Behind the scenes for ‘Carousel’ – literally


Many students are involved in this year’s exciting production of ‘Carousel.’ The whole school is aware of our talented cast getting ready to perform. Yet with the show getting closer to performance, our backstage crews are also preparing intensely. Student Journalist Finn Kerby-Pinguet reports.

It’s within the nature of a backstage crew itself to go largely unnoticed, but it’s time their contributions in preparing and rehearsing ‘Carousel’ receive some recognition. From set painting at lunchtimes, helping to make props, volunteering to join the hair and makeup crew, to the operating of lights and sound equipment, Nayland students are working incredibly hard to ensure the production goes smoothly. 

Students work through their lunchtime putting finishing touches to parts of the ‘Carousel’ set — Image by: Ysabella Abel

To show their efforts, we spoke to Stage Manager and NayCol teacher, Carl Sheehan.

Mr. Sheehan is the official ‘Carousel’ Stage Manager, so he’s responsible for everything to do with the show in the Theatre Royal. 

“I’ve been involved with shows before, having volunteered at a theatre for 5 years. I’ve done shows such as Mamma Mia, The Wizard of Oz, Grease in different roles like Stage Manager or in the crew, sound, and lighting teams. My work in theatre begun as a way to spend some time with my wife, who is a singer and musical director.”

“This is my first time working with the Nayland crew, and it’s looking really good. For the crew up to now it’s been about learning the show and getting to know the cast, so they’re prepared to run what they need to run. This year I’ve also been running the set painting as well, which has been open to anyone interested. The biggest difference they’ve found between set painting and just classroom painting is that it’s all about creating the illusion of where ‘Carousel’ takes place. Painting doesn’t always have to be detailed but the purpose is to create a sense of place. To me, there’s nothing worse in a show than seeing something where there’s something that shouldn’t be in the time period it’s showing.”

“I think the most challenging thing about moving into the theatre will be the number of cast members. When we go to the theatre our crew will be doing their jobs in the dark or blue light. I encourage students that want to get involved with backstage crew at Nayland, it’s a nice way to get involved without having the spotlight on you. There is a lot of knowledge and technology involved, and a lot of things to learn in that area. Opportunities in backstage and technology are quite good, I have a friend in London doing shows on Broadway, and careers often involve touring the world, for example; Cirque du Soleil.”

“There’s a good quote about backstage crews, which is: ‘if we are doing our jobs well you should not know we’re doing our jobs’.” 

Thank you to Mr. Sheehan for talking with us. 

‘Carousel’ pre-show rehearsals — Image by: Lucy Buckley

While technology, backstage crew and set painting are crucial to the show, there is a side of the preparations that can also go unnoticed: costumes. The costumes themselves are displayed prominently on the actors, but the making of them is an effort many people do not even think of. To show the work of the NayCol community we interviewed Mr. Bentley, in charge of costumes.

‘Carousel’ pre-show rehearsals — Image by: Lucy Buckley

“Costuming ‘Carousel’ has been an enormous job, as we have such a large cast. We have got our materials from many different sources this year, from sewing from scratch, repurposing op shop clothes, transforming duvet covers and even adapting sheets to our purpose. At one point we used some old doilys for trim. We’ve had a fantastic team of parents doing sewing and alterations. Of course, with ‘Carousel’ we have the dancers representing the literal carousel, so making horse masks has been quite the challenge. The horse masks actually resulted in a lot of burns with hot glue for me, which wasn’t good.”

“Costumes this year has been particularly difficult, as we have a very large number of actors and dancers involved. To those who haven’t bought tickets yet, I say do so quickly, buy before they sell out. There’ll be fantastic costumes, and also maybe some good acting!”

Thank you Mr. Bentley. 

‘Carousel’ pre-show rehearsals — Image by: Lucy Buckley

There are a number of teachers and parents who have done much for the show this year, but working literally (and figuratively) ‘behind the scenes’ are the following students:

ASM/Flys: Kahu Sanson-Burnett

Lighting Crew: Bob Foy, Grant Bell (spotlight), Hamish Creagh (spotlight)

Sound Crew: Caleb Thompson, Ra Edmonds, Hailey Potts

Stage Crew: Flo Bailey, Dylan Briggs-Gray, Ruth Buckland, Lachie Clarke, Evie Dodson, Matthew Fitzgerald, Caitlyn Greeff, Mia Harnetty, Kahu James-Young, Meg Stephenson, Riley Stoddart, Molly Sussex

Props: Kimberly Fitzgerald, Tahlia Coulston, Sophie Whiteside

Set Painting: Flo Bailey, Tia Cranefield, Ra Edmonds, Sophie Edwards, Kimberly Fitzgerald, Caitlyn Greeff, Isabel Lyttle, Meg Stephenson, Sophie Whiteside

Hair and Make-up: Alisha Benn, Zoe Jameson, Caitlyn Greef, Meg Stephenson

Carousel’ is shaping up to be an outstanding performance; so come and support the cast, chorus and crew at the Theatre Royal. The efforts of students and staff will come to fruition from 19 – 22 May in what is sure to be a production to remember.

If for nothing else, buy tickets simply to justify Mr. Bentley’s glue gun burnt fingers!

‘Carousel’ pre-show rehearsals — Image by: Lucy Buckley

By Student Journalist Finn Kerby-Pinguet