Behind the Curtain: Musicals at AIS

Behind the Curtain: Musicals at AIS

Last year, AIS was proud to hold another wonderfully produced musical production to add to its long list of successful theatrical performances. Each year, students are given the opportunity, with support and direction from AIS’s teaching staff, to experience the thrill of taking to the stage. Due to the fantastic talent AIS has, consequently, each year such students relish the chance and make the stage their own, and last year’s rendition of Mamma Mia! continued this tradition.

From actors, musicians, backstage teams and set designers, the amount of effort that goes into these performances by the students is extraordinary. Now that the lights are off, costumes put away and the audience reminiscing about a great show, we decided to check in with the students who got involved to hear their experiences.

Firstly, we asked some of the students what their roles and responsibilities were as part of the production.

Reuben John Quilon Balbon, Year 12 – Backstage Manager

During the Mamma Mia production at AIS, I was happily appointed the role of Backstage Manager. In view of the fact that I had been in other productions in the years before and had learned the ways and how it works, I felt that it was time to step out of my comfort zone and take control.

Michaela Sumague, Year 12 – Head of Set Design

I decided that I wanted to be the Head of Set Design because of my love for art and creativity. Ever since I was young I have always been creative, throughout the years I have tried many things that were related to art. I have been watching our previous school productions for a long time and I have always admired the sets which made me want to become the Head of Set Design.

Sayaka Takagi, Year 13 – Head of Choreography and Actress

My role in Mamma Mia was Tanya, one of Donna’s best friends. I was also the production’s Choreographer which meant I had to create the dance moves for each scene and teach them to the cast and chorus. Additionally, I was responsible for the flow of the stage movement including entrances and exits.  

We then enquired on what the experience was like for the students gearing up to the show and when the curtains opened on the night.

Reuben John Quilon Balbon, Year 12 – Backstage Manager

Throughout the process and working all the way up to the final performance, it was all very much enjoyable. The weekend practices that my team and I attended were long but it was never boring with the continuous entertainment that occurred on the stage. We had a lot of work to do but with practice, it was very much doable. Leading my team for the Mamma Mia! production has showed me more about what I’m capable of as a person and that in this production, even though the team I put together weren’t the best of friends, it all worked out to be more like a family in the end.

Michaela Sumague, Year 12 – Head of Set Design

My experience of being part of the Mamma Mia! production is an experience that I will never forget. Ever since I started making the sets I have enjoyed every single bit from my team to the cast and to the teachers who directed the musical. Every so often some of the cast would take a sneak peek of the set and would give it an abundance of compliments which would always make my day better. Though there were times when being part of Mamma Mia! was stressful, things like deadlines and things not going the way you wanted it to go, in the end, those issues were all worth it after seeing the outcome of the production.

Sayaka Takagi, Year 13 – Head of Choreography and Actress

I am really thankful for this school production because each year I make new friends with students of different nationalities, genders, and age groups. We spent most of Semester 1 together rehearsing and we all enjoyed it. After the show was over, we all missed each other. We still talk and hang out together at break and lunch time.  

When we started rehearsing, the pandemic hit, so we only had a short time for preparation. I was worried we wouldn’t be able to put it all together, but in the end our show was a huge success. We received so much positive feedback from the audience. I think it was one of the best school productions ever.  

Mamma Mia! is just one of many productions and performances AIS holds every year. To learn more about all things performing arts at AIS, check out and follow our dedicated Facebook group on AIS Performing Arts: https://www.facebook.com/groups/1029561997477902