FOLLOWING last night's cracking opening show, Hairsprayed continues at St. Mary's Secondary School, Ballina, each evening until Friday.
St. Mary's and musical success are almost synonymous terms - and after over three decades of sell-out shows it's not hard to see why.
Move over Broadway, the Ballina all-girls school on the hill has earned its place in lights with a track record of cleverly reworked classics which are given a new lease of life on the Convent Hall stage.
This year is no exception, with a 90-strong transition year cast spearheading this year’s original script of a swingin’ sixties show-stopper. Add to that a chorus of second year and fifth year students, and you get a small taste of the volume expected on stage - almost 200 voices, talents and faces breathing life into a show that promises colour, music, song, dance and plenty of drama.
And while entertainment is the order of the day, there are a few life lessons to be learned along the way, with this modern story addressing the timeless themes of racism, bigotry, bullying and teamwork.
Hairsprayed is the latest in a very colourful tapestry of theatre carefully woven by the girls of St. Mary’s under the guidance of director Mr. Peter McLoughlin, musical director Ms. Regina Deacy, and choreographer Ms. Annette Leonard. The team also incorporates the talents of the art department, led by Ms. Renee Cronin, and the team of home economics teachers - Ms. Marie Clarke, Ms. Regina Judge and Ms. Anita Ginley - involved in costume preparation.
This year’s show comes on foot of the 2015 extravaganza, Calamitous Jane, and other hits of recent years, Phantom of the Paris Opera and The Sound of Music.
“Participation in our annual musical is not only the cultural highlight of transition year but also one of the greatest learning experiences of the year from a cross-curricular perspective,” said school principal Mrs. Patsy Sweeney. “Friendships are forged, skills are honed, talents are nurtured, creativity is encouraged and challenges are overcome, all in the atmosphere of convivial co-operation.”
Transition year head and show director, Mr. McLoughlin, added: “Each year we think we can never match this performance but, somehow, the students come back every February and surprise us even more with their talent, commitment and hard work. It is no easy feat taking on a show of such a scale, and performing for four shows, but the year simply would not be complete without this highlight.”