Schools on Stage

Cinematic Theatre Comes of Age

The integration of live performance and the magic of the big screen is more popular than ever. Brad Jennings and Steven Maxwell have been pioneers of the art form. Their company Markwell Presents was founded in 2002 after the school teachers met and worked together to produce original work.

Schools Spectacular 2014

Its alumni include international artists Human Nature; musical director, pianist and composer John Foreman; 2013 The Voice finalists Diana Rouvas and Darren Percival; ARIA winners Paulini and Angus and Julia Stone; musical theatre stars David Harris, Lucy Maunder, Amanda Harrison, Julie Goodwin and Trevor Ashley; composer Gavin Lockley and country singers The McClymonts, Felicity Urquhart and Darren Coggan.

What new talent from NSW public schools waits to be discovered in this year’s Schools Spectacular?

Seussical Jr.

St Mark’s Anglican Community School. Directed by Kristy Raymond. Barbara Godwin Performing Arts Complex. 23-25 Oct 2014

Seussical is clearly the show to do at the moment, with numerable productions recently in the west and at least another in rehearsal. This incarnation, presented by the Middle School students of St Mark’s Anglican Community School, was a high quality, great feeling production.

Dare to Dream: Victorian State Schools Spectacular

Dreams do come true and for a talented number of performers, their dreams, determination and hard work will see them centre stage at this year’s Victorian State Schools Spectacular. 

More than 3000 students from over 200 schools from across Victoria will perform hits from Queen, Lorde, Led Zeppelin, the Eurythmics and more in this year’s Victorian State Schools Spectacular – Dare to Dream.


Helena College (WA). Directed by Kristen Twynam-Perkins. Musical Direction by Helena Jeffrey. Helena College Performing Arts Centre. 14-18 Aug 2014

While Middle School musicals are becoming increasingly common, to mount a full-scale musical in a small (three stream) school, is a major achievement.

I managed to catch a Saturday evening performance of Helena College's Seussical - the previous evening having to be abandoned due to a suburb-wide power outage. The cast had rebounded with joy and a professional attitude.

Thoroughly Modern Millie

Directed by Kathleen Cocks/ Musical Direction by Harry Oliff. Mercedes College Performing Arts Centre, Perth WA. July 30 - Aug 2, 2014

It is peak school production season in Perth. Many schools are using the first few weeks of Semester II because the coincide with the Catholic Schools Performing Arts Festival, but many non-Catholic schools are also staging their productions at this time.

Judith Prior Musicals Popular with Schools

Judith Prior’s What’s New Pussycat World Premiere.

The Blue Mountains College in West Otago New Zealand staged the World Premiere of Judith Prior’s What’s New Pussycat in February.  The jukebox musical based on the story of Puss in Boots was a hit. Director Vicki Crawford chose it because of the large number of parts including acting only roles and the availability of a CD backing track.  Student Shani Hayes who pioneered the lead of Puss reports.

2014 Class Clowns National Winner Announced

At Melbourne’s Capitol Theatre on Thursday, 3 April 2014, 13 of the nation’s sharpest school-aged comic acts went head to head in a battle for the most laughs at the Melbourne International Comedy Festival’s Class Clowns National Grand Final.

The winner for 2014 was 14 year old Gregor Tarrant from Wodonga Middle Years’ College in Victoria, who blew the judges away with his physical, character style comedy and a Jim Carrey-esque persona, bringing a snake charmer, a t-rex and an emu to life onstage.

SPARK: School Performing Arts Resource Kit

Stage Whispers Magazine is proud to release our inaugural edition of SPARK: School Performing Arts Resource Kit,  which is a free on-line publication found at:

SPARK includes listings for performances available for schools, both incursions and excursions, around Australia.

SPARK also includes resources for staging your own school production.

Chapters cover sources for plays and musicals, costumes, props, sets, sound, lighting, seating, fireworks and training.

Man of Steel

Man of Steel uses an icon that, even in this day, is recognised by every student, parent and teacher. It’s a simple story and it worked for the new-entrants in our matinees, as much as for the 80-year-olds in the evening shows. It lends itself to simple props and costumes, and the action carries the show.

The original script is easy to ‘update’ for local use and the actors enjoyed doing this themselves.