The making of the We Will Rock You family

  • Published on June 6, 2019
  • DIRECTOR-ShaileeDirector’s Note

    Shailee Thompson

    For the first time in about six months – to quote our musical – ‘rock hangs silent in the air’ at Indooroopilly.

    After five incredible, energetic, mind-blowing performances, the curtain closed on our production of We Will Rock You and I can’t say enough how thankful, amazed and overwhelmed I am by the fantastic performances of our cast, the mammoth efforts of our crew and the positive response from our audience.

    This was a show where everything didn’t just fall into place but where every aspect was meticulously planned, discussed, reviewed and then placed with care.

    We set out to have a sustainable, environmentally conscious show and we did it. We set out to have special, lighting and audio visual effects plus a show-stopping scene reveal and we did it.

    We set out to have our audience be involved in the show as much as possible, to feel like they were part of bringing rock and roll back to our fictional world and made a promise in the very title of our show: We Will Rock You … and this exceptionally talented group of young men and women did that as well.

    It has been an absolute pleasure to build this show with an incredibly dedicated creative staff and, while I’ll let the silver confetti settle on this show before I make any plans for 2021 (yes, I already have a shortlist), I can’t wait to work with them again on our next musical.

    As someone who has been involved in The Arts from a very young age, I know how important an experience like this can be in shaping who you are, how you view the world and what you want to be in it, but don’t take my word for it. Here are testimonies from some of our fantastic cast and crew and it has been my honour and privilege to work with these amazing students and see them grow into stunning performers and creative workers.

     

    Eileen-HoEileen Ho

    (Arts Captain and Microphone Manager)

    I’ve been in two musicals (on stage and backstage) and absolutely fell in love with both. The musical provides such a great opportunity to meet people with similar passions, not to mention the amazing directors and creative staff who always create a nurturing and encouraging environment.

    Many would say the musical is one of the main highlights of the school year, and being able to be a part in it has been a great pleasure. I would 100% encourage other students to audition/apply for the musical.

    I’ve learnt not to be afraid to go out of your comfort zone as the unknown might surprise you (in a positive way). I was so nervous to go on stage as a techie for an emergency fix-up, but it proved to be so worth it.

    There are so many ‘behind the scenes’ memories from which to choose, but I really loved the turkey dance breaks during intermission. Another memorable mention was pressing the button for the glitter confetti cannon during the last show. I will definitely cherish the friendships that have come from this amazing experience!

    Blade-LowndesBlade Lowndes

    (Buddy)

    This musical was an amazing experience for me. I have had past years of performing, but none of it was near close to how professional and phenomenal this was.

    I was able to learn how a show runs both on and behind stage, including all the components and people that help to make it what it was.

    My favourite thing about being behind stage was seeing how people got ready to go on stage; some were getting pumped and energetic while others would sit calmly. Along with this I learnt how to adapt to the performance.

    In areas, say, when someone forgot a line, I was able to work my problem-solving skills in order to help get the performance back on track.

    What I really enjoyed was making my own version of Buddy. As the weeks went on I started to experiment with his character, seeing what worked best as well as what actions got the best reaction.

    Especially during show week, I was able to see what part of my act got great reactions from the audiences and what fell flat.

    This experience of being part of a musical is something that I won’t forget. For the duration of my life I’ll think back on the good memories and probably use this experience to help me in future endeavours of acting. After being part of this musical my only wish is that I had done more of it during my years at school, but with this I will only encourage others to audition for the future events this school has yet to behold.

    Kate-MidgleyKate Midgley

    (Oz)

    We Will Rock You was an exciting, valuable experience to have had in my senior year of high school. While the quality of the production and the script itself were both excellent, the best part of it was the people.

    I’m still astounded at the number of dedicated students in the production who were all passionate about their area of expertise, whether it be front of house, tech and props, hair and makeup, music, dancing, or acting. With clever and talented teachers who motivated us and helped us hone our skills, it was bound to be incredible.

    I can certainly recommend the next musical to everyone regardless of whether you’re an Arts devotee (like myself), or just looking to try something new.

    It’s a great opportunity to learn in a supportive environment that strives to give its participants a taste of working in a real theatre.

    We Will Rock You was certainly the thing I will remember most from my time at Indooroopilly SHS and has fuelled my passion for performing. Maybe one day you’ll see me at QPAC …

    Shanu-SobtiShanu Sobti

    (Aretha)

    Being a part of We Will Rock You has definitely been one of the best experiences of high school.

    My favourite memory of the whole process by far was getting ready before each show; although it was mostly a whirlwind of hair, makeup, vocal warmups, and flannel (so, so much flannel), it was also a chance to bond with others, share feelings about the process, and support each other.

