WARRANDYTE High School’s Matilda will captivate an eager audience with high energy dance numbers, catchy songs, and a wonderful production.
On stage for four performances, from June 16-18, this is one production not to be missed.
Living with unappreciative and uncaring parents, Matilda Wormwood (played by Sophie Dibb) is sent to an excessively olde-worlde school – Crunchem Hall.
Armed with a sharp mind and a vivid imagination, Matilda dares to take a stand at this cruel and oppressive school, with miraculous results.
With the help of a kind hearted teacher, Miss Jenny Honey (played by Rhianna Cummings and Amber Gedge), Matilda uses her telekinetic abilities to settle the score after her tyrannical headmistress, Miss Agatha Trunchbull, brutally bullies her and her fellow students.
The diabolically evil Miss Trunchbull is superbly played by Curtis Konynenburg.
Bullies, however, can’t take on people who put up a fight.
The audience will be taken on a heroic journey of intrigue and wonderment as justice is restored.
Highlighting the senses, the visual glamour of the production will bedazzle an audience with sets and lighting by Gavin D Andrew, music by Tim Minchin, and an all-star cast from Warrandyte High School.
An array of fun effects has been added with pigtails being thrown around, magical chalk writing on black boards, and students (in particular, Bruce Bogtrotter played by Stephanie Lawry) being forced to eat whole Scrumdiddely chocolate cakes in three minutes.
The costume department, under Jho Suckling and Lilli Rose Lawrence, help showcase the fun, raucous and exciting characters with a smorgasbord of wonderful garments.
Keep an eye open for the injection of genuinely sourced local garments in When I Grow Up, a song that sees the young children looking at themselves in the mirror reflecting their grown-up selves.
See if you can guess what they become from just what they are wearing.
It is a truly touching moment in the show.
The overall student cast is superb.
Miss Honey, played alternately by Rihanna Cummings and Amber Gedge, is a heartening character and the epitome of the teacher we all wish we had.
Miss Honey is the only role which has been “doubled”.
Not because of any COVID protocols but simply because they both just suited the role perfectly.
Rhianna said “the production has been a lot of hard work but it’s worth it”.
As Matilda, Sophie Dibb, in Year 7, found herself in the title role in her first year at high school.
In this massive role, her beautiful singing voice, willingness to work hard and an innate cheekiness, makes her the ideal hero of this production.
“I feel lucky that I get to experience being part of such a great community and that I am able to be involved in this really fun performance in Year 7.
“I have worked very hard and I am excited to get the show on the road, and I really hope others will enjoy it as much as I do,” Sophie said.
Matilda Wormwood’s parents are truly horrible.
The audience will be teetering on the edge of their seats whether to laugh out loud, or just boo them off stage.
Playing the horrible Mr and Mrs Wormwood, Amber Robertson and Chloe Minogue, were both sceptical.
“We didn’t even like each other’s characters, but being part of this production has formed a new-found friendship.”
The hilariously evil Miss Trunchbull is superbly played by Curtis Konynenburg.
His wonderful blend of comic timing and portrayal of tyrannical brutality is reason alone to experience this production.
Bringing together this fine cast and ensemble is Director Gavin D Andrew.
Gavin said, “Matilda is an absolutely inspirational and fun show to direct.
“Roald Dahl can start off and then slowly (and often without you realising it) enter a heightened reality that if you sat and thought about it – couldn’t really happen – but somehow in a Dahl story it does.”
Gavin added, “Dahl makes a clear distinction between the heroes and villains and always makes sure the villains get their just desserts.”
A wonderful production is not just about a superb cast and a timeless story.
Gavin was quick to point out the enormity of the production encompassing not only the technical aspects of the show.
Broader support is required by not only students, parents and teachers and staff of the school, but also tentacles reaching into and strengthening relationships with the Warrandyte community.
Warrandyte High School uses its home advantage well.
“Having their own theatre is an absolute blessing,” said Gavin.
“It greatly assists with all aspects of the show, allowing students for example, to develop skills in lighting and audio over the course of the production.
“Many schools can spend thousands on these aspects of a production.”
Great support from parents turning up at working bees, handing out flyers or helping with hair and make up greatly enhances the overall production.
The plethora of support provided by school staff and teachers underpins and enhances the production in both a practical and magical way.
Lisa White, an art teacher, along with her band of students make regular visits to the theatre and keep adding to the fun and playfulness of the set.
Linga Naidoo, another teacher at the school specialising in woodwork, has been creating the foundation of the set along with some fun props that greatly assist in telling the story.
