The Lion King may be Colquitz middle school’s biggest production to date, but drama teacher Caroline Mackenzie is pretty “Hakuna Matata” about it.
She’s been feeling the love from the school’s circle of life, with tons of help from parents and former students to put on the 105-pupil show. The show is currently running at Spectrum community school, where many Colquitz alumni are helping out at the performances, and many parents have been lending their time to get everything ready over the last several months.
“This room has looked like Santa’s workshop every single Monday night,” said Mackenzie in a classroom filled with props, costumes and set pieces. “There’s been a great deal of blood, sweat and hot glue poured into this show.”
Since August, Mackenzie has been piecing together the stage show of the mid-’90s Disney classic, along with help from some tremendous parent volunteers like Cindy Sanders and Sarah Spencer. The Lion King has been a longtime bucket list show for Mackenzie, who had been waiting for a junior version to be released for amateur theatre until this time last year.
“I’d heard in the rumour mill that they were thinking of adapting this one and making it available within the next five years,” she said. “I was watching their website with anticipation and when it finally was released, I immediately grabbed it. I was very, very, very, very, very excited.”
The show features students from Grade 6 to 8, who have been practising choreography and learning five different African languages for the songs since January. The show is double cast, with Team Swahili and Team Zulu alternating roles on different nights.
“Every single child is onstage every night,” said Mackenzie. “Sometimes they have lines and sometimes they’re chorus, and on the opposite nights, they flip.”
Grade 8 student Jackson Sahota stars as the older Simba, a role that he feels he can relate to well.
“It’s been really cool. I’m the king of the pridelands,” said Sahota. “I feel like I can connect with the character, also, when I’m down or when I’m happy singing ‘Hakuna Matata.’”
Sahota, who’s previously performed in such Colquitz productions as Aladdin, said there was a bit of a split in emotions among the cast prior to opening night.
“There are happy people, there are nervous people and there are people in between,” he said. “I’m nervous, but at the same time, I’m super happy to get out onstage and give a killer performance.”
The school has 7:30 p.m. performances on June 1, 3 and 4. Tickets are $12 and are available by calling Colquitz at 250-479-1678 or emailing Candace Perkins at firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more information, visit colquitzfinearts.weebly.com.