Ms Mel Priemus is a Teacher (Arts) and Director of Production at Wesley College. Her enthusiasm and passion for her work continually inspires a surplus of students to be involved in Drama and Performing Arts each year.
The Wesley drama production has just finished, what is one behind-the-scenes secret that would surprise us?
What happens backstage is totally different to what people would expect. It can go from a really chilled-out zone, with everyone breathing into their vaporisers and whispering, to absolute chaos. It’s difficult to name one, but over my career I’ve seen computer systems crashing, props breaking, broken limbs, and even a collapsed lung. The audience always sits in the Goatcher Auditorium blissfully unaware that 20 metres away we are in full crisis mode.
What is the best bad-decision you’ve ever made?
I was living in a remote community in the Tanami Desert, and there were a pack of camp dogs I kept feeding. During my final week, I used my very last savings to buy a ticket for one of the dogs to come home with me so I could ‘take her to the dog refuge and help her get adopted’. That was many years ago, and she has slept on my bed every night since.
What makes Wesley a great place to work?
Having girls in the Middle School makes Wesley a great place to work. They are headstrong and exuberant trailblazers, and I love their sense of social justice, equality, and compassion within a predominately male environment. Spending my lunch times with the Year 5 girls in the Drama Studio always makes my day so much better!
What is your favourite teaching memory?
This year’s Wesley production, Rent, was unique, and unlike any production I’d ever worked on before. There are so many aspects to a production at the best of times, so continuing through a global pandemic wasn’t easy. I set-up online choreography conferences, and WebEx vocal warm-ups (with 30 microphones on at once). At one point, we even had 70 costumes which got completely lost in transit, which isn’t something I would recommend. After the final curtains on closing night, I went backstage and found Stephanie Nicholls, our Music Director, and we burst out laughing and crying. That moment is my favourite teaching memory ever.
What do you enjoy doing outside your time as a teacher?
I sound really lame, but I don’t think I can answer this one. My work is my passion.
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