Lights, Camera, Elf!
In line with the School’s holistic approach to education, the Arts are a very important aspect of Yew Chung International School of Beijing’s life. And, when the word that the auditions were open for one of the most popular holiday films, Elf Jr., started going around through word of mouth, posters and formal announcements, the schools buzzed with excitement and eagerness.
Many students from Year 3 to Year 13 auditioned for the musical which is going to take place on December 5th and 6th. Having students from so many different year levels participating in the performance is another proof of the collaborative nature of the School.
The musical tells the story of Buddy, elf who does not quite fit in his society, and as a result, goes on a quest to find his true identity in the streets of New York.
We spoke to Freda Humber, Performing Arts teacher and Allison Cusato, Secondary School Visual Art Teacher, about some of the key factors the Performing Arts Department considered during the selection process and the benefits students stand to gain by taking part in this performance.
Why did you choose Elf?
FH: The Elf is an excellent way to connect Primary and Secondary students. The winter holidays are very family-oriented, and I wanted to bring our student body closer. This also gives an opportunity for multiple levels to be involved and enhance their collaborative skills and performance. The musical allows for different age groups to be collaborate.
What qualities/skills were you looking for in your cast?
FH: Mainly the desire and passion to be on stage. Singing abilities, movement coordination and natural acting capabilities are a plus. As a director, I also look at the students’ inherent skills, a sense of responsibility and coachability.
List some benefits for students to be part of a performance.
FH: It allows students to make new friends; it develops their memory, paying attention and concentration. Most importantly, it boosts their confidence and self-awareness. As performers they begin to understand how to appraise situations, think outside the box and be more confident going into unfamiliar situations.
Why is it important to host auditions and performances like this? How does it help in the students’ development?
FH: Musicals demand versatile performers and this musical allows a variety of age groups to perform together. Auditions shows at a glance the potential performers natural and coachable skills, attention span, and the ability to collaborate with others. Lastly, auditions allow us to see any hidden talent that may have been unknown to us before.
AC: Hosting auditions gives students a lesson in how the performing arts industry works. It allows them an opportunity to get an understanding for what will be expected of them during the rehearsal and performance period. It allows the teachers an opportunity to decide on the right roles for the right students. It also gives students a sense of ownership for the project.
Congratulations to all the students who made the cut. We look forward to the final show which will be open to all members of the community.