Tunku Putra’s ‘Into the Woods’ a musical triumph

Tunku Putra School 'Into the Woods' Performance Night 1

Tunku Putra School in Kuching dazzled audiences with three breathtaking performances of Sondheim’s Tony Award Winning Musical, ‘Into the Woods’.

The ballroom of the old State Legislative Assembly building came alive when the students, accompanied by the Sarawak State Symphony Orchestra, succeeded in their ambitious mission to bring Broadway to Borneo.

‘Into the Woods’ boasts a cast of familiar fairy tale characters, including Cinderella, Little Red Riding Hood and Jack as well as the childless Baker and his wife, who embark on various quests and journeys against the backdrop of a magical forest.

Tunku Putra School 'Into the Woods' Performance Night 2

Some 27 students aged between 11 and 16 performed the captivating musical which explores the universal themes of family dynamics; desire; greed and how a community reacts to catastrophe.

In the words of Little Red Riding Hood, they journeyed;

“Into the woods,
Then out of the woods–
And happy ever after!”

Audiences numbering some 500 people each night, accompanied the cast on their quests in search of strange objects, a prince and a bride as spirits roamed and a witch cast her spells.

Tunku Putra School 'Into the Woods' Performance Night 3

Head of State Tun Pehin Sri Abdul Taib Mahmud, who graced the gala night as part of his 80th birthday celebrations, chatted with the cast and congratulated them on their stunning performance.

At the closing of the final show, Tunku Putra School Principal Susan Holmes praised them for “an incredible team effort, with many highly gifted individuals having coming together to achieve remarkable outcomes.”

As well as the performers who had rehearsed tirelessly for their roles, there were many others who had toiled to produce the beautiful costumes and stage sets.

Tunku Putra School 'Into the Woods' Performance Night 4

Holmes noted that involvement in such a major production taught many skills and was a valuable experience that would stay with the students.

She also highlighted the holistic education at Tunku Putra School which enabled students to become the best they could be, balancing strong academic outcomes with varied co-curriculum activities that brought their unique talents to the fore.

“We wanted to do something more magical than we have ever done before and to push boundaries, both within the Arts in Kuching and with our students to bring out the wealth of talent they possess.” explained Donna Crick, the Artistic Director and Head of Creative Arts at Tunku Putra School.

The students clearly rose to the challenge and reaped the benefits.

“We worked hard to accomplish our plan to stage this musical; it built our confidence and we feel ready to take on more new challenges,” said Jansen, who played the role of the Baker.

“I felt like I was that character, I became so involved,” commented Claire of her role as the Baker’s wife.

Zoie Tok who played Cinderella, reflected on the messages of ‘Into the Woods,’ reminding us to seize what chances come along as “opportunity is not a lengthy visitor” and also that forming one’s own judgement is part of life’s journey as “witches can be right, giants can be good, you decide what’s right, you decide what’s good.”

Tunku Putra School is a kindergarten, primary and secondary school offering both national and international (UK Cambridge) syllabi on a purpose-built campus in Petra Jaya, Kuching.

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