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    BACK TO THE STAGE: Front, from left, Claudia Lopez O’Donnell, Mrs Wormwood, Penny Lopez O’Donnell, Matilda, and Emilee Jones-Pritchard, Miss Honey, and the Horsham College cast of Matilda the Musical have resumed rehearsals after COVID-19 forced the show’s cancellation last year. Picture: PAUL CARRACHER

Matilda musical excitement builds at Horsham College


Horsham College drama enthusiasts are celebrating the resurrection of the school’s annual production, which was shelved last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The college will present Matilda the Musical in Horsham Town Hall from August 19 to 21.

Based on the much-loved book by Roald Dahl and featuring songs by Tim Minchin, the award-winning Matilda the Musical ‘is the story of an extraordinary girl who, armed with a vivid imagination and a sharp mind, dares to take a stand and change her own destiny’.

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Director and teacher Emily Friedrichsen said it was wonderful to see the students resume rehearsals after a disappointing 2020.

“We’re excited to start up again, because the show is a big passion for a lot of our students,” she said.

“Although we are saddened last year’s year 12s couldn’t see the show through, they will get an invitation to come along this year.

“The kids are all excited and we wish the cast and crew all the best.”

Horsham’s talented Lopez O’Donnell sisters have all scored lead roles in the production.

Lucia, year 12, will play Miss Trunchbull, Claudia, year 10, Mrs Wormwood, and Penny, year 8, has the title role of Matilda.  

Lucia said she and her sisters loved Roald Dahl’s popular story in all its guises.

“We’ve read the book, we’ve seen all the movies, we’ve been to the stage show when it was on in Melbourne, twice – we’ve loved it since we were little,” she said.

“We’re excited to be working on the show again. We had it cast and ready to go last year and obviously everything shut down because of COVID.

“This year a lot of the structure is still there but we’ve had some people taking on different roles. We had to audition some of the roles out – I feel really bad for the people who had roles last year but couldn’t be in it because they’ve finished school.”

Penny, who won the role of Matilda last year, said she looked forward to finally bringing it to life.

She described Matilda as a ‘school child who is quite clever and quite ahead in her intelligence’.

She said she and her sisters worked well together and their roles required them to interact frequently on stage. Claudia said living in the same household was helpful, as she and her sisters could rehearse together in their spare time.

“We do enjoy the opportunity to work together,” she said.

“We have a cast of about 30, which means it will be smaller than last year, but it also means it will be easier to work together and make friends. It will be more tight-knit.”

Claudia said she was keen to portray a villain.

“Mrs Wormwood is really loud, she’s really out there,” she said.

“She’s pretty mean – she’s a bit abusive towards Matilda – and she can really bite, which I feel will be pretty fun to play.”

Fellow cast mate and long-time performer Emilee Jones-Pritchard is also pleased to see life return to some form of normality after a rollercoaster 2020.

The year-11 student plays the role of Miss Honey.

“She is Matilda’s schoolteacher, who grew up with a troubled life, being raised by Miss Trunchbull, who abused her and makes her pay for all of her debt,” she said.

“I’m very excited about it because we didn’t get do it last year.” 

Ms Friedrichsen said students had also taken on crew roles, with the college’s year-eight theatre class heavily involved behind the scenes.

She said the cast would also perform three shows for schools from throughout the region, which were sold out.

Tickets for Matilda the Musical will go on sale in the next few months. 

The entire March 31, 2021 edition of The Weekly Advertiser is available online. READ IT HERE!

The entire March 31, 2021 edition of AgLife is available online. READ IT HERE!