Brockville – The recent production of Willy Wonka Kids at Vanier Public School received strong community support to make it successful. The set, choreography and vocal delivery during the school production were the product of generous support from the theatrical community and many other partners who helped make the show a success, says Vanier teacher Tracey Notman.
Harold Hess, a former principal who now works for the Volunteer Centre of St. Lawrence-Rideau, connected the production with local actor Drew Morley, who choreographed the production, and the Brockville Operatic Society. Support also came from local set designer Guy Wales, set builder Thomas Harder, and Pretty Dreams Photography, while the stairs and props were lent to the production by Brock Cartage, St. Lawrence College and Four Season Dance Academy. All these groups provided professional advice to help make the production a quality show.
“With their help, we gave our students a learning opportunity that we never could have offered them alone,” said Notman. “As teachers, we work hard to offer our students the best learning opportunities that we can, but we just don’t have the experience in this area. For these people to come in with their backgrounds and give our kids an opportunity to truly approach the play with passion and enthusiasm … It was truly inspiring.”
Hess, who has been involved in local dramatic productions, coached the students on voice projection and breathing. Morley helped with character development, choreography and voice projection. He also taught students how to stay in character. The Brockville Operatic Society loaned the school some costumes from their production of Willy Wonka, and officials at St. Lawrence College loaned set pieces such as the giant doors to Wonka’s factory.
Harder installed stage lighting borrowed from the Aquatarium, and constructed the sets using materials loaned by the theatrical community. Vanier Public School’s Parent Council purchased the music, director’s guide and script, and the rights to perform the musical.