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Acting in Matilda; a World-Class Experience (by Josh Jacob)

Josh Jacob as Ms Trunchbull.

It was 11 February 2020, and we’d all hopped on a bus to travel over to Bunbury Catholic College (BCC) to try our hand at auditioning for the Colleges’ latest biennial musical, Matilda.

It was not long after this that the casting choices were posted on the Champagnat Technology Centre notice board and everyone was gathered around trying to get a glimpse of who was playing what role. But with Mr Obern promising that this production would go on stage earlier than any school production before it, we didn’t have time to stand around the notice board as rehearsals started the following Tuesday.

We wasted no time at rehearsals. After an initial table read, Ms Liddelow and Ms Whitney (BCC) immediately began teaching the ensemble the music and choreography for the big musical numbers while the lead actors worked on scenes with our director Mr Obern. Apart from the departure of a couple of actors playing Mrs Wormwood and Bruce, the show was quick to adapt and got back on track. Or so we thought..

"It was my most challenging role, my most enjoyable role, and most importantly, the experience of performing on Stage One at the BREC is world-class. "

It wasn’t long after this that we got the message that we were to have a Matilda meeting in the Drama room. We received the news that the play could not go ahead due to COVID-19. The play was postponed, and rehearsals ended. So much for a shorter production time!

Naturally, when the show was postponed, everyone was distraught, but the energy, when a new date was confirmed and rehearsals resumed, was above and beyond. The energy was even greater than when the cast list was first announced.

Rehearsals picked up exactly where they left off, and the show was well and truly on its way again. Every Tuesday, we gathered and rehearsed from 3:30pm to 6:30pm, even blocking two weeks of our Christmas holidays to rehearse for a play that seemed like had been going on forever.

Finally, over a year after the first auditions, after more late Tuesday nights than we expected, holiday and Sunday rehearsals, we checked in to the Bunbury Regional Entertainment Centre (BREC) for ‘Tech Week’. The excitement was incredible! The work that had been put into the set and the costumes was incredible! The dedication to every aspect of the show was incredible - from my skirt and breasted top as Ms Trunchbull, to the fact that Gabriel Mulholland bleached and dyed his hair green for the part of Mr Wormwood.

Jayde Barry playing the role of Matilda and Gabriel Mulholland as Mr Wormwood.

The culmination of all this dedication was finally here with the Opening Night!

When the curtain was raised, everything just fell into place. No Opening Night is ever perfect, but the anticipation and mood backstage were so high that it didn’t matter. Despite what few hiccups there were, we knew the show was good when the announcement was made the next morning that we’d sold out the remaining three shows.

Of the many productions I have been in, I can say with complete confidence that this was the best one. It was my most challenging role, my most enjoyable role, and most importantly, the experience of performing on Stage One at the BREC is world-class. The BREC is a professional venue, with professional techs enabling us to do things that can only be done in professional quality productions, like the rigging of the swings and ropes, professional miking and lighting.

The full orchestra in the orchestra pit made all the difference to the production. We are so lucky to have such talented musicians!

For many Year 12 students, the most important event of their final year of schooling is ATAR. However, I can confidently say that the most important event for me this year was Matilda. It is an experience unparalleled by anything else I have experienced and a fitting conclusion to my involvement in performing arts at the College.

"I challenge you to have a go! "

To students thinking about making the step into a College production, I challenge you to have a go! You are guaranteed to learn and grow – and have a great time with great people!

Josh Jacob (Year 12), Ms Trunchbull in Matilda The Musical Our Lady of Mercy College Arts Captain 2021

Please scroll down to see the cast list.

Cast List Our Lady of Mercy College Students


Matilda: Jayde Barry

Trunchbull: Josh Jacob

Mr Wormwood: Gabriel Mulholland

Mrs Wormwood: Mikela Faries

Lavender: Jade Dias


The Escapologist, Parent, Big Kid: Kade Cataldo

Amanda: Hayley Garner

Nigel: Conlan Bailey

Erica: Bonnie Pere

Hortensia: Matilda Warburton

Tommy: Rachel Cronin

Rachel: Rachael Conway-Physick

Children’s Entertainer: Amberley Milne


Parent, Big Kid: Leanne Potgieter

Parent, Big Kid, Dance Ensemble: Jorja Mulholland

Parent, Big Kid, Henchman: Mikaela Caton

Parent, Big Kid, Dance Ensemble: Mackenzee Richter

Parent, Big Kid, Nurse: Lauren Cronin

Parent, Big Kid, Nurse: Lily Bradby

Big Kid, Nurse, Henchman: Emily Battista

Big Kid, Nurse: Chelsey North


Piano 1: Zavier Noonan

Percussion: Jack Nankivell

Woodwind: Ethan Nankivell

Percussion: Luke McAtee

MUSICAL DIRECTOR: Mr Sinead Liddelow

DIRECTOR: Mr Jez Obern


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