Gavin said, “Working closely with Jake Newton, Linga Naidoo and Lisa White has been an absolute joy for me.
“Even just walking into reception and the warm greetings from Bev, Anne and Sandra is always a lovely way to start a day.”
“Principal Rachel Lynch has been wonderfully supportive and even the intrepid groundskeeper, Bucky, seems to appear from nowhere whenever I need rescuing from a blown fuse or other calamity.”
Overall, an enthralling production not to be missed.
Well done Warrandyte High School.
For tickets, head to: trybooking.com/events/landing/1052960.
Warrandyte’s annual festival kicked off last month with popular evening events, Warrandyte Film Feast and Warrandyte Donvale Rotary Art Show.
The festival celebrated the town’s hallmark qualities over the weekend of March 22–24 via the theme “Stars of Warrandyte”.
Saturday’s trademark Grand Parade was filled with firefighters, councillors in classic cars, floats adorned
with superstars, theatre nuts blowing bubbles, community bank benefactors holding big cheques and
A star-studded cast came out with props and colourful costumes.
Sporting clubs, IGA apples, Ringwood RSL rat-a-tat-tatters, ultimate martial artists in full spin, Neighbourhood House knits, an old Dodge, a young Billycarter, Arty Farty umbrellas, the honourable Ryan Smith all fired up about Fireball…
Variety Bash “Benzey” — now there’s a star! Sixteen Variety Bashes throughout Australia, raising money for children’s charity.
Giant ducks, mountain bikes, Dylan’s trike (made at school from recycled materials), CFA pumpers, scouts getting about — and all this to the shout of Town Crier Ian Craig.
Commentators kept it entertaining, even trotting out a joke or two: “These ducks look like they have their eyes covered, but actually… they’re Peking ducks!”
Rain made a half-hearted attempt to dampen enthusiasm but never really had a chance.
You see, for locals, nothing speaks to community pride more than Warrandyte Festival.
This year, the town clocked up 43 straight festival runs, thanks to a committed band of volunteers who continue to come up with ideas and the gusto to see them through.
A week earlier, organisers were told by Manningham Council that due to safe food-handling regulations, the Kid’s Market would not be able to sell baked goods — staples for these stalls, really, but rules are rules.
Families were notified and organisers feared the worst: dozens of disappointed children and parents, doing their buns and pulling out.
But, that is not the Warrandyte way.
A prize-winning number of stalls were registered — 70, in fact.
One young stallholder said it best: “We just ate all our cakes and made pet rocks instead!”
Kids’ Market organiser Grace Johnstone told the Diary that many interesting ideas were presented on the day, but it was “Warrandyte’s spirit of cooperation that was truly on show”.
Taking the cake, for mine, was a repurposed duck-race duck —complete with potted plant — “Hugh Quackman”.
Sunday’s Billycart Derby action drew a few choice words from parade monarch and motorcycle racing champ Cameron Donald, who helped out on the mike.
Cam’s commentary skills were tested — a minor stack, a false start and several finishes that looked too close to call — but he came through unscathed. Phew!
Meanwhile, on the Main Stage, the smooth countrified vocals of local performer Jo Pearson and the Pearl River Ramblers set up a further flow of excellence from Sydney’s alternative Country combo The April Family, dirtgirl and Mother Earth.
Fabulous Tom Petty/Fleetwood Mac and feisty Janis Joplin tributes followed on.
A day earlier, Riverbank Stage audiences had kept pace with drumming sensation African Star, before local bands Velvet Lounge and Riffmasters chilled things down to create a relaxed vibe.
In a new move, festival organisers brought Friday night’s three-hour Battle of the Bands (BOB) to the Main Stage on Saturday.
Applause for first-time festival volunteer Opal Gough.
It was a huge hit, giving young acts the opportunity to play primetime on a stage that has seen local bands like The Teskey Brothers and The Scrims go on to achieve success further afield.
Among others, bass player for The Teskeys, Brendon Love, stepped up as a Battle judge, offering the young players valuable feedback and advice.
Also helpful was Ben Dennis, (ex BOB organiser and manager of award-winning Australian electronic music duo Peking Duk) who generously produced 12 tickets to an upcoming Peking Duk concert as an event prize.
Ethical Decimal, a four-piece all-girl band from Castlemaine Secondary College, won the competition overall.
Gozleme, crepes, salted caramel ice cream, those little pancakes that everyone loves, a giant spring roll — I couldn’t decide among some fab food choices this year, so tried them all — in one afternoon.
A good thing St John’s Mobile CPR Learning Lab was on standby.
