'So Far Away'- Have you seen this yet? Don't miss out!

A Family-Friendly Theatre performance made in isolation by students in Years 7-12. 

Long before the days of COVID-19 and isolation, our Drama Teachers held auditions for a Year 7/8 play created entirely by students through the Activities Program. When rehearsals were about to start, the state was forced into lockdown, meaning most shows had to be cancelled. But that didn't stop us! Students from Years 7-12 ventured into the realm of virtual theatre, unknowing but never afraid. We used our quarantine experiences and newfound skills on Zoom as a starting point for our adventure – a theatre production titled 'So Far Away.'

Our original goal was to perform a devised play live using Zoom. We rehearsed online and recorded our work. After several weeks, we realised that live performance wasn't an option, as we were heading back to school, and there wasn't enough time to work towards a live performance. So, we reverted to our pre-recorded scenes. We then connected these with ensemble moments rehearsed collectively on Zoom, to create a more coherent piece of theatre. 

We had a lot of fun piecing together the scenes with props that we scavenged from our houses, including the quarantine essentials – toilet paper, hand sanitiser, and cans of beans!

The scenes we created included a variety of solo, two-person, and ensemble skits. We also covered a range of comic and dramatic themes such as Zoom's difficulties, sibling rivalry, navigating distance relationships, homelessness, the link between pandemics, and Aboriginal invasion. All the scenes were written and performed by Woodleigh students in Years 7 to 12 and accompanied by original music created by Year 11 student James Ward.

Many of us found it challenging performing on Zoom because of the time-delays and the strangeness of seeing ourselves performing. We also found it more challenging to share and maintain our energy level with the other cast members on screen than we would in person.

It was awesome to watch the final performance and get a chance to see ourselves acting and understand how our part added to the show as a whole. That's something that we wouldn't have had the opportunity to do with a live performance. When the piece was released, we also experienced the excitement of seeing it all for the first time from an audience perspective, without seeing it rehearsed a thousand times before.

Having a recorded performance streamed online meant we were able to share our work with a broader audience of around 900 people to date, reaching places such as India, Manchester, Somerset, London, Japan, Central Australia, and Germany. We can also have more direct feedback because we were watching it at the same time as our friends and family.

It was fulfilling to be part of this experimental play, and it was refreshing to have a creative break after a day of online classes. It was also an excellent opportunity to work with people in other year levels and be part of something new and exciting. We are all incredibly proud of what we achieved in five weeks, with only 27 students, three teachers, and a whole lot of cute pets!

So Far Away is still available for viewing on the Woodleigh YouTube page. Please support us and we hope you enjoy 'So Far Away.'

Enjoy! And please pass the link onto your family and friends.