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Claremont High School Academy

A magical-carpet ride of an evening

The cast and crew of Aladdin transport sell-out audiences to a whole new world

For three magical days in February, the main hall at Claremont High School was transformed into the fictional city of Agrabah. Gone were the cold winter evenings, replaced by the warmth and sunshine of a middle-eastern summer as the Drama Department staged its annual production: Aladdin Jr., based on Disney’s 1992 Oscar-winning film and the 2014 hit Broadway show of the same name.

From 21st to 23rd February, nearly five hundred audience members basked in the glow of the radiant fifty-strong cast and crew as they acted, sang and danced their way through this classic tale. Professional costumes and special-effects elevated the production as the audience was transported, along with Aladdin on his magic carpet, to an enchanted land. Rich and colourful drapes, courtesy of the Art Department, festooned the hall, making it a wonder to behold.

The company of Aladdin had been hard at work every week since October to make the show a reality. Its inclusivity was evident as it welcomed both fresh faces - Year 7 student Shanel Singhawansa secured the lead role of Jasmine - and seasoned performers. Director and producer, Mr Lipman, was delighted, commenting, ‘It was a real pleasure to work with the cast of Aladdin this year’. He highlighted the unity created through the collaboration of new and returning students, fostering a sense of community within the school’s Performing Arts.

‘I loved this whole opportunity!’ said Shanel afterwards. ‘It helped me create new friends around the school and built my confidence. I absolutely adored this cast as it was my very first time taking part in these kinds of shows. We worked really hard together!

Allyzandro Rodrigues in Year 10, who played Aladdin, thought the show had made a lasting impression on him. ‘It was an unreal opportunity and I’m glad I was picked to play such an important role. Being Aladdin has had an effect on my character and who I want to be, so it has been a great journey.’

The show was a true collaboration across subjects and departments. Ms Grandjean from MFL and Ms Carter from Finance were responsible for the choreography. ‘Dance rehearsals were always fun, full of laughter, teamwork and endless possibilities,’ they said. ‘The memories and relationships built during the run of this show are what makes us a community and we're both looking forward to our next production.’

Mr Aston in the Music Department was certainly swept up by the excitement and enthusiasm of it all: ‘A whole new cast, a hundred thousand steps to learn… Every moment's a surprise with new horizons to pursue. Thanks for singing a whole new world with me!’

The show’s directors, Mr Lipman and Ms Norrish, paid tribute to the hard work of all those involved. ‘This year’s production has been joyful, exciting and very special. As always, our cast have bonded and supported each other throughout, which has resulted in some wonderful friendships being formed. We are really proud of how professional this cast have been and how hard they have worked, both in and out of rehearsals. It was great to see so many of them using lunch times to rehearse scenes, songs and dances independently and this demonstrates a real maturity and professionalism. The three performances looked spectacular and the audience response really encapsulated how amazing this show was. We would like to thank all of our cast, Creative Team and the Claremont community for the support and enthusiasm they showed towards this year’s production.’