‘The show must go on’ is a phrase the live performing arts industry has long adhered to — then COVID-19 came along. The cast, crew and creative team of Strictly Ballroom, the 2020 Ruyton/Trinity Musical, adapted extremely well, moving online during Term 2. New perspectives were gained of how to rehearse together, even when apart. Our Year 12 students, performing in their final school musical, have shared how the process offered hope, joy and connection in uncertain times.
‘Although I expected rehearsals on Zoom to be hectic and a little confusing, I was so impressed with how organised and well thought out each rehearsal was. We had a clear timetable of when we were required, for how long and what we would be doing. There were individual videos for your singing parts, set questions for acting and already choreographed dances that were being taught. It was so much fun, getting to do what we loved, bonding with friends, giving new things a go, despite it all being through a screen. Rehearsing online was a gift, I am so glad we were given this opportunity and I will cherish the moments we had throughout the Zoom process.’ Sarah L, Year 12
The speed with which we adapted highlighted our flexibility and opportunities for the future. From adversity comes great potential, and one piece of learning is that digital opportunities open up really extraordinary pathways for positive and creative performances in the future.
‘Despite not being able to see each other face to face, there was a constant flow of encouraging messages that somehow kept the Drama spirit alive. Seeing how everyone, whether they were Year 9 or Year 12, was able to maintain such a positive attitude and dedication to the show was a beautiful reminder of the reason I have loved being a part of the Drama community so much.’ Eloise G, Year 12
As we craved engagement, connection or perhaps escapism while stuck inside our homes during lockdown, the importance of the Arts in our lives was realised by many. Theatre, more than anything, is a cathartic experience and the nature of that experience involves something shared between the performer and the live audience. But sadly, at the end of Term 2, the decision was made to postpone Strictly Ballroom until 2021.
‘I was quite devastated about the musical being postponed. It was a bit of a mixed moment for me, it felt somewhat expected, but obviously heartbreaking to have lost that last musical. I feel so excited for the younger year levels to put this show on, as I know that they will make something extraordinary with it.’ Annie N, Year 12
So, while performing Strictly Ballroom is being delayed for now, in these times of uncertainty, hope prevails. That hope builds from within us, through our connection with the Arts and with each other.
‘When I got home from that final Strictly rehearsal, I started to think about all the memories I have had as a performer during my time at Ruyton. I was overcome with gratitude for all the lessons and skills I have learned, the experiences I’ve had, being lucky enough to perform some of the most beautiful music ever written. I thought about how truly fortunate I am for the opportunities I was presented with, and most importantly, grateful for the incredible friends I made.’ Jessica C, Year 12
In times of crisis we look to the Arts: to Music, Art and Drama to find passion and compassion. We also find comfort and love. We discover more about ourselves and others. We share our discoveries and experience the discoveries of others. It is this shared experience, this shared narrative, this shared drama that feeds and nurtures the soul.
‘We worked so hard while we could and although it is not the year we envisioned, we have so much to smile about. I can wholeheartedly say that no rehearsal, no practice and no note was wasted; all of it shaped us to be better performers and better humans. And what an experience to have in our final year of high school – one to reflect on with an abundance of compassion, pride and gratitude.’ Charly O, Year 12
We won’t be on stage together this year, but we celebrate our journey and look towards the future in creating and performing Strictly Ballroom in 2021. And we celebrate the contribution of our Year 12 students to the Arts at Ruyton.
The show indeed, must go on.
Director of Drama
Ruyton Girls' School