Covid challenges in staging show

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Good versus evil .. Aslan, played by Sian Hassan, right, confronts the Ice Queen, played by Michelle O'Brien, in the Hartley School of Performing Arts production of The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe.PHOTO: SUPPLIED

By DAVID HILL

Local drama students are soldiering on despite the uncertainty of Covid-19.

The Hartley School of Performing Arts remains on track for a whole-school production of The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe in the Rangiora Town Hall from September 30 to October 3 to mark its 25th anniversary.

School director Dale Hartley-Brown says she is determined for the production to go ahead for the benefit of students, but acknowledges it will be viable only if the region returns to alert level 1 in time.

“The bottom line is we are due to pack into the town hall on September 19, but we won’t be able to if we are not going to be at level 1 in time for the show.”

The production is expected to cost at least $15,000, with around half of the money already spent, to cover the cost of materials for costumes, paying staff and the cost of hiring the venue.

With a cast of more than 200, rehearsals have to be carefully managed scene-by-scene because of social distancing, meaning a full dress rehearsal is impossible at level 2.

Because of the restrictions around rehearsals, class items have been recorded and uploaded online so students can practise at home.

“If we lose a week we need to know that they can continue to practice,” Dale says.

The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe was originally going to be the school’s senior production in July, followed by a junior show in October.

The script was written by former student Rebekah Au, while Kitty Jamison is the show’s director.

Kitty was assistant director for last year’s senior production and played Wendy in the 2016 production of Peter Pan

Carissa Brant is the choreographer, assisted by Rachael McInnes, who was meant to be this year’s junior show choreographer.

Joshua Lees was going to direct the junior show, but will be the stage manager instead, while Rachel Long is the vocal coach.

“They’ve all been so supportive and loyal. They know the risk I’m taking and they’ve offered that if we can’t do the show, they will do a concert to raise some funds,” Dale says.

Six shows of The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe are scheduled, with daily 2pm shows from Wednesday, September 30, to Saturday, October 3, and evening shows from 7.30pm on the Thursday and Friday.

Tickets are on sale at Town Hall Cinemas for $15 each or $55 for a family of four, plus a booking fee.