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Tuesday 10 September, 2019

Not one, but two epic school productions recently took place in Wodonga in front of packed theatre audiences. Performing Arts teacher Tracy Ross has been working overtime with students from St Augustine’s and St Francis of Assisi Primary Schools in Wodonga to present the well-known musicals, Suessical and The Jungle Book.

The first to take place was Suessical at The Albury Performing Arts Centre with the talented students from St Augustine’s Primary School taking centre stage. Suessical takes the audience on a wonderful journey into the imaginative world of Dr Suess, bringing together the larger than life characters of Cat in the Hat, Horton the Elephant, Mayzie the bird and of course who could forget the microscopic people from the planet of Whoville, where the inhabitants are smaller than a speck of dust!

The Cat in the Hat leads the cast into the Jungle of Nool where they encounter Horton, the kind-hearted elephant who discovers a speck of dust containing Whoville. While in the jungle, Horton meets JoJo from Whoville who is sent away to military school for thinking too many ‘thinks.’ Plenty of challenges lie ahead for Horton as he tries to protect the Who’s, while at the same time protecting an abandoned egg left to his care by the lazy Amazing Mayzie who would rather be sunning herself on a beach far away, than sitting on her egg.

From the jungle of Nool, to the forests of India, The Jungle Book is a classic tale from Rudyard Kipling about Mowgli, the orphaned jungle boy raised by wolves. Adapted over the years by notable production companies like Disney, the Jungle Book wins a new generation of fans each decade.

The story begins in the heart of the Jungle where Bagheera, the panther tries to guide Mowgli to the safety of the ‘man village’ to keep him away from Shere Khan the Tiger who does not want Mowgli in the jungle. Along the way, they encounter friends and foes, most noticeably Baloo the bear who offers Mowgli a new perspective on life! While Baloo is distracted by the ‘jungle rhythm’, a group monkeys kidnap Mowgli and take him to their leader, King Louie.

Just like Suessical, The Jungle Book celebrates friendship and individuality! Both productions have a strong message about the importance of embracing the unique characteristics that make us who were are and having the courage to face our fears, even when it’s difficult.    

Productions of this scale don’t happen without a lot of support, hard work and planning, not to mention the countless hours of practise, memorising, singing and dancing (well done students). Congratulations to the wonderful communities of St Augustine’s and St Francis of Assisi Wodonga for two outstanding productions!

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