A lifesaving initiative to build resilience by training more people in CPR, 12-year-old visitor from Shepparton Tom Di Petta did the training:
“It was fun and the instructions were clear, I learned CPR in 10 minutes.”
Tom looked very keen to practice his newfound techniques, (at the time we spoke I was slowly sagging under the weight of Polish dumplings and lychee infused beer!)
Later, lighting genius Hugh McSpedden boosted the night sky and transformed trees around the Main Stage with creative images.
But, stars eventually fade from view.
And just like that, another Warrandyte Festival slipped by like a wet child on a giant water slide…
If you lost your mind over Hugh’s light show, the Information Caravan has it and some other things as well! Watches, hats, mats and multiple pieces of Tupperware with the name Carla Thompson on them: contact Carolyn on 0411 789 922 with lost property enquiries.
Main Stage music medley
By IAN CRAIG
WHILE THE day started with the weather raining on our parade it ended with a twilight battle of the bands in Stiggants Reserve in what could only be described as a very pleasant and balmy evening.
Sitting in my favourite camping chair enjoying a pint of Kellybrook Ale, this sure was a good idea to hijack my wife Jo’s Warrandyte Diary assignment.
“You just keep working on your other writing assignments I will do this one for you,” says I, ha-ha, all part of my cunning plan.
With Greg Champion MC’ing the night and surrounded by three to four hundred fellow festivillians it was a pleasant night indeed.
As Greg Champion said to me when I asked him about the night, “The Battle of the Bands has brought more people in then our band … be young or die”.
Don’t take it personally Greg.
The competition started in the 80s with the back of a tray truck for the stage in the middle of the footy oval.
After a number of moves it has finally made it to the main stage and judging by the crowd it is there to stay.
The idea behind Battle of the Bands is that young aspiring musicians get a chance to demonstrate their creative “musicality” (I don’t know what that means but the judges told me that’s one of things they were looking for) in front of a good audience and the judges score them on the things that musically talented people look for in an up and coming band.
The judges are no slouches in this field with Fiona Steel (half of the indie folk duo GraceJean and session artist), Brendan Love (from Warrandyte’s own The Teskey Brothers), Joseph Dwyer (Moring After Girls), Fossa (Melbourne based Hip Hop Producer) and Kain Hardie (musician and music journalist).
Fiona told me she was, “looking for overall musicality, interaction with each other, interaction with crowd”.
I asked if it brought back memories for her.
“Yeah it does actually … I did a few of them when I was younger … it’s interesting being on the other side.”
Of course the audience got in on the act with the people’s award voted through the event page on Facebook.
Nice touch although there was a lot of voting happening before some of the acts even hit the stage, go friends.
Acts included Reborn Rebellion, Dead Pig, C-K-H, In The Works, Bleached and Blessed, Ethical Decimal, Suzi and Space Goats.
The winner of first prize (a full day of recording at Jet Studios) was Ethical Decimal, a young all female band from Castlemaine Secondary College.
Runners up were a young solo act, Suzi Yaghmoor from Mornington Peninsula and Dead Pig from Park Orchards.
First timer organiser Opal Gough, joined the Warrandyte Festival Committee in November last year.
“I think the kids were great,” said Opal, “they’ve pulled in an amazing crowd … that was really good support for them.”
Well done to Opal, her assistants and the committee for a great night, we thoroughly enjoyed the entertainment and the beautiful evening.
Blast into Warrandyte’s past
By JAMES POYNER
THE WEATHER was glorious for the Hanson’s annual Sunday afternoon Gold Mine Tour and a group of around 50 people made their way up to the top of Webb Street for this Festival highlight.
Entry to the tour is free, with a small donation requested to raise money for Oxfam’s Walk Against Want, which raises money to assist women in developing countries who have to walk tens of kilometres each day to fetch fresh water.
The tours have been running since 1978 and up until recently were run by John Hanson himself.
But 42 years is a long time to run Gold Mine tours and these days, John has passed the baton on to his children; Peter, Jenny and Christine.
But before we headed off on our tour with Jenny and Christine, John gave the group potted history of gold mining in Warrandyte and the popularity of the tour.
“Typical gold country has three different types of eucalypt, red box, long leaf box and red stringy bark and often if they saw those sorts of trees [the miners] would think there is gold in the area,” he said.
“In some years, I had 200 people turn up, I borrowed a loud-hailer and off we went, but with 200 people, it was pretty slow.
“One year I decided to split it into two groups, 1pm and 3pm — 1pm 35 turned up, 3pm 150 turned up so I went back to just one time,” he said.
