Ariel goes aerial in Girton’s production of ‘The Little Mermaid’

24 May 2024

Ҵý students are soaring to new heights as they prepare for their production of The Little Mermaid, which will be staged over three nights in June.

Last week, rigger Mr Christian Schooneveldt-Reid and aerial specialist Ms Rachel Hunt visited the school from Circus Oz to complete professional stunt training that will enable the cast members to fly across the Ulumbarra stage with confidence.

The production’s director, Head of Drama Ms Mandy Ellison, said the use of aerial stunts will transform the Ulumbarra stage into the underwater kingdom of Atlantica and truly immerse the audience in Ariel’s world.

“The use of flying harnesses will allow the audience to see characters fly in the sky or swim underwater – it is a way of opening up the space and creating magical moments in this fantasy world,” MsEllison said.

“The students who have learned the harness work were nervous at first, but are now finding it an exhilarating experience to be flying through the air while they are acting or singing! They know these moments are going to be very special effects in the show.”

In addition to the breathtaking aerial effects, the production will feature flamboyant Cirque du Soleil–inspired costumes; over 20 musical numbers with intricate choreography; and the creative use of lighting, set design and puppetry.

However, Ms Ellison believes the most spectacular aspects of the production are the teamwork and friendships that have been forged between the students over months of rehearsals, including the 35 performers, full orchestra, backstage crew, make-up team and tech team.

“The students involved in the cast, orchestra and backstage have enjoyed collaborating with each other and their teachers to create something magical,” Ms Ellison said.

“Throughout the lengthy rehearsal process, the students can see and appreciate the growth occurring in themselves and in others through problem-solving, collaboration and commitment.”

“A theatre production binds the participants together like a family and is a memory that will stay with them throughout their lives.”

The young cast has also resonated with the underlying themes of the Disney classic, from Ariel’s intense longing to be part of the human world to Prince Eric’s desire for freedom from the royal responsibilities bestowed on him.

“That narrative of longing for independence resonates with many generations of young people who have sought to find their own identity and struggled to find their place in the world they are in,” Ms Ellison said.

The Senior School Production of The Little Mermaid will be the first of three Disney-themed productions to be staged by Girton Grammar this year, with the Middle School set to perform Frozen in September and the Junior School performing Finding Nemo in October.

While Ms Ellison admits the Disney theme was a coincidence, she says the school is excited for the students to experience the excitement of full Disney Broadway-style productions, and to engage audience members of all ages in the magic of Disney.

Ҵý’s production of The Little Mermaid will run from 19–21 June from 7pm at Bendigo’s Ulumbarra Theatre. Tickets are now available for public purchase at .