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Mamma Mia, Langley high school students use courtyard for musical production

Students enjoying the opportunity to perform for a live audience

Theatre students of Walnut Grove Secondary School will hit the stage again, this time for a live performance, after a two-year-long COVID hiatus.

With the 2019 show getting cancelled and last year’s production being filmed and streamed due to COVID protocols, the students are excited to be back on stage and under the lights, shared Janelle Castro, one of the teachers involved in the production.

Grade 10 student Katelyn Smyrski said she loves performing and practicing with people around her.

“Being up on the stage with all my friends is like having the time of my life,” she said.

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This year’s production, Mamma Mia, would be pretty different from previous performances as the students will present their show outside in the school’s courtyard for the first time ever.

“I was involved last year, but this year it is different. We actually get to perform our show live… for living humans… it’s extremely exciting to be able to do this,” Smyrski added.

Mamma Mia is a story about the love of family and the importance of friends with a message that you just have to sing about whether life is going wonderfully or not.

The story takes place on a beautiful Greek Island and revolves around bride-to-be Sophie, played by Chloe Rutquist, and her mom Donna, played by Asia Zboyovsky.

In search of her father, Sophie finds her mom’s diary and secretly invites three men who might be her dad to her own wedding, much to the surprise and irritation of Donna. The “exciting” music of the popular group ABBA will accompany the comical story of miscommunication, memories, and fun dance numbers.

This year, about 50 students from Grade 9 to 12 enrolled in the theatre class, and 42 are part of the Mamma Mia production.

But, what came as a challenge for Castro was that not everyone had performed in a live production before. With previous shows cancelled, only senior students had the experience of performing live, but they were happy to guide the younger ones.

“They (senior students) have been a tremendous source of support and leadership to the younger students as we have had many new faces join the program this year,” shared Castro.

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In addition to COVID restrictions, the crew also had to deal with the changing weather conditions and an “unusually” wet spring.

“We were hoping for a much warmer and drier environment for our performers… but our students have been strong through it all and worked hard to create a truly magical experience,” Castro said.

Ashlyn Sharp, a Grade 12 student, recalled the challenges the crew faced during rehearsals but said she enjoyed being part of the show.

“The process was so worth it in the end, even though we had some difficulties figuring out choreography,” Sharp added.

The already sold-out show will run from May 12 to 14, with dinner by students of the school’s chef program on May 12. The organizers might release additional tickets on the day of each performance if the weather allows them to add more seats.

For tickets, people can visit Walnut Grove Secondary School is located at 8919 Walnut Grove Dr.


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Tanmay Ahluwalia

About the Author: Tanmay Ahluwalia

Tanmay Ahluwalia is a journalist with a digital mindset and a proud alumnus of the University of Delhi.
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