After two terms of rehearsals, countless volunteer hours in set-building and costume-creation, and a building excitement as performance day drew closer, the Covid-19 enforced nationwide lockdown in August this year was met with understandable trepidation by the Selwyn House School cast and crew of The Wizard of Oz. Would the show go on, or would it be forced down the same Covid cancellation route as so many other shows have?
A sense of determination and a willingness to adapt has ensured that the show will indeed go on, albeit two months later than originally planned. Director, Greg Pearce, said the students could not wait to put all of their hard work into action on the stage: “The resilience and adaptability that these students have shown, as we have faced the uncertainty of whether we could go ahead and then made venue, date and audience changes to allow it to happen, has been remarkable. We are so grateful that we have managed to make this work within the Alert Level 2 guidelines and we are all relieved and excited to have made it to performance week. The students are so ready to show their family, friends and wider community what they have been working so hard on; I know it is going to be a magical show.”
This will be a trip back down the yellow brick road for a few Selwyn House staff and alumni, as the school also performed The Wizard of Oz in 2003. Former Selwyn House student, Charlotte Mandley, who played the role of Dorothy in 2003, popped down to her old school this week to pass on her best wishes to this year’s ‘Dorothy’, Tessa De Wit.
“I have such wonderful memories of performing this show when I was at Selwyn House,” said Charlotte, “So it was lovely to meet Tessa and to see how her and the rest of the cast and crew are getting to experience that same excitement and special team-building experience – and to see my old red shoes!”
Tessa, who also played Dorothy in her drama school’s performance of The Wizard of Oz when she was eight, said it was inspiring to meet Charlotte and to hear about her own memories of performing the show.
“I have loved every minute of the preparation to put on this show, and I know from talking to Charlotte that the whole experience will be something that my classmates and I will treasure for a long time,” Tessa said.
The Selwyn House Year 7 and 8 production of The Wizard of Oz will be performed at the McCombs Centre for the Performing Arts at Cashmere High School this Saturday afternoon, Saturday evening and Sunday morning. Tickets are sold out.