1st school production staged in China
3 days of performances
186 pupils participated
244 hours of rehearsals
1350 people watched the show
The spontaneous cheering and applause that burst from audiences as they watched the recent production of Les Misérables told its own story. Wellington has a long tradition of producing high-quality musicals each year, from Oliver! to Showcase and Calamity Jane, but this year’s show was surely the most ambitious of all, and the rapturous reception from those watching reflected its jaw-dropping quality.
Les Misérables is the story of Jean Valjean, a reformed convict haunted by both his crime – stealing a loaf of bread to feed his starving family – and Javert, an unforgiving police agent. Valjean eventually finds redemption in his care for young orphan Cosette and her lover, Marius.
Set against the dramatic backdrop of the revolutions that rocked France in the 1830s, Les Misérables is a complex and challenging work, even for professionals. Our show, the first school production staged in China, involved a cast made up entirely of pupils from Years 4-12, ably supported by backstage teams, designers and technical support under the guidance of Faye Gossedge, the school’s Director of Music. In all, some 186 pupils worked on the show for 8 weeks, giving up evenings and weekends to work together in a remarkable display of collaboration and teamwork.
This year, we wanted to give audiences an intensely emotional experience. For me, “Les Misérables is the ultimate musical.It’s one of the most challenging musicals ever written, and it opened up the opportunity for a very large cast and crew. We had eight solid weeks of rehearsals, and pupils threw themselves into their roles right from the auditions. There were 186 pupils involved in this year’s production, both on stage and in other after school activities, such as textiles, DT, Art, Backstage and not forgetting light and sound production.
It has been an incredible journey for all involved, and I am delighted with the end result. Les Misérablesis full of extremely difficult vocals, tricky time changes andmany technical difficulties, all of which required careful planning and execution. Our production team worked in a very harmonious and supportive environment to make sure these technical difficulties were met. I am sure after this experience, our community better understands the importance music has to play in an all-round education. It stimulates the brain and teaches pupils so many life-skills.
From Julian Jeffrey, the Master of Wellington College Tianjin
Each of the three performances of the show was met with packed houses, selling out the shows well in advance. The energy, skill and commitment of these pupils was both inspiring and deeply moving. The lesson that, by working together in a common cause and with a shared drive to succeed, young people can achieve astonishing things, has rarely been made more emphatically.
My very great thanks go to Faye and her staff team, as well as to the audiences who supported the show in such unprecedented numbers. However, my greatest appreciation goes to all 186 pupils in the cast and crew: you have done Wellington proud and no one who saw the show will ever forget your extraordinary achievement.
From the Actress
Through the musical performance, I not only made new friends, but also felt a strong bond with the younger pupils in the cast. After the production, I now find myself attracted to music and performance, like never before. This will certainly be one of the most unforgettable experiences of my high school life!
From the Audience
I was astounded by the production. The pupils were so professional that I forgot they were children and I was able to focus on the story and be moved by the whole production.
At the end of the show the audience gave a standing ovation and clapped so enthusiastically that the performers took many curtain calls.
Thank you to all those who came to support our musical…. It just leaves us with one question, what next? You’ll just have to wait and see…
Wellington College Tianjin
LES MISÉRABLES SCHOOL PRODUCTION
Performed entirely by pupils
A Musical by ALAIN BOUBLIL and CLAUDE MICHEL SCHÖNBERG
School edition specially adapted and licensed by
MUSIC THEATRE INTERNATIONAL and CAMERON MACKINTOSH (OVERSEAS) LTD.