It was on with the drop-waisted dresses, the T-bar shoes and feather boas for the girls and the pinstripe suits and black shirts for the boys as Tongariro School embraced the 1920s last week.

The school held its 2020 major production, Rosie & Mr Pinstripe over two sold-out nights last week. Set in Prohibition-era 1920s, the setting is New York, where outlawed grog is served in speakeasies and the mob bosses control the scene.

Senior school students from Years 9 to 13 were involved and from across a range of subjects. While there were 37 students in the musical production itself, many more were involved in making props, designing the set, designing and making costumes, doing the lighting and managing the stage, said English, drama and media teacher Vanessa Lumley.

"I've got kids who are doing acting credits, we've got costume-making credits, we've got lighting and sound credits. We've got kids who design and make and wear their costumes."


The audience was seated on sofas and at tables in a nightclub-like setting and Tongariro School hospitality students, under the guidance of food technology teacher Ylva Maxwell, catered and served a meal during the show, an exercise which was also an opportunity to earn NCEA credits.

In addition Vanessa was thankful for the help of school caretaker Brenton Searancke, who had been "absolutely awesome", working hard to build the sets. Sue Marquet and Danica Tipene-Searancke had dressed the tables in the hospitality area, decked out the entrance to the secret speakeasy and a whole pile of added extras. Darlene Potgieter and Louise Louw helped with costumes.

Students involved in Tongariro School's major production, Rosie & Mr Pinstripe. Photo / Supplied
Students involved in Tongariro School's major production, Rosie & Mr Pinstripe. Photo / Supplied

"It's been a whole secondary staff thing and for those teachers who were not directly involved with the actual production, they are the ones who have taken the teaching workload off the rest of us.

Dancing was one of the features of the production and Vanessa said the school was grateful for the help of one of Turangi's newest residents, Russell Cooper, a New Zealand ballroom dancing champion who spent a couple of hours each week teaching the students the dances.

Rehearsals started at the beginning of the year and the production was originally planned for term two but had to be postponed after lockdown pushed the schedule back by seven weeks.

The show ran for two nights and was sold out on both, with Vanessa saying proudly she had heard good reviews.

Before the hall is returned to its former state though, it will remain decorated for an additional week to provide a glamorous backdrop for the school's senior ball.

Vanessa, who was still sewing costumes even on the afternoon of the show, said although it was a frantically busy time, she loved the annual productions, which she had done for about 20 years.


"It's huge. There's a lot that comes in with it but it's worth it."

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