Like many local performance groups this year, students and staff at St Margaret Mary’s College have turned inconvenience into innovation to ensure that their annual production can forge ahead despite the continued closure of the waterlogged Civic Theatre and Riverway Arts Centre.
Rather than throw in the towel, the school will stage their annual Maggies’ Festival of the Arts at the College’s own Benedictine Place this September.
Maggies’ Festival of the Arts Producer Nancy Nicholson said staff and students were determined to keep the tradition alive, despite significant flood damage to the school’s own Arts facilities during February’s deluge.
“The music block was so badly damaged it has been demolished and will be totally rebuilt bigger and better than ever,” said Nancy. “Our theatre also was severely damaged and will be totally refitted with a new stage and better facilities for our drama productions. This is something to look forward to in the future, but what could we do for this year’s Maggies’ Festival?
“We could have cancelled, but we wanted to give our students the opportunity to perform in a professional setting with lighting, audio and staging. The creative Maggies’ staff came up with a solution, to hold the event for the first time at the College’s Benedictine Place.
“With the help from a supportive school leadership, local company Wild Gravity, and lots of prayer the show will go on,” Nancy said.
The Festival includes a two-week-long visual arts exhibition in the school’s new library, as well as one-night-only Variety Show featuring the musical, dance, and theatrical talents of more than 100 students.
Year 12 student, Jessica Scott will appear in three numbers including a performance with the Bella Voce Choir, a classical solo, and a tribute to the school by outgoing seniors. Jessica said the decision to continue the Festival on the school grounds was proving to work well.
“There were many speculations as to whether moving to Benedictine Place was a good decision, because it is outdoors and not a ‘proper theatre’,” said Jessica. “In actuality, the familiar environment and equipment calmed our nerves and let us prepare better. Also, we will get to perform in front of many more people than in previous years, which makes the vibe that much more exciting.”
Jessica, who has participated in Maggies’ Festival since she was in year 8, said excitement was mounting among her peers.
“I enjoy the buzz of excitement as we approach the night, with our classmates all eager to see what we’ve been preparing during the term. While the rehearsals may be a little drawn out, I know it is all necessary to create a wonderful evening.
“Nothing is quite like the actual night, as we don our costumes, powder our faces, and let the adrenaline of performing overwhelm us. It’s just the most satisfying thing!
“I am truly appreciative to have had the opportunity all these years to perform in such a wonderful show alongside my close friends! Now as a senior and arts leader I get to help lead our Maggie’s girls overcome these new challenges to participate in this great Festival.”
The Maggies’ Festival of the Arts will be held on 6 September 2019. For information and tickets, click here.