Riley, Livia and Elke Robertson all have parts in this year’s Longreach School of Distance Education musical. Photo:
Longreach School of Distance Education vice principal Rachelle Moore rehearses with her students over the air. (ABC Western Qld: Blythe Moore) Elke’s developed this voice and this character which is just a classic,” she said.”We remind her of people she knows and she can copy mannerisms of.”In this instance of this character it’s very much like Robert De Niro, and [also] my father, so she’s mimicking her grandfather, which is just gorgeous.”
Netta Robertson helps her children with their roles in the Longreach School of Distance Education musical. The Robertson children are enrolled at the Longreach School of Distance Education and their daily classes take place on their family’s cattle property, Orielton, near Hughenden in north-west Queensland.Each Tuesday afternoon is scheduled rehearsal time for the musical, Porridge.The Robertsons and their classmates hook up via the telephone and webcam to run through their parts in the script. (ABC Western Qld: Blythe Moore)
Acting lessons just part of the job for distance education parentsNetta Robertson said she and her husband Peter both thoroughly enjoyed helping their kids with their roles.”We sit down and we give them a little bit of assistance of a night time … The property is about 230 kilometres from their school in Longreach. (ABC Western Qld: Blythe Moore)
Ms Robertson said being an acting coach was just part of the job of a mum with children in distance education.”I think a mother teaching their kids out here has to be a jack of all trades and a master of none,” she said.”You’re forever teaching them outside of the schoolroom, whether it be riding a horse or a motorbike.”It’s never ending and unrelenting anyway, why not just add some casting experience and some acting experience as well?”
The Robertson family has a cattle property near Hughenden in outback Queensland. (ABC Western Qld: Blythe Moore)
Ms Moore said on the big night it was not just the children who had butterflies in their stomachs.”It is extremely nerve-wracking because when we come together for the first time it’s usually a little bit chaotic,” she said.”But on the night it is absolutely amazing.”She said the hard work and effort was worth it because the students learned so much from the experience.”Distance education kids are something unique, they’re just beautiful kids,” she said.”It’s an opportunity for them that they wouldn’t normally get, not attending school on a daily basis.”It’s something different and it’s giving them an opportunity to do what our city kids get to do.”
Longreach School of Distance Education students, including Riley Robertson, during a rare in-person rehearsal in Longreach. (ABC Western Qld: Blythe Moore)
The 96 students involved in the production are spread across an area more than twice the size of Victoria.They will have just a handful of opportunities to practice in person with their classmates before the big performance in December.Riley, who scored one of the main roles, said apart from the rehearsals over the air, he also spent a lot of time practicing on his own.”Some nights I get my iPad, and I’ve got my play recorded down onto there, so I listen to it and it gets through my mind,” he said.”So I know it better and I’m more used to it.”Elke said her father Peter had been a big help as she had figured out how to play her role, Papa Bear.”My dad and I went on YouTube and looked up the Godfather,” she said.”All these little scenes, his moves, and what he said — it helped a lot.”
The Robertson children rehearse for their school musical from their family’s cattle property. (ABC Western Qld: Blythe Moore)
School musical a rewarding challengeThis is the third musical the Longreach School of Distance Education has organised.The job of teaching and directing belongs to vice principal Rachelle Moore, who even provides the students with a DVD of herself performing the moves.”It’s a bit like watching an aerobic video at home,” she said.
(ABC Western Qld: Blythe Moore) ABC Western Qld
By Blythe Moore
September 29, 2016 10:23:37
Elke Robertson running through her lines at Orielton station.
Like most kids, Elke, Riley and Livia Robertson have parts to play in their school musical this year.But unlike most kids, their rehearsals are happening over the air and their teacher is based 230 kilometres away.
A Big Country: Rehearsing the school musical over the air