Greenhead College students have pulled off a powerful Christmas production by going back hundreds of years in time.
They staged an amazing interpretation of Timberlake Wertenbaker’s Our Country’s Good.
Based on true events, the performance depicted the story of when 11 ships went on a 16,000 mile journey from Portsmouth to Australia in May 1787 to establish the first penal colony.
Remarkably, many of the convicts survived the eight month pilgrimage despite the appalling conditions they faced and went on to stage Australia's first recorded theatre performance, The Recruiting Officer, by George Farquhar.
The cast set the scene with an immersive promenade style performance, conveying the poverty and chaos that was Georgian London and providing the context for the rise of crime in the 18th century.
The audience were then led to the dark hold of the ship while the convicts expressed the triviality of the crimes they had committed and the horrors that awaited them – a prologue devised by the students.
Director Jane Phelan, head of drama and theatre studies, said: “The cast, designers and technicians created an exciting, engaging, immersive performance and brought back to life the characters and real events of this amazing story.
“It was a mature and compelling performance with elements of humour and even a couple of songs which had the audience gripped.
“Immense talent was showcased, not only in the acting but in the costumes, lighting, sound and set design, all of which the students were responsible for.”