The Yolande Paterson Hall was transformed into a Victorian circus, complete with ribbons and an aerial hoop, for three rousing performances of Hetty Feather in June. This Lower School production is an adaptation by Emma Reeve of Jacqueline Wilson’s much-loved children’s novel. The large cast of 53 was led by Annabel (8K) as Younger Hetty and Anna (8J) as Older Hetty, and featured varied characters such as urchins, nurses, aerial hoop artists and even dancing horses. Audiences were enthralled by the titular foundling’s quest to find her mother (Emily, 8K), via her kind-hearted foster mother Peg (Bethany, 8J), the tyrannical Matron Bottomly (Iona, 8L) and the flame haired Madame Adeline (Katharina, 8K) at Tanglefield’s Travelling Circus. The YPH stage was the perfect playground for the cast; clambering over ladders and planks, climbing on reels and swinging from the hoop, the set and props became everything from a creepy attic to a thrilling circus big top.
Mrs Sharman’s innovative direction was ably supported by assistant direction from Rosie (10L) and Liv (10L) and their fun, playful imagination made every scene a joy to watch. We met Elijah, ‘the largest elephant in the world’ who was made up of large oriental fans (ears) and air conditioning ducting (trunk) and we witnessed a complicated maypole dance to signify bustling London commuters. Musical underscoring was provided by one-woman-band Ms Rakowski and the repeated occurrences of folk tune ‘Over the hills and far away’ sung in different styles throughout the play added great emotional depth.
Hetty Feather is a play that relies heavily on an ensemble of actors supporting the action throughout, with most of the cast playing at least two, if not three or four characters. With support from a dedicated backstage team, the full company should be exceedingly proud that their nine months of hard work and dedication have paid off so wonderfully.
St Helen’s YPH had been transformed into the old cobbled streets of Victorian London during the lower school production of Hetty Feather. The story is about a young girl who after being abandoned at a foundling hospital lives in a foster home and then returns to the hospital as a curious six-year-old! The cast and crew of 75 girls worked tirelessly under the direction of Mrs Sharman and brought this fiery redhead’s story to life. The show had some exhilarating performances including some magnificent scenes at the circus and some heartrending performances by Hetty and Ida (her mother).
I had the opportunity to work with an amazing cast and crew of 75 girls along with the incredible staff. I had such an amazing time working on this production and the hard work really did pay off!
Helping direct a show seemed like a daunting task to take on but due to a wonderful, enthusiastic cast and the help of stage management we were able to put on an incredible show I’ll honestly never forget being a part of.
Being part of Hetty Feather was such a fantastic (but quite tiring) experience and I enjoyed every moment of it. Well done everyone, it was unforgettable and the audience loved it!
The performance was a lot of fun and really showed just how much effort had been put in by the 53 members of cast, the backstage crew and of course, Mrs Sharman. I still remember the shock of seeing Anna and Anabelle in school with burgundy red Hetty Feather hair!
The dress and tech rehearsal were fun. Mrs Sharman said that all most people needed make-up wise was ‘a touch of blusher’ – the majority of the cast ended up with an odd mix of (self-applied) blusher, bronzer, concealer, glitter, mascara, lipstick and a generous slathering of sparkly lip gloss, don't even get me started on the hairspray. Yup, that went to plan!
And now you may understand why I began to wonder if I’d peaked too soon in my drama career, dressed in all my harlequined and tutu-ed glory as Circus Performer number two (aka left ear of Elijah the Elephant), as I proudly perched five feet up a ladder wafting a ginormous patterned fan.
I can hardly wait till the next drama performance comes around, I’d definitely recommend auditioning for any future productions!