Virginia Primary School will take part in Australia’s largest performing arts event for schools this year, Wakakirri.
Wakakirri promotes the sharing of stories, through dance and theatre, while developing creative thinking, school and self pride, and life skills for all participants.
A Wakakirri story dance is a 3-7 minute performance by a group of students who theatrically tell a story using a combination of dance, creative movement and acting to pre-recorded music.
The event is open to all schools across the country with prizes awarded in a range of categories.
This is the first time VPS has entered the event and the school has chosen to tell the story of its popular Vietnamese teacher, Thi-Hien Danh, who travelled as a refugee by boat to Australia from Vietnam, via Thailand, when she was eight years old.
Thi-Hien’s story has all the makings of a Hollywood movie, with suspense, fear, courage, and love.
There’s even a heart-stopping encounter with pirates.
“I remember the journey,” Thi Hien said.
“My mum took a risk (but) it was an adventure.”
Ninety-two students from years 3-7 will take part in the event in a variety of roles including on stage and backstage.
They will perform at the Entertainment Centre in August but have weeks of planning and rehearsals ahead of them, with the whole school community pitching in to help create costumes and sets and coordinate each scene.
VPS teacher, Sue Graham, who is coordinating the school’s involvement, says the Wakakirri performance involves many different elements and the vibe amongst the students was upbeat and positive.
“The challenge for our students is how to get the important moments across to an audience in under seven minutes,” Ms Graham said.
“There is such a creative energy already.
“Students are learning new skills, such as how to incorporate moving sets into a performance and how to best communicate Thi Hien’s story to a large audience.
“It is new learning for students and teachers alike (and) Thi Hien’s journey reflects the stories of many of our Virginia families, both past and present who have come to Australia seeking a better life.”