Romeo & Juliet production full of surprises

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8 September 2016

An adaptation of Romeo & Juliet will be staged by the students from MacKillop Specialist School, Whittington, at the Shenton Theatre this afternoon, in aMacKillop students preparing for their school production of Romeo and Juliet one-off performance. The many updates of this production include setting the drama in Whittington; an online video game as the source of the family feud between the Montagues and Capulets; scenes in fast food restaurants; and declarations of love via Facebook.

‘It’s probably one of the best things I’ve done at school’, said Shaun Matthews who plays Benvolio. ‘We’ve changed it up a bit and put our own spin on it. We’ve changed it so it’s a bit more modern … and we fixed a couple of plot holes.’

‘All students have been able to be involved, in this production, whether as characters in the play, filming, designing and creating costumes and sets or, backstage with communication, lighting, makeup and sound effects’, said Principal Anne Henderson.

‘The production of Romeo and Juliet has allowed the students to experience hands-on learning, develop their knowledge, skills and understanding across a number of subject areas and enhance their social and emotional capabilities. This classic play has been re-written and re-interpreted by the students; the setting is the local suburb of Whittington, where the central conflict unfolds and where the young people’s daily challenges are explored.

‘MacKillop School Geelong is a school for students who are disengaged or at risk of disengaging from education. The values that inform our work are: Hope, Justice, Compassion, Collaboration and Respect, create a learning community, where unconditional positive regard is modelled at all times and where a belief, that our children and young people will do well if they can, drives our passion and commitment to teaching and learning.

‘As a flexible learning environment, we develop programs that cater for the diverse and complex needs of our students, mindful of our responsibility to enhance engagement and ensure that all students experience success in learning. The Sanctuary model, that we implement at MacKillop, ensures that we are trauma-informed in our practice and, this in turn, creates safety for all those who are part of our community.

‘We are excited by the opportunities that this rich learning project has provided and we are looking forward to a performance that will be full of surprises and perhaps, a little closer to the interpretation that Shakespeare had in mind!’

Romeo and Juliet is on at the Shenton Theatre, corner of Garden and Ryrie Street, at 2 pm on 8 September 2016.