Wollongong High musical Pirates of Penzance opens

Brayden Kennedy as the Pirate King with the cast of The Pirates of Penzance. Picture: ROBERT PEET

Brayden Kennedy as the Pirate King with the cast of The Pirates of Penzance. Picture: ROBERT PEET

It's the very model of a modern major musical.

Wollongong High School of the Performing Arts is putting on a swashbuckling performance of The Pirates of Penzance, combining elements of the traditional Gilbert and Sullivan version with the contemporary Jon English production to create a unique, upbeat show.

The musical, known for its humour and lyrical complexity, is a challenge that will serve the talented students well when they leave school and enter the entertainment industry.

Director Janet Cunningham said the cast and crew of about 100 students had been incredibly dedicated, preparing for the performance since late 2013.

"We try to give the students professional theatre and work ethics as much as possible so they have a really clear understanding of what the industry standards are," she said.

"We're trying to offer up challenges all the time."

As well as learning the four-part harmonies and perfecting their pirate accents, some of the actors also took part in fencing workshops to ensure their sword-clanging scenes were authentic.

"Our performance is very physical. There's an athleticism to our pirates - they just explode onto the stage," said Mrs Cunningham.

Even the audience will be in on the action, with the school theatre transformed into a Victorian one, resplendent in gilding and red velvet.

The Pirates of Penzance is on from June 19 to 28. Tickets are available from here.

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