General manager defends cancellation of Little Shop

Sandhurst Catholic Education Executive Director Paul Desmond defended his decision to cancel Notre Dame College’s performance of Little Shop of Horrors on Thursday night.

The show’s Friday and Saturday night performances had been canceled due to Victoria’s instant lockdown, which was announced Thursday to go into effect at 11:59 p.m. Thursday night.

Mr Desmond called with an hour before opening night to cancel the performance, although this was still allowed as the restrictions had not yet changed at the time of the performance.

“Containment was introduced not because the danger started at midnight but it was time to put the house in order. I had to make the call, ”Desmond said.

“My default position is student safety (first)… I didn’t know if there would be anyone in the audience who had the virus.”

He said it was the same logic that had led him to shut down St Monica in Wodonga earlier this week, and he promised he would move “heaven and earth” to make sure the students could go up. on stage – in front of either a live audience or cameras – once he was “sure to do it”.

“I made the decision knowing it would be a tough pill to swallow,” he said.

“I know I don’t make many friends with a decision like this… I know other things happened last night, but I can’t control a thing.”

With an hour before the show, the students’ makeup was done and they were about to dress up, but Notre Dame director John Cortese said the makeup was tear-streaked after the announcement.

He said he tried to make the show go behind closed doors so it could be filmed and sent to the family.

Mr Desmond also rejected that request and said there was a risk that a staff member or student could also contract the virus without knowing it.

He said they had already been “shattered” by the cancellation of the last two shows, with many students seeing last year’s production scrapped by restrictions on coronaviruses.

“We asked for permission to do it without a crowd so that we could film it and show it to everyone and that was pushed back,” Mr Cortese said.

Mr. Cortese told the cast and crew in a “sad and moving” about an hour before the show started.

Riverlinks staff turned back theatergoers who had arrived early and began to tell passing cars that the performance had been canceled.

On Friday, the cast, crew, and teachers re-evaluated a Zoom call to check in.

“Some of the kids were quite upset last night and needed a little more support, tomorrow it will be someone else who needs a little more pick-me-up,” Cortese said.

He said it would be difficult to reschedule the show later in the year, with theaters around Shepparton being heavily booked and student exams being a big factor when a show could take place.

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