Berwick school best performers in Australia

Left to right: Deborah Equid (Victorian Wakakirri representative), Milla Higgins, Anastasia Gnjidic, Chanithu Haththimuni and Adam Loxley (director of Wakakirri). 199609_01

By Danielle Kutchel

A Berwick school’s creative take on a favourite fairytale has earned them a national award in the annual Wakakirri performing arts event.

Berwick Primary School took out the Primary Challenge Story of the Year award, beating 280 other schools from across the country.

Students performed a unique rendition of Jack and the Beanstalk called “Jack and the Giants”, which followed Jack into a magical kingdom where friendships blossom and family is found.

The school’s performance blew away the Wakakirri National Panel, who called it a “cleverly articulate storyline”, “with great energy and enthusiasm”.

The National Panel commended Berwick students on their “teamwork” and “excellent well rounded production”.

Kelly Cathie, Berwick Primary School’s Wakakirri coordinator and choreographer, described the performance as a “fractured fairytale” focused on the theme of friendship being found in the strangest of places.

Her students – all 93 of them from grades 3 through to 6 – were excited to get involved and come along to rehearsals.

“The kids rehearsed for about two hours every week. They formed their own family and community with each other, making friends with kids they wouldn’t normally hang out with.”

This was the sixth year the school had been involved in Wakakirri, and the third year they made it through to the state finals for Victoria.

“We felt satisfied and proud and we were happy with that,” she said.

But the excitement and tension amongst the students on the night built as they waited to hear who had taken out the coveted award.

“The room erupted when our name appeared! I’m surprised the windows didn’t shatter!” Ms Cathie laughed.

The students were presented with their trophy by the national director of Wakakirri in a celebratory whole school assembly on Wednesday 6 November.

The production was an original created by Ms Cathie, art teacher MR Brown and art media teacher Mr Carr, who brainstorm performance themes each year.

“I love being able to provide an opportunity for kids to participate in something that is their passion,” Ms Cathie said.