‘Miss Saigon’ Showcases the “Strength of the Human Spirit”
It is that time of year again when excitement builds for the Senior School Musical which, this year, is ‘Miss Saigon School Edition’. The opening night is only a few days away and the cast and crew have worked extremely hard to prepare for this production.
As ever with our musicals, the pupils have benefitted greatly from the expertise of the Music and Drama Departments working together, along with the technical knowledge of Mr Graeme and professional choreography from Mrs Thompson. They work together as one team and their support for one another, as they enjoy the performances, will be something very special and memorable.
‘Miss Saigon’ is set during the Vietnam War and begins in 1975 when the conflicting cultures and ideologies of the world seemed to meet violently in one city: Saigon. It’s an epic and tragic story of a young couple in love, caught in a world at war. ‘Miss Saigon’ tells the story of Chris, an American male GI, who falls in love with Kim, a young orphan who works as a bar girl. When the city falls, the lovers are separated, and Chris eventually returns home to the U.S.
Years later, Chris returns to Bangkok with his American wife, Ellen. In Vietnam, when Kim and Chris were together, they conceived a son, Tam, who is ‘bui-doi’ (pronounced bwee DOY; English translation is ‘dust of life’). Bui-doi were Amerasian children (one American and one Asian parent) who were often shunned and left behind after the Vietnam War. Kim raised their son on her own and when reunited years later, Kim and Chris must decide what the future holds for all of them.
Catherine Broadbent, who plays ‘Kim’ said: “‘Miss Saigon’ has always been one of my all-time favourite musicals, so I feel beyond privileged and excited to play ‘Kim’ in this, my final Senior School production. Drama and Music have always been such an integral part of my time at RGS Worcester and as both a Drama and Music Scholar and an A Level Drama student, I appreciate this incredible opportunity to continue my development as a performer and communicate such a relevant and meaningful story.”
Charlie Raven, who plays ‘Chris’ said: “To say I am excited for ‘Miss Saigon’ would be an understatement, and I am so grateful to be performing the role of ‘Chris’. It is such an amazing opportunity to be able to work alongside such an incredible team to create such an emotional, inspiring and strong character which I am so excited to share with everyone. This is my last Senior production and the experience of performing has been bittersweet.”
Callum Lockett, who plays ‘The Engineer’ said: “This is my eighth production at RGS Worcester and my final Senior School musical. This will be the most challenging role that I have played and I have thoroughly enjoyed being able to develop my performance skills. Under the incredible direction of Mrs Witcomb throughout my time here and for this production, I have absolutely loved every second of the rehearsals and working with this incredible cast.”
Director of Drama and Artistic Director, Mrs Jilly Witcomb, added: “The Vietnam War was a topic that I studied in depth during my American Studies degree – through art, literature, film, politics and of course the history. American soldiers did not go home heroes and suffer still with PTSD following the atrocities they witnessed, the Vietnamese people suffered a great deal, and their beautiful country was ravaged. Our Seniors have very much captured this through the telling of ‘Kim’ and ‘Chris’’ love story, the fall of Saigon and the lengths that people will go to for a better life. A lot of what happened then is reflected now in everyday news and we continue to hope that things will change.
It is our privilege and responsibility to present this story with utmost sensitivity and awareness, recognising the deep emotional impact it may have on our audience. ‘Miss Saigon’ delves into a chapter of history marked by pain and resilience, portraying real people whose lives were irrevocably shaped by the ravages of conflict. Through meticulous research and unwavering dedication, our cast and creatives have endeavoured to understand not just the events, but the very souls of the individuals we portray. At the heart of our production lies a commitment to acknowledging the triggers that may arise from the themes presented. We understand the responsibility that comes with portraying the rawness of human experience. With great care, we have approached the material, ensuring that while we do not shy away from the truth, we handle it with the utmost compassion and respect.
‘Miss Saigon School Edition’ is not merely a historical reimagining; it is a mirror reflecting the resilience and courage of those who endured unimaginable hardships. Through the lens of this production, we aim to shed light on the strength of the human spirit, the enduring power of hope, and the universal pursuit of love and freedom.
Furthermore, we recognise the relevance of this story in today’s world. As we witness ongoing global conflicts and the displacement of countless individuals, the themes of ‘Miss Saigon’ remain tragically pertinent. It is our hope that by confronting these harsh realities, we can foster dialogue, understanding, and ultimately, a collective call to action to build a more compassionate world.”
‘Miss Saigon School Edition’ will be performed in the RGS Performing Arts Centre for five nights, from Monday 27 November until Friday 1 December. Tickets are on sale, to purchase your ticket, please do so online at trybooking.co.uk/CQLO.