We started this academic year off with casting for our Secondary Production of ‘Beauty and the Beast.’ Whilst the school moto is ‘Be Ambitious,’ we knew that pulling off such an iconic Disney musical was going to be a tall order. We had the vision of something extraordinary so we were very excited to start our journey.
Due to postal delays, we spent almost two months rehearsing without scores and scripts; our first big challenge! The enthusiasm and focus of all the students though was admirable. As soon as the scripts arrived, we knew that it was now time to put everything we have got as teaching artists into the production.
To put on a high quality performance takes a lot of work and a collaboration of many people’s individual skills. Mr Harrison led on designing, measuring, painting and constructing set, whilst Ms Diep ploughed an incredible amount of hours into designing and making the wonderful costumes. The orchestration of Disney shows is widely regarded as some of the hardest orchestral music found in stage productions – I always knew the students would be able to succeed in this, however the sound and quality of the orchestra far surpassed what even I thought was possible. Mr Minchin did a fantastic job at training and refining the school orchestra. During the show nights, the orchestra sounded like a professional orchestra that had been rehearsing together for years. It was phenomenal. The recruitment of our first drama specialist in Miss Loveday proved extremely worth – the standard of acting has undoubtedly made great progress during the past few months.
At times, the whole project did seem slightly daunting and there were moments when I worried that maybe we had been too ambitious with this; the attitude and dedication of the cast kept me positive throughout. An unimaginable amount of hours’ rehearsals went into this, rehearsing the same scene over and over again until it was perfect, re-doing dances tirelessly to ensure all students were not only in the correct place but also facing the correct way and doing the correct moves as well as continuously developing our singing and acting skills put a lot of pressure on our students. Not once did any student complain (to me!). They came to every rehearsal with a smile and left every rehearsal ready for bed!
The students at British International School Hanoi really are such an incredibly dedicated, hard working and talented group of young adults. The memories and skills acquired from being in a production of this extent will no doubt last a lifetime. I feel incredibly honoured to not only work at such a fantastic school with wonderful staff members, but to also work with our creative, enthusiastic and talented students.
With hard work, there’s no such thing as being too ambitious!
Laura Rea, Head of Performing Arts