Selwyn Ridge School production soars high
Selwyn Ridge School students and teachers soared high during the last week of term with their musical production ‘Bird-E’.
Written and directed by Principal Craig Price and Musical Director Andrea Meredith, the show ran for three nights with participation from every class in the school.
Bird-E opens with kuia Baylee Peterson coming to the front of the stage to welcome everyone to the school. Following this is the birth of the kiwi (played by Tarleen Kaur) who is bestowed the honour of being the national bird of New Zealand. Villain Meg Pie, played superbly by Hunter Fraser, doesn’t like this and so embarks on her quest to be the most famous and powerful bird in the world. Her evil plot involves directing her side-kick Dr Crow (India Keam) to dispatch her minions, the three BIRD-E’s (Neisha Hitchcock, Honey Marinas and Tommy Shorter) on a mission to steal feathers from other national birds around the globe.
Meg Pie played by Hunter Fraser
The feathery tale takes the ‘BIRD-Es – Birdlife International Ruination Division extractors, and the audience through scenes from America, Jamaica, Korea, Spain, Australia and the United Kingdom, with celebrity cameos from Queen Elizabeth (Ruby Mudge), Elton John (Sam Mitchell), Charlie Chaplin (Amelia Gemming), David Beckham (TK Roddick) and Usain Bolt (Iro Angell). Kermit the frog, played by Kitty Coyle, and Sam Eagle, played by Joshua Brown, also make an appearance along the way.
Crompton Dixon and Cameron Springall, as Australians from the outback, brought massive applause and laughter for their entertaining performance, complemented by an emu played by Jessica Pasquali. Other birds sought after for their feathers were a tavake (Hannah Delo), toroa (Lily Milner), kahu (Amber Elmsly), Korean magpie (Alyssa Campbell), and kotuku (Sophie Denham). Usain Bolt also impressed the audience during his interview with Levi Mitchell.
Three choirs performed over the three nights, with Toroa Choir on Tuesday, Kotuku on Wednesday, and Kahu on Thursday. A feature of the show was the Pasifika group. The six country dances performed each night were also distributed across the classrooms, with three or four classes each learning the same dance. This meant that the children involved were only required to perform on one of the three nights.
The very capable band of Tim Julian (bass), Steve Mills (drums), Steve Ancell (guitar) and Andrea Meredith (keyboards) provided excellent support to the singing. Missing from the musician line up this year is Rex Tomich who has performed for many of the biennial Selwyn Ridge school productions over the years since they began in 2000.
The first show in 2000 was ‘Wish Upon a Star’, a Disney-themed show starring 11-year-old Trent Boult, now a Black Cap. This year the ‘Bird-E’ production was significant in that every child in the school was able to take part, either in a main role or as part of a dance on-stage with their class.
“It’s about giving our kids the opportunity to be part of something that’s bigger than themselves,” says Craig. “They’re contributing to a whole team event that will provide life-long memories, is fun, and involves lots of learning.”
The painted faces, costumes and set design was clearly the work of skilled teachers, parents and students who are passionate about setting a high standard of performance. The hiring of the sound and lighting equipment for the show was made possible due to a grant from Creative Communities.