Wednesday 14 March 2018

The Secret Garden

The Secret Garden was The Ridgeway Campus’ 2018 musical which ran from Wednesday until Saturday.

With nearly 80 cast members, it is one of the biggest shows ever staged by The Ridgeway Campus and was a visual treat, with extravagant sets and costumes evocative of the early 1900s in which it was set.

Although usually a fairly small production, Director Shaun Murphy re-invented the show as a Greek Chorus-style musical with a large-scale ensemble. It was an experimental move, but one that has paid off as the evocative music was even more hauntingly performed by a large chorus who danced and sang not just on stage, but through the aisles creating an immersive audience experience.

In the final weeks of rehearsals, we chatted with Liam Jensen who plays the role of Dr Craven and is the school’s Theatre Captain alongside Kayla Cvetkovski. In their role, Liam and Kayla work together to keep the student body informed about upcoming shows and encourage people to get involved in theatre at Ivanhoe Grammar School.

Liam has been involved in theatre and music at the school since Year 7 and has very much enjoyed playing the principal role of Dr Craven this year. “I didn’t know much about the book before auditioning, but perhaps that was a good thing”, says Liam. This is in relation to the fact that his complicated character Dr Craven doesn’t appear in the original novel by Frances Hodgson Burnett. On stage, however, the role is a much coveted one, once played by musical theatre royalty Philip Quast in the original Australian production. Together with co-star Patrick Vaughan, Liam performed the showstopping song ‘Lily’s Eyes’ which was a clear audience favourite.

In talking with Liam about his plans beyond school, he would love to use his experience with school theatre to work in the media. And his advice for students undertaking Year 12 is one echoed by many of his peers: “Find a balance between school work and co-curricular activities. And your social life is really important!”