MacKillop hits the red carpet
In February 2020, 20 students and 3 staff from MacKillop Catholic College, Warnervale, embarked on a two week Performing Arts skills tour of California. Leader of Learning and Teaching – Performing Arts, Mrs Sharon Baird, was excited to see this finally come to fruition after two years of planning. The group visited iconic places such as Disneyland, Universal Studios, Los Angeles and Hollywood, sang show tunes on the bus trips to Sacramento and San Francisco, learned new skills at a variety of workshops, and performed at the Junior Theatre Festival, Sacramento (JTFWest).
One of the main purposes of the tour was skills development and it was very clear that, even halfway through the trip, MacKillop students were improving in all areas of performance: Dance, drama and music. Participating in a show choir workshop with triple threat, Shelly Nichol, at Disneyland, the students learned her mantra, “full out, first time, every time, all the time”, and it stayed with the group throughout the trip. At Millennium Dance Complex, famous for choreographing dance videos for artists such as Britney Spears and N*SYNC, MacKillop students accepted the challenge and learned a technically difficult jazz funk routine and shone brightly. After all of these wonderful tour workshops, not only have students grown in confidence, but they were able to refine their vocal and dance skills, to create more of a presence on stage.
The key element, or raison d’être, for the trip was MacKillop Catholic College’s entry into the JTFWest, where over 2000 young performers from all over the world came together to celebrate musical theatre and performed excerpts from Broadway and Disney Junior musicals. MacKillop performed an excerpt of The Little Mermaid Junior, a production that the group had been working hard on for the last two years. They performed under the adjudication of Jeff Calhoun (Between The Lines), Rob Rokicki (The Lightning Thief: The Percy Jackson Musical) and Amanda Flynn (actress, singer and musical theatre educator) in front of other international student theatre groups. They did themselves, MacKillop and their families proud drawing cheers from the crowd and a standing ovation.
During JTFWest, MacKillop was honoured to have four students acknowledged for their talent: Trinity Young and Megan Trigg were selected as Festival All-Stars and performed ‘Freak Flag’ from Shrek the Musical Junior with other international All-Stars during the Awards Ceremony; Jade McDonald and Tayla Brooker auditioned with 300 other international students for a chance to be cast in a choreography video for upcoming Broadway Junior titles and were among 70 students selected for callbacks. To top it all off, Trinity Young received an Award for Outstanding Individual Performance, as one of only five students who were awarded this accolade.
Jade, Year 10, summarised the feeling across the whole student group, “It was such an amazing trip and all the opportunities that were provided, just wow…you certainly made my dream come true. I certainly won’t forget any part of it”. Mrs Baird praised all 18 students for their consistent enthusiasm and quality talent as they represented the College, “I am one very proud Drama teacher!”