Ever since term one Paraparaumu College has been working on a project that has involved almost every department of the college, involving collaboration between both the staff and students.

The college is turning Murder and Matchmaking, media studies teacher Debbie Cowens' debut novel, into a collaborative entertaining and funny production, adapted for the stage by extra-curricular arts director Clare Thorley and directed by Charli Haskell.

The novel is a mash-up of Pride and Prejudice and Sherlock Holmes with Jane Austen's witty prose meeting the perplexing mysteries of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle in a book that finally answers the question: if Mrs Bennet is so concerned about her daughters finding suitable matches, why doesn't she really do something about their chances?

"Though the show is written and directed by staff, the casting, musical composition and orchestration, robotics, technical and crew support roles will all be filled by students," Clare said.


While robotics is not your usual subject for a theatre production, the team saw an opportunity to include it by creating a robotic version of Lydia, a pug dog from the novel who is key in solving the murder.

"We like to involve as many groups from around the school as possible and in the book there was a pug," said robotics club, student project manager Sam Cameron.

"The robotics club hasn't really been getting any exposure around the school so its really cool to work on something for the major production.

"We gutted a toy pug and put in all the wiring and code which has been done from scratch.

"It's been really cool for the club to be involved and get some publicity throughout the school."

Another department playing a big role in the production is the music department with the music composed by Jack Harman, arranged by Elliott Ranoo.

"The main three things were an opening theme that comes back throughout the production, signature music for the entrance of the two detectives and music for the onstage death of one of the characters," Jack said.

"There's lots of people involved," said Rachael Leask, who plays Elizabeth.

"The film club has created a video at the beginning of the production showing the murders — in the nicest way possible."

The filming for this part was done at Ōtaihanga during the school holidays and the scene will play at the beginning of the production.

The production will run from September 13-15 in the auditorium.