A short, bushy walk through the Hanson’s property and we reconvene at the top of Tunnel Street where Jenny begins the official tour.
Jenny explains there are two types of gold found in Warrandyte, alluvial gold and gold found in quartz seams.
Alluvial gold was panned in the creeks and the Yarra and our tour would involve a walk down the hill to Andersons Creek to visit the cairn where gold was first found in Warrandyte.
But before that, Jenny took us to Forth Hill Gold Mine where the group could get a feel for what it was like to be in one of these mines, even if nowadays, people can only walk 10 metres inside the old mine.
Jenny’s knowledge of the mine is impressive and it is enthralling to watch her map out the layout of the mine in the dirt.
A lot of this knowledge extends from previous decades, before the mine was closed to the public when she was able to explore the network of mines around Warrandyte.
With public safety paramount, access to the mines is prohibited and we have to use our imagination as Jenny imparts history and personal experience.
The second, and last, stop on our tour is to the Gold Memorial cairn, on Gold Memorial Road.
“This is the spot where they first found gold in Victoria, in 1851”.
An exciting statement and given the regions history with gold mining, really helps place Warrandyte in Australian history.
“Louis Michel came here with a party of four who were panning in this creek and found a few specks of gold…that then started the gold rush in Warrandyte.
“They had sections of the creek, it was tent city for about five kilometres, between here and what is now Ringwood.
To add an extra pinch of excitement to the tour, descendants of Louis Michel, his great-great-great-grand-daughter and her children were on the tour.
Living in Eltham, it is fascinating to see that Warrandyte’s gold history still maintains a local connection.
With the tour torch successfully handed to his children, it looks like the Gold Mine Tour will be around for the next 42 years, we only scratched the surface of Warrandyte’s mining history but with the knowledgeable Hanson’s at the helm, I look forward to learning more about the history of Warrandyte’s gold mines in years to come.
A tail-wagging success
By CLAIRE BLOOM
THE PET SHOW is a long standing fixture of the Warrandyte Festival.
I can’t recall exactly when it started, but I suspect I have MC’d this event for more than 30 years.
And a wonderful and heart warming number of decades it has been.
This year, we again had sponsorship from the Warrandyte Veterinary Clinic who provided some wonderful hampers for the prestigious Best in Show Award.
This year’s big winner being a gorgeous spoodle puppy named Monty.
Other prizes included the Most Unusual Pet, going to a pigeon pair of ferrets (oops maybe don’t mention the pigeons.)
The usual categories such as Dog Most Like its Owner (loved the couple of Wonder Women.) and Shaggiest and Waggiest dogs were lots of fun.
The Loudest Dog in Warrandyte was ear piercing and won by a most vocal fox terrier.
This little rascal’s name is suppressed in case the Dog Ranger gets any ideas.
Well, not really, but it was certainly a noisy little dog.
Of course, Best Trained Dog always excites our imagination, Big Boy Bosley seems to have a new trick each year, and was happy to play dead when his Mum shot him (with her index finger, of course).
Molly, another spoodle, was most attentive as her trainer placed a treat on both front paws, and waited for the command to eat.
I thought I might try this with my black lab, but it’s never going to happen.
Overall, lots of bragging rights as most dogs (and the ferrets) managed to excel at something, including Dog with the Most Appealing Eyes or Best Groomed Dog in Warrandyte.
A big thanks to Judges, WHS Principal Dr Stephen Parkin and Warrandyte Vet nurse, Kimberley and their assistants Mrs Suzanne Martin and Bree.
Warrandyte High School VCE students of Studio Arts and Product Design & Technology put together a refreshing and engaging collection of work which featured in the recent VCE Art Show hosted at the high school’s Doig centre.
The talent and attention to detail was impressive as was the diverse range of finished pieces reflecting the creative talents and the focus on Arts and Technology subjects that continue to flourish at Warrandyte High School.
The gallery below showcases some of the students works:
WARRANDYTE CFA’s youth crew are celebrating 20 years of firefighting and fun.
Beginning in the 1990’s as a Year 9 and 10 program at Warrandyte High School, the youth crew started as a practical elective for students wanting an outdoor and hands on experience.
Over the 20 years, more than 880 students have experienced the program, with dozens going on to volunteer and work with the CFA.
Those that walk through the youth crew’s doors have come out the other end as resilient and community minded young adults, pursuing careers as paramedics, career firefighters or in fields like engineering.
Will Hodgson, an instructor for the youth crew and First Lieutenant at the Warrandyte CFA, says the program provides a unique experience for students, especially those that may not want to follow traditional academic routes.
