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Alice in Wonderland
Photo by Adam Hodgson

Alice in Wonderland - Drama Club

Francie Liebert —

It’s not every day that the students of Burnside High School unite to form an angry screaming mob!

However, for the dozens of students involved in Drama Club’s production of Alice in Wonderland, which was performed in Week 1 of Term 4, this came as second nature. The show was brought to life through a whole host of characters, played by members ranging from Year 9 to Year 13 - kings and queens, cats and mice, hares and hatters, a six year old girl, a particularly vindictive Queen of Hearts, and her angry screaming entourage.

The production consisted of four shows, which occurred on the 18th and 19th of October - and with so much talent and enthusiasm to go around, it was no wonder that we had two wonderful casts, who alternated performances - each being designated one matinee, filled with children from local primary schools, and one evening show, which friends, teachers, and whanau were encouraged to attend. There was a wonderful turnout and show of support for all the shows, and it was a particularly magical experience, especially for the many cast members who were involved in a show for the very first time.

Our Alices - played by Sophie Landis, Emma Boswell, and Gabriella Wylie - experienced a whirlwind of fantastical characters and unique situations through all 14 scenes of the two hour show, all the while being hunted down by the Queen of Hearts and her mob of playing cards - played (extraordinarily loudly and rather intimidatingly) by Bridie Blundell and Kate Vernon - and being almost helped by the White Rabbit - played by Dev Pandya and Emma Shand. How they, and all our other talented cast members, managed to learn lines for a show of this length and difficulty is truly beyond me, and I take my mad hat off to them.

This show did not emerge from nowhere. Over the past several months, students and teachers alike dedicated their time and energy to this project, and on behalf of the cast, I would like to especially thank Ms Koning, Miss Heta, and Ms Ryder - our staff in charge of Drama Club - who threw themselves into Wonderland so that we could create this production. Also a huge thanks to Richard Wiltshire and the tech and backstage crew, who really made the magic happen, Vicky Morris-Williamson, our costume person, who ensured that everyone was clothed (greatly appreciated), Rhys Holyoake, who helped create Wonderland through background art, Zia Veer, who was our amazing music director, and to Lily Burt, whose prop management was the reason anything appeared on stage, ever. In case you’re not sick of thank- you's yet, I’d also like to thank our Year 12 and 13 leaders, who directed this show and kept it going, both on and off-stage - Ollianda Clinton, Caitlin McGregor, Lily Burt, Lucas French, Sophie Sugrue, and, rather vainly, Francie Liebert.

After another successful year of Drama Club, we proclaim "off with their heads" - the dearly beloved heads of Drama Club that is - Ollianda Clinton, Caitlin McGregor, and Lily Burt, who have been with us for a number of years, and thank them and all the others involved in Alice in Wonderland for their work. I’d like to wish everyone and their vocal cords very well, and say a huge thank you to everyone for the madness.