A HIGH SCHOOL DRAMA AND
AT UWCSEA EAST
Every two years, the UWCSEA East Drama and Music Departments join forces to create a grand collaborative arts production. For the 2018/2019 school year, it was AIDA. Following months of hard work and rehearsals, the musical was staged in January 2019, in four sold-out performances which received overwhelming response by over 1,600 audience members.
"It's one of the most enjoyable things I have ever done."
Georgia, High School student, assistant director
"Every story is a love story."
That was what sprung to mind for Lindsey Stirrat, Head of Arts Faculty at UWCSEA East, as she recalled her experience helming AIDA together with co-director Bronwyn Bye, Head of Drama. Originally an opera set in the Old Kingdom of Egypt, the story of AIDA was most popularly remade by Elton John and Tim Rice in this modern-day musical adaptation.
Like all compelling love stories, AIDA is gripping and woven with loss, passion, betrayal and loyalty. It sits against the backdrop of a raging war between Egypt and Nubia, creating tension between the protagonists: Aida, an enslaved Ethiopian princess and her forbidden secret lover, Radames, Captain of the Egyptian Guard, who has in turn captured the heart of Amneris, daughter of the Egyptian King.
BREATHING LIFE INTO AIDA
What made AIDA spectacular was that it was not just made up of Drama and Music students; auditions held were open to all High School students. The final production saw 78 students making up two casts of lead actors, and one orchestra of student musicians. Bringing AIDA's characters to life on our UWCSEA stage, our talented cast, crew and ensemble outdid themselves, coming out of the months-long journey having embraced new challenges and explored their capabilities.
The students were involved in a lot more than simply putting together an adaptation of a musical. They had a hand in pruning, shaping and offering their individual perspectives and cultural knowledge to it, so that the production was as authentic as it could be.
"The African scholars really helped with some of the initial stimulus and design ideas for costumes, (offering) their perspectives on some of the artistic decisions and what that means in their culture."
BRINGING UWCSEA VALUES TO THE STAGE
“I think one of the things that attracted us to (AIDA) is this idea of a cross-cultural love story. That sits really well with our UWCSEA mission and love transcending these constructs that we built around ourselves.”
The turmoil and struggles faced in AIDA may be a far cry from the lives of our UWCSEA Drama and Music students, but one can draw plenty of parallels between the values that AIDA evokes and the ones our College embrace.
AIDA teaches lessons of strength, cross-cultural alliances and friendship, fine values that UWCSEA, through the learning environment it nurtures, encourages in its student community. Every story is a love story, and the compelling one that AIDA tells is set to remain with our community for years to come - just ask the students humming along to the songs well after the final applause!
“The learning the students take away from it, stays with them...for their entire lives.”
VIDEOS AND CLIPS
Missed our production of AIDA? Or maybe you simply need to relive your experience of the epic musical all over again? Either way, we've got you covered - here are some snippets and highlights from the show!
Listen: 'How I Know You', performed by AIDA cast
Listen: 'Easy As A Life', performed by AIDA cast
Watch: 'The Dance of the Robe', performed by AIDA cast
Watch: 'AIDA', performed by AIDA cast
Our cast and crew on the AIDA experience:
At UWCSEA, we believe that learning happens when we build bridges - across departments, activities, and within our community. That is why our biennial Music and Drama collaborations have reaped outstanding performances, like AIDA, consistently. We work together to provide a truly holistic experience for our community and believe that every student can contribute to the creation of exceptional art. Read about the unique UWCSEA learning programme here.
United World College South East Asia, East Campus has been authorised to make video recordings of this performance for personal, at-home, non-commercial use only.