Skip to Main Content

Under lights and on the stage

Music, Drama and Theatre Studies are alive and well at Haileybury, just ask SpongeBob

NEWS 27 Feb 2024

From The SpongeBob Musical and Moana JR to Wizard of Oz Jr, Twilight Concerts and Aria Nights, creativity, originality and producing stellar performances to a sell-out audience are high on the priority list for students and teachers at Haileybury.

The most recent Senior School production, The SpongeBob Musical, brought colourful stage-sets, even more outlandish and colourful costumes, stand-out performances, high-quality choreography and spectacular sound effects to the stage of Aikman Hall.

Awards and accolades

Anyone who was lucky enough to be in the audience will understand why the energetic production was nominated for a long list of Lyrebird Awards that recognise excellence in the Performing Arts. Haileybury walked away with a Best Sound award and Best Solo Song (Male Role) and was also recognised for its special effects and pre-show entertainment.

The SpongeBob Musical also attracted the attention of judges at the Music Theatre Guild of Victoria, receiving nominations in the Production of the Year, Direction, Musical Direction and Lead Performer award categories.

Work is already underway on this year’s Senior School production, The Addams Family, which promises to be a spooky theatrical and musical extravaganza.

Opportunities abound

Nick Waxman, Head of Theatre Studies, Drama and Dance, says Haileybury’s Performing Arts opportunities begin in Prep, with all students taking part in Drama classes until Year 9. The subjects then become electives for students who want to continue their Performing Arts journey.

“It’s well-recognised that being involved with Performing Arts fosters better communication skills, creativity, collaboration and builds confidence. These are all 21st century skills that matter now and, just as importantly, they are valuable currency for young people when they leave school and enter the world of further study or work,” says Nick.

“Art is never finished, and practice makes progress. Students learn to refine and re-create and that takes resilience, tenacity and grit.”

All stars in the making

Inclusivity is also a key element of the Performing Arts experience — a student may be a seasoned dancer, actor or musician, or they may never have set foot on a stage or picked up a musical instrument before. Whether they are a future Meryl Streep or Paul McCartney or a complete novice, there is a place for every student in Haileybury’s theatrical and musical productions.

“Our focus is that every student matters every day, and we cultivate an environment where each student’s input is valued and celebrated”
Nick Waxman, Head of Theatre Studies

“If they are hesitant about a Drama class, our teachers find ways for them to fit in. They often go from anxious and apprehensive to seeing how Drama can help them grow. That’s what the Performing Arts can do for a child.”

Making Music

Haileybury’s Music program is equally all-encompassing. Rod Marshall, Director of Performing Arts, is a 21-year veteran of Haileybury and he has seen involvement in the program rise steadily to the point where just over 25 per cent of students now have a weekly private music lesson at the school.

“While there is a strong academic focus among families, parents want to see their children being part of the rich Performing Arts culture at school. They want to see their children connect with other children and they want them to develop character”
Rod Marshall, Director of Performing Arts

Like Drama, Music is part of the classroom from the early years with a compulsory Year 2 String Program for budding violinists and cellists. In Year 5, a Band Program sees students picking up a percussion, brass or woodwind instrument. There are also countless opportunities for musicians of all ages to showcase their talents to their peers, family and friends.

In the spotlight

“Our concert calendar is busy. Last year, I attended close to 100 music events, and that wasn’t all of them,” says Rod.

“Our Year 2 students have concert experiences with the stage, lights and appreciative applause. From the beginning, students take part in diverse musical experiences in front of full houses, typically with 700 or more guests in attendance.

“While orchestras, wind bands and choirs hold centre stage in the school’s large ensemble program, contemporary music also has a significant place through Haileybury’s extensive jazz ensemble program. With approximately 20 jazz ensembles across the Melbourne campuses, the Music department works hard to encourage every type of musical character,” says Rod.

“School Music departments often focus on more classical music, but our students are breaking the mould of that traditional music mindset. For us, Music must cater for the interests of every student,” he says.

For anyone interested in our Haileybury Performing Arts calendar, download a copy here and check the News & Events page on our website for upcoming events.

Discover Performing Arts at Haileybury!

Watch the recording of our recent Performing Arts webinar guided by our Director of Performing Arts and Head of Drama and Theatre Studies where we uncovered what makes performing arts at Haileybury so special.

Performing arts webinar thumbnail