Stage set for Sacred Heart and St. John’s College production of Godspell

Posted: July 26, 2023Category: Uncategorized

Stage set for Sacred Heart and St. John’s College production of Godspell

The stage is set for this year’s combined Sacred Heart College and St. John’s College production of Godspell.

More than 20 students from the brother-sister schools will take to the stage at Theatre Hawke’s Bay for four nights this week for their rendition of the musical.

Godspell, originally conceived in 1970, was the first major musical theatre offering from three-time Grammy and Academy Award winner, Stephen Schwartz (Wicked, Pippin, Children of Eden). It’s a collection of musical parables from the Gospel according to Matthew, ending with the betrayal and crucifixion of Jesus.

Jo Jowett-Morel directed the production, with Sacred Heart College Head of Arts Sandra Howlett serving as Creative Director. Music has been directed by Christopher Wilson (St. John’s College teacher in charge of music) and Lara Coates (Sacred Heart College teacher in charge of music).

Mrs Jowett-Morel, also Head of English at Sacred Heart College, says she has always wanted to do Godspell as a production.

“It’s one of the shows in the musical theatre canon that doesn’t often get done because it’s not high profile and some people may think ‘we might not get it’, but it’s actually such a great show, the music is wonderful. I also think it is an important show.”

The school last performed the show in 2005. Mrs Jowett-Morel says it has piqued the interest of several old girls who remember it from their time at school.

Mrs Jowett-Morel says the tightness of the production team has been “astonishing”.

“Sandie, she's the person very early on, when I said, ‘we're doing Godspell’, instantly had the set in her head. So, we both had a vision for the show and what we wanted, and that's what we've been able to achieve.

“The students have been fantastic as well. It’s not easy music and they have worked really hard.”

St. John’s College student Connall Corkery plays Jesus, while Sacred Heart College student Georgia Dallas plays John/Judas.

It is the first time Connall, in Year 13, has been involved in a production.

“It was never really anything I looked at before and then Mr Wilson said I should give it a go.

“I just wanted to be a part of it as a chance to try something new, see what I’m good at, see what I enjoy and explore some options. And it has actually been a lot of fun.”

In fact, he is enjoying it so much that he plans on pursuing it as a career path.

Georgia on the other hand is experienced, having performed in the last two school productions in 2019 and 2021. She also played Demetrius in last year’s adapted version of A Midsummer Night's Dream.

“I think it’s quite different because it doesn’t follow an exact storyline, like I wouldn't say there's a starting point and an end in the story. But it is quite fun. It’s definitely nothing like I've done before.”

Georgia says the cast has adapted really well to the challenges thrown at them.

“We have put in the extra effort of learning our lines at home and making sure that we actually are doing the work even if we are not all together.”

She says she is both excited and nervous to take to the stage.

Ticketing information: Godspell runs from Tuesday, July 25 to Friday, July 28 at Theatre Hawke's Bay, Hastings at 7pm. Tickets are $10 and available now via or directly from both schools' offices.