Encouraging Community Growth Through Drama
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Encouraging Community Growth Through Drama

For the first time in more than a decade Woodstock faculty are performing a large scale staff show.

I have been loving the experience of being in a drama production for the first time in about 20 years, under the direction of the school’s new Dean of Enrichment and professional actress Bethany Okie.

The show we are performing is the musical You’re A Good Man Charlie Brown, based on the Peanuts cartoon strip by Charles M Schulz, and premiered in New York in 1967. It has since appeared on Broadway and in London’s West End.

The international cast is made up of 16 staff members from four different countries; India, the US, the UK and New Zealand. The cast is also a good cross section of the school’s staff base, with nine teaching staff, three dorm parents and four administrative staff involved.

But how is this related to community growth, you might be thinking? Well, the staging of the production is a huge endeavour. Although it’s the actors on stage who will take much of the glory, the musical could never take place if it wasn’t for the whole school community rallying round to help.

  • Math teachers and master craftsmen Zach Conrad and Paul Morrill, assisted by parent Craig Wiggins, have done a superb job creating the set in just over a week.

  • Learning assistance teacher Mike Pesavento and his daughter Juliana have worked tirelessly on the lighting and sound for the show. English teacher Paul Roberts has done voice coaching, junior school teachers Kim Ferguson and Anjali Sharma have made props. Judy Crider, on the recruitment team at Woodstock, has taken on the role as stage manager.

  • A band consisting of music teacher Jessie Huang (keyboards), journalism teacher Chris Rhatigan (bass), and student Sohail Das (drums) have come together at short notice to master the show’s songs.

  • Other staff members, parents and students have helped paint the set, bought props in the bazaar, and assisted with numerous other mundane jobs for the show. I’m sorry I am not able to publicly acknowledge everyone here.

Quite simply, without the community coming together giving their time and energy for free for this show, it could never take place. The musical highlights how something like a play can bring out the best in the community, all pulling together to reach a common goal.

Encouraging community growth is part of Woodstock’s 2020 Vision statement, “to explore models for community growth which promote growth across cultures and ages”, and this has certainly been achieved in putting on this play.

While the actors will take the acclaim after the show, as much credit must go to all those who worked so hard behind the scenes to make it happen.

Why not check out how you can get involved in community growth at Woodstock by looking at our job vacancies online?

Ed Beavan, Communications Associate, Woodstock School