The Crucible – By Arthur Miller – Presented by Woodleigh School

When the Premier announced that all Victorian students were to return to remote learning on Wednesday 5 August, our scheduled recording of the 2020 Production on Saturday 8 became lost to static. Incredibly, our cast, crew, and staff rallied in response, to bring our radio-play’s recording forward within hours of the new lockdown measures.

It is a remarkable feat when you consider: that late into Term 1, opening night sat in the calendar towards the end of August; that we had negotiated two lockdowns already; and that we had several final rehearsals scheduled before the microphones went live.

In a time of such uncertainty and unprecedented experience, we can quickly become lost to hyperbole. It is difficult for me to dial it down and write about this project in any lesser terms. I am so immensely proud of our Woodleigh community. This production of Arthur Miller’s The Crucible is much more than a work of exciting art. It is a testament to our school’s character, one that is defined by resilience, optimism, and the most sacred of dramatic principles: the will to say ‘yes,’ to accept an offer and to take a risk.

Here is a quick snapshot of what we achieved in the past two weeks:

  • Jussy Poyser, Gretel Friedlander, Tamsin GriffithsElla Jones, and Milla Lee performed a beautiful contemporary dance piece, which was recorded by Cass Tutton and Tom Burton – thank you, Casey Hall, for guiding Jussy’s choreography and arranging the costuming, and Amy White for directing and editing the film;
  • Lou Lou Burton and Lally Penna photographed 40 or so cast and crew portraits for the programme – thank you Emma Cleine for your vision and coordination;
  • The Year 11 Media class interviewed selected cast members to produce a ‘behind the scenes’ visual process journal to be aired on opening night – thank you, Elspeth Cooper, for running with the idea and even fitting it into your curriculum as a VCE Unit 2 outcome,
  • Rosh O’Connell arranged and performed four songs, featuring Tayla Basso (cello), Jazzy Evenden (harp), Emma Sherrington (piano) and James Ward (percussion) – thank you, Sue Fletcher, for your guidance, patience, and expertise as a composer;
  • Close to 30 cast members, from across Years 7 to 12, recorded The Crucible as a radio play, to be professionally produced by LSS Productions. Thank you, Claire Wearne, for your attention to detail and diligence as our Producer and Miffy Farquharson for your unparalleled organisation, generosity of time, and unwavering positivity.

Also, a massive thanks to Anthony Bingham for recoding keys for our hymns, Lisa Grigg and Emma Hall, to help supervise our recording days. Suzanne Cunningham, for always proactive with our admin requests and Adam Liddiard for your help with marketing (and hoodies!). For the voicework with the cast, Lucy Wharington, for your work with the cast, Carey Saunders, for your work with Harvey to encourage his Acknowledgment of Country and David Baker for giving us the green-light multiple times!

Furthermore, I would like to celebrate cast members: Lily CarterTamsin GriffithsCharlotte HastieElla JonesTommy LewisRosh O’ConnellPippin Seagren-Hughes and James Stuart. These students stepped up and into new roles well into the rehearsal process. Without you, this show wouldn’t have happened.

Finally, a sincere and heartfelt thank you to our parents. Without your pick-ups and drop-offs, your support, and your CareMonkey correspondence, our cast and crew would not have been able to commit to what has been a vibrant, challenging, and authentically collaborative learning experience. The sense of achievement at the end of our recording day was palpable.

The show has indeed gone on given the year that we have had, that is one exceptional achievement.

I’ll catch you in Salem on August 20 and 21.