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Up for Rent

Senior School students from St Kilda Road Campus tear up the stage in Rent

Rent has often been described as ‘the show that changed Broadway’. It was one of the first shows to have LGBTQI+ characters at the heart of the story, and after a huge 12 year run on Broadway and numerous productions around the world, it made its way onto the Adamson Theatre Company stage at our St Kilda Road campus last term.

Co-directors Fiona Atkin and Marcus Pinnell first chose the show as the 2020 Senior School musical. Says Marcus, 'Obviously, that show never made it to the stage, and I know the cast at the time and the production team were devastated to start a show about the AIDS epidemic, only to have it cancelled because of the COVID epidemic.'

Watching this year’s production, you got a real sense that the 2022 cast were relishing the opportunity to make up for the lost time: the energy they brought to their roles in this challenging show was remarkable.

Very loosely based on Puccini’s opera La Boheme, Rent is set in New York in the mid-1990’s at the height of the AIDS epidemic. True to its New York vibe, the show is frenetic in pace, and the students were definitely up for it. The musical and dance moments, ranging from the subtle to the explosive, were adeptly handled by this year’s strong cohort, with the performances of singers, dancers and musicians alike all astonishingly good.

‘The score is incredibly taxing on young performers, but beyond that, we’re asking them to perform in roles that are complex and mature,’ says Marcus. ‘It’s a show with a modern rock score that tackles issues that are important to our students. It’s a show about community and inclusion, and I think for the St Kilda Road campus students, it’s vital that there is positive representation of members from the LGBTQI+ community on the stage in Adamson Hall.’

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