Musicals: The Unsung Hero in a Student’s Personal Development

Musicals: The Unsung Hero in a Student’s Personal Development

From The Wizard of Oz, James and the Giant Peach, to Legally Blonde, Australian International School (AIS) has a long history of putting on some fantastic musical theatre performances, giving students a great chance to take the spotlight. Such shows are of course incredible fun for both actors and audiences alike, but as Mr Colin Burstow and Mrs Suzette Bradfield reveal, there are actually significant, deeper reasons why musicals are always part of AIS’s yearly curriculum.

‘Musicals are a hugely important part of education.’ AIS’s Secondary School Music Teacher, Colin Burstow shares, ‘They instil a sense of camaraderie between year groups and develop friendships that will last throughout school life and beyond. They also help develop confidence and pride with achieving an often very challenging goal.’

At AIS, through each musical theatre show’s entire process of production, from the first rehearsal to the final performance, confidence in public speaking and team building are two key skills that are encouraged and discovered by the students. Whether through developing their language abilities, learning to project their voice and enunciate to observing and listening to others, students develop great communications skills whilst facing challenging, yet motivating, experiences together.

Suzette Bradfield, AIS’s Primary School Music Teacher adds further, ‘Musical theatre helps to develop literacy skills and teamworking skills as well as support young people to understand the world around them. Being a part of a show can also be hugely beneficial for both students’ mental and physical health. Music and acting develop emotional understanding, and dancing supports positive habits in young people that continue into adult life. ‘

As each production exposes unique and thought-provoking narratives that reflect a variety of social cultures, issues and events, ranging widely, from dealing with themes of embracing your own identity, seen in Addams Family, to the transition from childhood to becoming an adult in Peter Pan. Having the opportunity to read, discuss, and perform, brings greater understanding of such topics, ideas, characters, motivations, and settings. As a result, AIS takes time in choosing which show to hold each year, knowing it is a fantastic opportunity to foster a student’s better social awareness.

Due to all these reasons, AIS is keen to provide children the opportunity to take part in musical theatre at a very young age. Each year in November, AIS’s primary school holds an annual concert which involves all children from as young as kindergarten all the way up to Year 6. For each show, every year group comes together to perform, either a song or a dance, as part of a yearly theme. Themes have ranged from ‘AIS Celebrates Broadway’, ‘AIS Celebrates Mistletoe Magic’, seen in the past two years, to this year’s ‘AIS Celebrates Life is Beautiful’. The entire primary school then comes together for a grand finale!

For secondary school students, once a year, AIS makes full use of its extensive musical facilities to put on fantastically glitzy productions! Much like in theatre life, students come for auditions and from there, depending on who is deemed best for each role, a cast is formed. Thanks to the diverse range of talented singers, actors, and dancers, seen each year, it can often be hard to pick! Additionally, AIS also provides further after school musical activities for those who want even more experience.

This November, AIS is proud to announce that its secondary school students will be staging the Abba jukebox musical romantic comedy film, Mamma Mia! With rehearsals already underway, and a stage created to showcase the performance like you have never seen it before, audience members will feel they have been whisked away to the beach for an evening. Whilst there, they’ll witness fantastic performances of beloved characters and dance along to some of the all-time Abba greats, such as ‘Waterloo’, ‘Knowing Me, Knowing You’ and ‘I Have a Dream’, to name but a few.

Follow AIS on Facebook to keep up to date with all the preparations for this year’s exciting performance!


Rob Haggett