    The connections with people from different creative backgrounds and year levels made the countless hours memorising lines, blocking, and choreography more than worth it.

    Putting on a show that people enjoy is always rewarding, but the connections you make with others involved is what makes it so special.

    As a Year 11 student, I have really begun to value being an active member of my school community and want to take advantage of every opportunity, because it means I get to do what I love and work with others who have my same passions.

    I’d absolutely encourage every student to be part of future productions; whether it be as a lead, chorus member, featured dancer, hair or makeup artist, techie, musician, backing vocalist, supporting role… you will come out of the experience with some amazingly talented and kind friends, new knowledge, and respect for your incredible teachers who work WAY beyond their job description to make this the best production it can possibly be.

    David-HoeyDavid Hoey

    (The Bartender/ Shakira)

    As someone who has never done Drama or been involved in a musical or student theatre company production, I learnt a lot about acting and theatre in general.

    I’ve learned basic things like where stage right is and more nuanced stuff like understanding and awareness of blocking.

    I have improved my singing, acting and dancing during this musical, and have gained – and got closer to – many friends. My interest in musical theatre has also increased even further, but most of all I will take away the countless unforgettable experiences and memories.

    Alex (Khashoggi) in costume as a main antagonist of the musical dancing along to the songs side stage each show was hilarious! I would recommend anyone with an interest in the Performing Arts to get involved if possible (it is a huge time commitment).

    Everyone I’ve spoken to who was involved was deeply affected by the musical and the bonds that we’ve made as we grew together as performers and as people, spending so much time together working towards a collective goal, are irreplaceable.

    TEACHER-POSTER-LIGHT-TEAL-DRAFT-(1)Josephine Olton

    (Teacher/Bruce Springsteen)

    Last year I wasn’t sure whether or not to audition because I was scared I wouldn’t get a role, but I am so glad I did.

    A big takeaway for me is to try to get out of my comfort zone more. Both auditioning for the musical and being a part of it did this and it led to an amazing experience that became a very big part of my life for those couple of months.

    A big thing I have learnt is that so much goes on behind the scenes in a production. So many people are involved in it and work so hard to ensure it runs smoothly.

    One of my favourite behind the scenes memories is our tech rehearsal ‘family dinner’. All the people involved in the musical became a little family last term and it was so nice to be able to sit and spend time with everyone working so hard to put on a great show.

    The musical has been such an amazing experience and I loved every moment of it. I would encourage anyone interested to at least give
    it a go.

    Ellen-SimonsEllen Simons

    (Assistant Stage Manager)

    We Will Rock You is definitely a highlight of my time here at ISHS. I performed the role of Assistant Stage Manager behind the scenes of the production and loved every minute of it.

    I was familiar with the school’s soundboard, but the musical provided me with the experience to really expand my knowledge and ability to use it and quickly recognise any issues or problems that needed to be sorted out.

    As a tech team you’re able to become close as a group as well as with the cast, something that I really loved. There are really late nights and really long rehearsal days, but singing Queen, dressing up and working closely with my team made it all worth it. It was so amazing to be involved in We Will Rock You.

    I was able to watch both the cast and my ‘turkey’ team grow and flourish in their roles and I got to watch the entire process both in the lead up and through all of the performances.

    If you want to be a part of a close-knit team with a bazillion inside jokes and to help make the magic happen, apply for the musical tech team.  You won’t regret it!

    Bianca-Price-webBianca Price

    (Backing Vocalist)

    The musical is such an incredible experience.

    We worked so hard for so long over the past six months and all of our hard work paid off when we heard the audience laugh at a joke that we had heard so many times that the novelty had worn off, the oohhhs and aaahhhhs coming from them when the big sheet was dropped to reveal the Hard Rock Café and the deafening applause after the last note of Bohemian Rhapsody.

    I have learnt a number of things during this production: how such an incredible show is put together, that teamwork is such a vital skill in creating a musical like We Will Rock You and that nothing will ever always go exactly to plan and you have to be able to ad lib, work around it and find a way to make it work.

    The whole cast has spent hundreds of hours together, and we really are a family now and – from the seven group chats that were made after the show on Saturday night – I think quite a few lasting friendships, too.

    As a family, we made so many memories and I would highly recommend auditioning for the next musical. It may be songs from Mamma Mia, or songs by The Beatles (Director’s Note: Not even close, Bianca, but great guess!), but trust me, you won’t regret it.

    Indooroopilly State High School's production of We Will Rock You.
    Indooroopilly State High School’s production of We Will Rock You. Photo: SAM NICHOLAS

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