Bulahdelah Central School's 2020 musical, Bran Nue Dae delighted audiences.
It had uplifting music celebrating Indigenous culture with students incorporating Indigenous language, music, art, dance, didgeridoos and clap sticks.
Bran Nue Dae's humour and slapstick stage antics had audiences roaring with laughter to Benny Hill music. Colourful hippies Elise Miles and Madison Jego-Rolfe brightened the plot with their crazy Kombi and sweet singing.
The musical also addressed more serious issues of black deaths in custody and land rights with Midnight Oil's strobe lit 'Beds are Burning'. It further explored racism with the largely popular 'There's Nothing I'd Rather Be Than Be an Aborigine' and Australia culture with 'Land Down Under'.
Bulahdelah's traditional incorporation of local references amused audiences as John Denver's 'Country Road' led to Bulahdelah, Alum Mountain and the Myall River. Even the Plough Inn Hotel, Booral, Taree and Nabiac were included.
The musical's message highlighted the value of home and family - and that "We're all in this together".
Stand out performances included a talented newcomer, Indigenous student Chloe Eveleigh as Uncle Tadpole. Also Brendon Wilkinson playing the crazy, diabolical singing and dancing Father Benedictus.
Beautiful singers Jake Billinghurst and Mia Baillee-Angelis gave outstanding performances of 'Black Girl' and 'Stand By Your Man'.
The show opened with an acapella version of 'Shallow' by junior students Lillian Jenkins, Ellie Bonfield, Grace McRae and Charlize Bonfield. The entire cast followed with an angelic performance of 'Hallejulah'.
Tap dancers, contemporary dancers and the Koori dance troupe all showcased the unique talents of BCS students.
This was a student run production let by Indigenous student and Director Tahlia Read who loved that the production promoted Aboriginal culture involving over 30 Indigenous and 50 non-Indigenous students and brought the cast and crew close together teaching them valuable skills and promoting well-being.
The K-6 choir's energy was infectious and the extra large dance troupe of 30 Year 7-9 students entertained with vibrant costumes and a combination of modern, traditional and cheesy dance moves.
The team would like to thank their parents and community for supporting the performing arts and for their valuable assistance and input. It certainly was a "Bran Nue Dae" in Bulahdelah.
Comments from the audience when asked: One thing I enjoyed about the night?
"A fantastic opportunity and experience for all."
"All the hard work and fun the kids are having."
How do you think the musical benefits students and the school community?
"An awesome opportunity for a rural community. Lots of sports and recreation, but the arts also need some air time."
"Involvement, fun, creative and combines so many skills and aspects of positive behaviour."
Choir Leaders: Grace McRae, Charlize Bonfield, Jaydah Cassar
Choir: Bailee Gleeson, Ruby Dibley, Madison Lyons, Annabelle Smith, Abbie Cassar, Kyesha Jobson, Carly Green, Jasper Gibbs, Nikita Wheaton, Xavier Wheaton, Zachariah Chatfield, Ruby Abraham, Vivienne Whitelaw, Indie Hope, Cruz Wicks-Hope, Jai Thompson, Salome Reitsma, Harlow Johnston, Jada Hall, Braith Jenner, Marlee Johnson, Bailey Jenkins, Cody Loveday.
Willie, a young Aboriginal boy from the 1960s, runs away from his Tamworth boarding school as a result of being underfed and the target of racism from the evil Father Benedictus.
Willie is an aspiring priest who is scared about returning home to his mother. However, he is excited to pursue his relationship with Rosie, a girl from his hometown who loves to sing. Willy has been brought up to believe that these feelings are sinful. He makes contact with his uncle under the assistance of a German backpacker and his hippie girlfriend.
What follows is a journey back to Bulahdelah. With many bumps along the way, the story shows how working together will help you find happiness. The story line explores the significance of family and touches on issues of racism and Aboriginal culture. Tahlia Read - Director