COVID 'Plan B' lights up the silver screen

A musical feature film three years in the making, produced by and starring St Ives High school students, will have its world premiere next week. Jim Griffiths reports.

The St Ives High School musical feature film 'Plan B' will have its world premiere on Wednesday 15 November.

At St Ives High School, nothing stops the show from going on – not even a pandemic.

When COVID closures and lockdowns disrupted St Ives High School’s proud tradition of presenting an annual musical, the movie ‘Plan B’ took shape.

Set for a cinematic release on Wednesday 15 November, ‘Plan B’ is an original feature-length film, conceived, created and produced by a dedicated team of more than 100 students, teachers, parents and alumni to uphold St Ives High’s long history of producing unforgettable musicals.

Principal Nathalie Bodley said after three years in production, the whole school community was excited to finally see the finished project on screen.

“In the past we’ve always done musicals, but that wasn’t possible during the pandemic. Making a film was certainly something different,” she said.

“It still allowed our students to perform but filming outside and using certain camera angles allowed for social distancing to help keep everyone safer.

“Creating something over a much longer time allowed us to produce something amazing without having to postpone or cancel the show.”

‘Plan B’ is the story of plucky theatre student, Bea, forming a faux netball team to overcome strict COVID rules banning singing and the performing arts.

While not a documentary, the film was inspired by the experiences students and the school community faced.

Writer, director, composer, and parent at St Ives High School, Sean Peter, said ‘Plan B’ was a bold vision to create something extraordinary in the face of incredible challenges.

“As the pandemic disrupted the world, the performing arts faced some of the earliest closures and the longest road to recovery,” he said.

“‘Plan B’ became a beacon of hope, offering solace and purpose to those who needed it most.”

Over the course of 20 intense months, through lockdowns, COVID outbreaks, late nights, weekends, and holidays, that beacon of hope was transformed into reality.

The cast includes actors of African, Arabian, Indian, Sri Lankan, East Asian, European and Australian backgrounds and is representative of the diversity at St Ives High and in NSW public schools.

Students with a wide spectrum of neurodiversity are among the stars of the film, and producers also consulted closely with the school’s hearing unit.

“The film stands as a testament to the power of pursuing dreams, even in the face of adversity and the unwavering determination of the St Ives High School community,” Mr Peter said.

Ms Bodley said the film could not have been made without the financial support of the school’s P&C and the expertise and knowledge of parents like Mr Peter.

‘Plan B’ premieres on Wednesday 15 November at Event Cinemas, Hornsby, and will run until Sunday 19 November. Tickets are available via Humantix.

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