Madora Bay resident branches out with bloomin’ good musical

Madora Bay resident Christie McGarrity, a year 9 Mandurah Baptist College student, is set to blossom in the enchanting musical The Secret Garden at Melville Theatre this winter.

Written by Pulitzer Prize-winner Marsha Norman and Lucy Simon and directed by husband-and-wife team Katherine and Justin Freind, the production is based on the beloved classic children’s novel by Frances Hodgson Burnett.

The Secret Garden tells the story of 10-year-old Mary Lennox (played by Christie), orphaned while living in India, returning to England to live with her embittered uncle Archibald, whom she has never met.

Her uncle is a recluse – tormented by insecurities over his physical impairments, plagued by fears he passed those limitations onto his fragile son and constantly haunted by dreams of his late wife.

Feeling abandoned and alone, Mary is befriended by the manor staff who encourage her to find solace in the gardens that need attention. 

A compelling tale of forgiveness and hope, The Secret Garden reveals even the cruellest of environments can burst with new life.

Winner of numerous Tony and Drama Desk Awards, it was also adapted into a 1993 film.

“Mary Lennox starts out as quite a grumpy, spoilt child who is given everything she wants and more,” Christie said.

“As the show progresses, she begins to learn a little bit more about love and respect and starts to become more humbler and loving.

“By the end of the show, Mary is a caring garden lover with a passion for all things garden-related.

“The evolution of the character and bringing her to life in my own way is challenging because I’ve had to manage my time better to allow lots of practice away from rehearsals.”

“I have always really wanted to play the part of Mary Lennox in The Secret Garden,” she said.

“I love the songs and the storyline of the show and, when I heard Katherine and Justin were directing the show, it made me want to audition even more.”

Katherine said The Secret Garden had been a long-time favourite of hers.

“Everything about the show draws me in – the moving story and incredible music and lyrics,” she said.

“I also love the fact we’re bringing music theatre back to Melville because the company is close to my heart, given my father David J. Burton started it.” 

The Secret Garden plays 8pm June 30, July 1, 6, 7, 8, 13, 14 and 15 with a 2pm matinee July 9.

Tickets available on 9330 4565 or at meltheco.org.au.

Melville Theatre is located on the corner of Stock Road and Canning Highway in Palmyra.