Soldiers Point Public School students full steam ahead preparing for Dance Fight At The Cowbutte Corral

DANCE FIGHT: Stella Gilder, aged 10, plays Vera in Soldiers Point Public School's upcoming play. She is flanked left by Saddle-sore Sam played by 10-year-old Gus Adnam and right, Town Deputy Beau Hill, 12.
DANCE FIGHT: Stella Gilder, aged 10, plays Vera in Soldiers Point Public School's upcoming play. She is flanked left by Saddle-sore Sam played by 10-year-old Gus Adnam and right, Town Deputy Beau Hill, 12.

Most adults would remember participating in their primary school play, which is part of the reason that such productions are still as relevant today as they have ever been.

A great believer in the benefits to students of large scale productions is Soldiers Point Primary School English teacher Rachel Wagland, formerly of Anna Bay Public.

"Such productions provide an outlet for students to showcase their talents in the creative arts. They are the next step up from classroom readers theater or class item skits," Ms Wagland said.

"To be a part of large scale production, students commit to the whole process. Learning lines, staging, prop design, choreography and so much more.

"It is a true insight into how the theatrical world operates. Students build an appreciation for the art."

Ms Wagland is this year producing her third annual Soldiers Point school play, a spaghetti western titled 'Dance Fight At The Cowbutte Corral'.

The script, packed with song, dance and silliness, was written by Ms Wagland in collaboration with fellow teachers and staff Jeff Gibson, Jenny Dobbie and Guy Holloway.

"It's a fictional story based on the old spaghetti western where the baddies take over a town and the towns folk fight to win it back not with guns and conflict, but through dance," Ms Wagland said.

"There is lots of singing, dancing, silliness, laughter and fun."

In fact, the two-hour production features more than 100 students from Years 3 to 6, plus the school dance group, school choir and Year 1 dancers.

"We are fortunate to have some very talented students at Soldiers Point. And they are dedicated ... rehearsals have been ongoing since Term 1 with many children happy to stay back after school," Ms Wagland said.

Stella Gilder, aged 10, plays Vera, an old fashioned bar girl who is rather extravagant and vague, in the play.

"I love to sing and act but what I love most [about this production] is working in a fun atmosphere that is inclusive," she said.

'Town Deputy' Beau Hill, 12, is known as 'Smooth-hand Luke' and while he may not always be popular he cherishes his leadership qualities.

"It's great to be able to sing and dance," he said.

Then there's gunslinger Saddle-sore Sam played by 10-year-old Gus Adnam. "I like playing the bad guy," he said.

Ms Wagland said that there was more than just creative friendships and bonds between children when putting on a live show.

"It builds confidence, persistence and resilience, not to mention the life long memories which could potentially guide some students to future endeavors," she said.

"And then there's the applause at the end of it all - there is no greater feeling."

'Dance Fight At The Cowbutte Corral' will be performed on September 12 and 13 at Soldiers Point Public School.

Tickets at $15 can be purchased from the school or by phoning (02) 4982 7151.

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