Posted 29 March 2019 2:28pm

This week we opened ticket sales for the CGGS production of Wicked – click here to take advantage of early bird rates now!

In the lead up to this exciting showcase of Performing Arts, we would like to introduce you to a few key people who’s enthusiasm, talent and hard work are sure to bring audiences to their feet.

Kieran Branson – Director

Hailing from Bundaberg, Queensland, musical theatre-enthusiast Kieran Branson has been teaching Spanish and German at CGGS for just over a year. While he held dreams of one day directing a school musical, he didn’t expect it to happen only four years into his career.

“Musical theatre is something I’m passionate about so I always thought, ‘Maybe in the future sometime, when my career is a little more settled, maybe I could have a go at doing something like that’. I didn’t think it would happen quite so soon,” says Kieran.

For the uninitiated, Wicked centres around the story of Elphaba and Glinda – the witches from The Wizard of Oz. It’s retold from the point of view of the Wicked Witch of the West and gives the audience context as to why she ended up like she did. It really is a study of empathy and fiercely independent women.

“Finding a show that has really good, strong female leads that aren’t dependent on male leads around them to make it work is quite a challenge. But the fact that we found one that has two very strong, important female characters at the front and a number of other lead roles that are also strong females, putting their mark on the world – I think it’s a really good fit for this school.”

Kieran is most looking forward to the audience (including family from Bundaberg and friends from Sydney) enjoying the singing and the acting and the dancing – the whole spectacle.

“I think it’s going to be brilliant.”

Natalie Guile – Musical Director

After winning a Canberra Area Theatre (CAT) Award for her role as Musical Director in the School’s 2017 production of Annie, Music Teacher Natalie Guile is feeling the pressure in the lead up to what is arguably the biggest performance event on the CGGS calendar.

“It’s intense!” says Natalie.

“Every show is pressured because you don’t know what’s going to happen on the night. Things can change and technical things can happen, so it’s just a matter of thinking on your feet and trying to communicate that to both the orchestra and the cast who are on stage, singing and dancing and acting – it’s immense pressure during showtime.”

Working with students who are trained through the CGGS Music Academy certainly has its advantages, but it also increases the need to find balance.

“The girls are all really busy, they are still doing their normal music program in addition to Wicked, and a lot of them are in the senior years so the pressure is on for everybody to be able to balance their life. But they are enjoying it.”

Noa Zwikael – Drama Captain (playing the role of Elphaba)

At the ripe old age of 17, Noa Zwikael is on the precipice of ticking something off her ‘bucket list’.

“Dance, drama and singing are my biggest passions and putting them together is a dream. It has always been on my bucket list – to be a lead in a musical – so this is an amazing opportunity,” says Noa.

Noa will share the role of Elphaba with Annabel Mulcahy, while Grace Carter and Xanthe Allen will each take on the role of Glinda.

As a Year 12 student, Drama Captain and lead in the musical means Noa has many competing priorities. She studies both Dance and Drama, so the synergy between curriculum and her passions complement each other.

“I often find that after an afternoon of having fun at rehearsals I just work better.”

So what can we expect from Wicked?

“Green! And a lot of hardwork, amazing songs, amazing choreography and a journey. Watching Wicked, you go through a journey with the characters. It’s an amazing musical with female leads - I couldn’t have asked for anything more.”

Photo above: Natalie Guile, Noa Zwikael and Kieran Branson.

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