“The world has lots of things to offer — It doesn’t matter how well you’re doing in maths or science… with the CFA program you’ve got life skills, first aid skills and they’re working within their communities.
“The impact this has… everyone has helped out in the community; I feel so humbled to know that we’ve touched the lives of young people so that they can carry the CFA values throughout their lives and make change in their communities,” he said.
The program includes trips to the CFA and MFB headquarters, an excursion to the fire museum, fire fighting camps and outdoor education activities.
Students learn how to use and respect the equipment and fight fires first hand.
Dave Kahuaiwa from Warrandyte High School cannot believe how the program has evolved and succeeded.
“They arrive as a jumble of kids, and they leave with really great leadership skills and team skills — they go home and have a conversation with their families about fire preparedness and fire plans.
“What better community group to be a part of in Warrandyte than the CFA? Because of where we’re situated, it’s so important.,” said Dave.
Will Hodgson says the impact the youth crew has in kids’ lives is profound, and it is an experience he is incredibly grateful to be a part of.
“Students need to know that they’re worthwhile, and this program gives them the opportunity to be free from academic pressures for a while.
“This shows them that there’s a position in life for them, that the world needs people with so many different skills, and if they want to join the CFA afterwards, well that’s a great bonus.”
Warrandyte Community Bank notches up $1.7m in community grants
SHAREHOLDERS and representatives from organisations in Warrandyte and surrounds filled the Mechanics Institute Hall last month for the Warrandyte Community Bank’s annual general meeting and official announcements of grants and scholarships.
A total of $377,000 was allocated to almost 70 groups to go towards projects, community programs and infrastructure within the community.
Warrandyte Community Bank has now returned an incredible $1.7 million in grants and sponsorships since its inception in 2003.
With an upbeat energy in the room there was a strong sense of gratitude expressed to outgoing chair Sarah Wrigley.
Hands up who loves Warrandyte Community Bank: Staff, directors and grant recipients at Warrandyte Community Bank’s AGM
Many of the grants and sponsorship recipients thanked Sarah for the years of dedication and commitment she had made to the program and the bank itself.
One very happy recipient was Warrandyte High School, which received $25,000. In a joint submission with the Lions Club of Warrandyte, the school had sought funding to asphalt the car park behind the school basketball stadium.
Dr Stephen Parkin, principal of Warrandyte High School, thanked Sarah for her “significant contributions to the Warrandyte community and to the learning experiences of students at Warrandyte High School”.
Other major projects to receive a community grant or sponsorship included funding to acquire an inflatable rescue boat for Manningham SES.
Greg Mitchell, controller of Manningham Unit SES said it was a “great privilege” working with our community bank on the project.
“The understanding and support given by Sarah and Mark (Challen, bank manager) to our unit to help us replace a very old rescue boat was outstanding,” Greg said.
“Because of the Warrandyte Community Bank’s efforts and dedication to the community, I was honoured to collect a cheque at the AGM to purchase a new rescue boat that will support our local community and the larger Victorian community for many years to come.”
Manningham SES provides rescue services for a large part of the Yarra River from Wonga Park to Dight’s Falls and requires two rescue boats on the water in any situation.
Also in attendance was Manningham Community Health’s Jenny Jackson, who said Manningham Community Health Services was thrilled to partner with Warrandyte Community Bank to support the mental wellbeing of young people in the greater Warrandyte area.
“As CEO of the not-for-profit health service, I am constantly delighted to see the wonderful work of our local Bendigo Bank branches in bringing all members of the community together in such a meaningful way for the benefit of the whole community,” Jenny said. “Being present at the AGM was yet another opportunity to observe genuine community partnership and I urge all Manningham community residents to support their local Bendigo Bank branches so that this great community partnership work can flourish even further.”
Aaron Farr, in his address as incoming chairman, told the audience he has “some very large footsteps to follow” and in doing so looks forward to embarking on his new role.
“In continuing the role of chairman I look forward to leading our community bank in building on the foundations set in place,” Aaron said.
“With continued and ongoing growth, the Warrandyte Community Bank will be well placed to contribute more financially to the community into the future.”
Also in attendance were the bank’s scholarship recipients, Gabrielle Mitchell (2013), Mitchell Dawson (2014), Nik Henkes (2014) and Joshua McMullen (2014).
Josh said the scholarship had helped him immensely with tertiary studies.
“It took off a lot of stress normally associated with the beginning of a year at university with purchasing textbooks and other supplies, and helped me cruise on in to my year of study with a positive attitude,” Josh said.
“It’s not your everyday bank!”
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