing is witnessing the cast’s growth, both as individuals and as an ensemble. I enjoyed watching all of our students develop their skills, gain confidence, laugh and create together. Since this show’s music is very demanding, I felt that a lot of attention went into teaching the music and choreography. My favourite moments of rehearsal though, were when the actors connected with their characters and offered their own ideas to more effectively tell the story. Those moments most empower their creativity.”
Lorence also hopes that as Seussical Jr. unravels while weaving a story of friendship, loyalty and love against all odds, audience members also feel empowered as they are reminded of the power of being unique, along with the importance of fighting for your beliefs.
“I hope that the audience feels uplifted and inspired by watching the young performers,” said Lorence. “I hope they appreciate the efforts of all our faculty and volunteers who organized the costumes, sets, and props to make the show visually appealing.”