School-Wide Initiative Brings Willy Wonka Jr. to the Stage

School-Wide Initiative Brings Willy Wonka Jr. to the Stage
Posted on 02/24/2023
School-Wide Initiative Brings Willy Wonka Jr. to the Stage

The Sawmill Creek Elementary School community went on a cross-curricular journey into Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory. In February, students from kindergarten to grade 8 explored Roald Dahl’s novel Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and brought it to life by staging the musical Willy Wonka Jr. The OCDSB’s Innovation and Adolescent Learning Department was proud to have helped support this initiative.

A cast of talented performers from grade 3 to 8 put their singing and acting skills on display in the show, which was directed by arts teacher Catherine Spear. Students took on leadership roles as Stage Manager, Junior Directors, and Junior Choreographers. The musical also had a dedicated team working behind the scenes – operating microphones, the lighting board, and the soundboard –  to make the magic happen.

Offstage, students unleashed their imagination to help tell the story. Grade 1 teacher Elizabeth Metcalfe worked with intermediate students to design the set, while Art classes created props like lollipops and chocolate bars. In Language Arts, students made promotional posters to spread the word about the show. Many classes also explored storytelling through analyses of the book and musical.

In conjunction with the production, students helped to organize fundraisers – including a chocolate bar fundraiser complete with a Golden Ticket prize, and Wonka-themed bake sales during intermission.

The show opened to glowing reviews, and students expressed their pride in bringing live performances back to Sawmill Creek:


“I had so so much fun and made some new and amazing friends and memories.” –  Charlotte, student in a lead role

“My eyes were tearing up when I started to perform,” – Student in a lead role

“I had a great time rehearsing with my friends. All the work was worth it to make people smile in the end.” – Lillie, student stage manager

“I had an excellent time working on the set! All the set painters are incredible painters and great people.” – Student set designer

“I was proud.” – Grade 8 student

“First time in my life I saw a musical.” – Grade 8 student in the audience


Bravo to all of the students and staff for your collaboration and commitment to making this production a success!
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