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The Hunchback of Notre Dame - Special Dress Rehearsal

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Event description

We would like to extend an invitation to your Year 5 and 6 students to attend the Victorian Schools premiere of "The Hunchback of Notre Dame" on Friday 17 May at 12.30PM – 3.10PM.

This Dress Rehearsal performance will take place at ELTHAM College in the Clarke Auditorium, which is in the Harold Mitchell Performing Arts Building.

In 2023, we proudly received the Lyrebird Award for Best Musical and Best Director under $40,000. Our students are showing real dedication to this production and are very keen to perform for your students.

This special event is tailored for young audiences in Year 5 and 6, offering a unique opportunity for students aged 10 and older to immerse themselves in the magic of live theatre.

“The Hunchback of Notre Dame”

The Disney musical is perfect for the whole family. Based on the Victor Hugo text and 1996 film. ELTHAM College will be the first school in the state to produce the musical.

Music by Stephen Scwartz (Wicked) and Alan Menken (Aladdin, The Little Mermaid, Beauty & The Beast). It includes iconic songs “Out There” and “God Help the Outcasts”.

Based on the Victor Hugo novel and songs from the Disney animated feature, The Hunchback of Notre Dame showcases the film’s Academy Award-nominated score, as well as new songs by Menken and Schwartz. Peter Parnell’s new book embraces story theatre and features verbatim passages from Hugo’s gothic novel.

The musical begins as the bells of Notre Dame sound through the famed cathedral in fifteenth-century Paris. Quasimodo, the deformed bell-ringer who longs to be "Out There," observes all of Paris reveling in the Feast of Fools. Held captive by his devious caretaker, the archdeacon Dom Claude Frollo, he escapes for the day and joins the boisterous crowd, only to be treated cruelly by all but the beautiful gypsy, Esmeralda. Quasimodo isn’t the only one captivated by her free spirit, though – the handsome Captain Phoebus and Frollo are equally enthralled. As the three vie for her attention, Frollo embarks on a mission to destroy the gypsies – and it’s up to Quasimodo to save them all.

A sweeping score and powerful story make The Hunchback of Notre Dame an instant classic. Audiences will be swept away by the magic of this truly unforgettable musical.


The Hunchback of Notre Dame “Gypsy” Warning 

The text of The Hunchback of Notre Dame uses the pejorative term “gypsy”. Originally short for “Egyptian”, the term came to be applied to members of the Roma people, an Indo-Aryan ethnic group which migrated to Europe from the Indian subcontinent in the 14th century. As the Romani traditionally led an itinerant, nomadic lifestyle, the word has since acquired a more general meaning, often applied to any traveller or free-spirited person. 

As “gypsy” is an exonym (a word which was applied to a group of people, rather than a word by which they referred to themselves), it is considered by some Romani to be a racial slur. Since the word is used extensively in Victor Hugo’s 1831 novel and in all subsequent adaptations (including the 1996 Disney film on which this stage production is based) we have decided, for historical accuracy, to leave the term in our production and take this opportunity to better understand its derogative history and use. We are mindful of the complexities around the use of exonyms and acknowledge the offensive nature of the term. This sensitive content, along with other important historical aspects of this story, will be explored with all student actors, ensuring student learning is of utmost priority.   

In this production, as per the original off-broadway production in 2014, all actors will step into role, in front of the audience. This is an Epic Theatre convention, where the audience will see that the people on stage are actors, who play multiple roles. We have also explored the ideas of “colour blind” versus “colour conscious” casting, and the general acceptance within the international theatre community that casting should strive for diversity and inclusion at every opportunity.  

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