Janet Fox’s A Westcliff Story has sadly come and gone all too quickly but I’m sure that most will agree that it has left a lasting memory that, in particular, will stay long in the hearts and minds of every Ridge boy. The play week with its five evening performances proved to be a rather taxing one for most of the boys and yet, to their credit, all of them, including the very youngest kept the momentum going right through to and including the final night.
There were so many magical moments and so much to take away from all that Mrs Fox’s extraordinary extravaganza brought to us all. From the fascinating Westcliff history and the deeply significant link to The Ridge’s development and growth over the 100 years, to so many well-chosen songs and melodies that served to bring so much of the past to life for many of us again. The play provided the boys – and all of us – with a unique ‘blast from the past’ learning experience. In addition, of course, we were treated to a whole school cast of 500 + highly spirited and fully engaged Ridge lads who undoubtedly loved every minute under the spotlights.
Such a profoundly moving production took years of careful and sensitive planning, months of well thought out preparation time and rehearsing, as well as all that went into fine-tuning every minute feature from start to finish, so that the audiences would be wrapped in a state of wonder, as we all were, for all six performances.
The genius behind it all was undoubtedly Janet Fox-van der Poel. Our sincere congratulations on a remarkable production, Janet. She would, however, be the first to ensure that tribute is paid to a whole team of helpers, support players, advisers, musicians, and staff members without whom A Westcliff Story could not have been staged. In addition, as mentioned earlier, it must be said just how proud we are of our school of Ridge lads who each played his part so wonderfully well throughout the build-up to play week and then during all six performances.
Another point to bear in mind is that none of the undeniable success of A Westcliff Story could have been achieved were it not for the fact that some academic time had to be sacrificed in the week leading up to production. Given the ‘primary’ nature of all that we work hard to offer our boys in the form of a holistic learning experience, we believe that it was a sacrifice worth making. There will be more than enough time in the months ahead for us to make up the time lost.
A final thought is that with history – both the school’s and South Africa’s – being brought to life in this visual and highly entertaining way, parents are encouraged to spend some time with their boys researching and finding out more of the facts about the many important milestone happenings that were highlighted during the two hours. Historical facts pertaining to the early years of Johannesburg as a small mining town, the 2nd World War, the Rivonia Trial and the struggle heroes, Dr Christiaan Barnard, etc.
This Ridge Reporter will offer you a few delightful reminders of some of the photographed highlights and features of the production and will, I’m sure, prove to be a rather special keepsake into the months ahead.