Sacred Heart College students showcase talents

Published on Wednesday, 1 April 2020, 3:54 p.m. Print Article

Sacred Heart College students, Abby Roff and Grace Mawson will have to wait a little bit longer before they get their moment in the spotlight because of Coronavirus. 

But their months of hard work both on stage, and in the wings for the Napier Operatic Society’s Grease the Musical will certainly not go to waste.

Due to be held this week, the current nationwide lockdown has meant it has been postponed until August 28 to September 12.

Securing the role of Frenchy in the 1971 hit musical is a dream come true for 17-year-old Abby. Despite singing her whole life, she first discovered musicals in year 10.

Since then, she has made up for lost time, grabbing every opportunity to perform available. After school, she would like to go around the world performing.

This latest role is even more special for the Grease fan. “I love performing, and all the people have been very welcoming and supporting,” she says.

Since first starting rehearsals in December, Abby has been able to “discover a voice” for her character.

With the direction of Director William Waitoa they have made Frenchy a “younger and more modern character” – something which Abby believes suits her very well.

Having originally auditioned for the role of Marty, Grace didn’t let the disappointment affect her. Instead, she threw herself into set movement and building.

“I’m just happy to be a part of it. And without not getting in, I wouldn’t have learnt everything I have and had the opportunities to build all sorts of props,” the 18-year-old said.

She has built “almost everything on the stage” including the Grease Lightning Car. During the shows, she will oversee one side of the stage.

“When they’re dancing and singing on stage, I’m dancing and singing in the wings, if I’m not busy,” she said.

Her role has reaffirmed her dreams of becoming a high school music teacher.

Sacred Heart College principal Maria Neville-Foster said she is very proud of their achievements. They were both involved in last year’s joint ‘Bugsy Malone’ production with St John’s College.

“It’s lovely seeing our students getting involved in the community. As a Mission Sister School, our belief is that we give back to the community and we share our talents that were given to us from God with the community.”

While they have recently introduced drama to their year 9 students, Neville-Foster said it is lovely to see their girls’ performance side of their personality being fed through their extracurricular activities that we have available in the space of performing arts. 

Napier Operatic Society secretary Sonya Aifai said both Abby and Grace are “definitely there for their talents”.

Over the years they have had high school students in shows if they audition and fit the criteria and needs of the production.

“Abby has a beautiful voice and fitted the role of Frenchie beautifully and Grace has a natural talent for stage crew work and throws herself into it completely, Aifai said.

While no rehearsals can take place for at least the next four weeks, the cast are keeping in contact online and practising their individual lines and dance moves. 

They are looking at re-starting rehearsals in July before an August opening.

“The cast are very unified and are looking towards getting back together again,” Aifai said

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