School to pounce onto stage with Lion King musical

Venture Heights School in Martensville is staging the Lion King musical in early December

After three months of learning their lyrics, lines, and dance routines, students at Venture Heights School are putting the finishing touches on their new musical, the Lion King.
“It’s been a long haul for the 50 kids and the teachers involved with this,” said Venture Heights Vice-Principal Nicole Lacoursiere. “But we’re pumped because now we’re getting to the really exciting part where we put it all together.”
The cast and crew, made up of students in Grades 5 through 8, are rehearsing the production every morning, lunch hour and after-school period. They’re also devoting a good chunk of their Sundays in late November to smoothing off the remaining rough edges.
The school stages a musical every year, said Lacoursiere. This year’s production is slated for several performances during the first week of December.
“It’s a team effort,” she said. “We have one teacher who looks after the music and the singing, one teacher who is in charge of the acting, another who oversees the costumes and set design, and I’m the one who does the choreography.
“It’s a big commitment from everyone, especially the kids. But they really put a tremendous amount of effort into it, and it shows in the final production.
“Honestly, it’s awesome. We always have people say they can’t believe the performers are elementary school kids. They’re just blown away.”
Last year, the school staged a musical called “Elf” and the year before it was “Annie.”
The kids sign on to be in the musical in September, and the teachers work in collaboration to come up with a script that best suits the makeup and talents of the cast, said Lacoursiere.
“Some students return every year,” she said. “But we always have new kids each fall who decide to try it, and a lot of times they really surprise us with their capabilities.”
She said the musical has become an important tradition at the school; one that promotes a sense of pride in the student body.
“It’s wonderful watching the Grade 8 kids in the audience, going up to the Grade 5s after a performance and congratulating them on what a great job they did,” said Lacoursiere. “And to see the little ones in Grades 1 to 3 sitting there, wide-eyed as they watch the play, and looking forward to participating in it when they get to Grade 5.”
Students who are in the production gain confidence and teamwork as they learn to work with others toward a shared goal, said Lacoursiere.
“For the older ones in Grade 8, they always feel a little sad when it’s over because they know it’s their last one,” she said. “It’s a bit emotional for them because they work so hard and invest so much in it.”