16 March, 2023 Academic - Old Michaelians

Lilian Knight: Flourishing on and off the stage

Traditionally, St Michael’s is a place where creativity is nurtured and individual expression is encouraged. We believe that the performing arts play a vital role in assisting students to understand more about themselves, each other, and how the arts impact and shape our world.

For graduate Lilian Knight (OM 2022), some of the most rewarding experiences were spent on-stage, bringing to life one of the many School productions. In 2022, Lilian was part of the cast for the Years 10 to 12 Play: Arcadia, and Years 10 to 12 Student Production: DNA, while also taking on a production crew role for the Years 10 to 12 Musical: Hello, Dolly!.

“I was a student at St Michael’s from Years 7 to 12 and during that time my favourite experiences were definitely the school productions. The Saturday rehearsals, holiday intensives, the production week delirium induced by too much sugar or caffeine, and the late, loud, emotional nights will always hold a really special place in my memories.”

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    Getting makeup and hair done for the 10-12 Play Arcadia (2022)
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    The 7-9 Play Oliver Twist (2019)

While Lilian captivated audiences with her talents in several productions, her off-stage performance was equally commendable. Lilian was Dux of the School with an impressive ATAR of 99.7. She also led Hughes as their 2022 House Captain, planning and executing many activities, while also representing Hughes in House Athletics, Drama and Swimming.

Lilian took on a challenging mix of subjects for VCE, including French, Literature, Philosophy, Psychology, Theatre Studies and Biology. The subjects that Lilian enjoyed the most were Literature and Philosophy, as these subjects provided a time to talk about and genuinely enjoy the course work and topics. It was important to Lilian that she studied subjects that she enjoyed, rather than following a norm or expectation.

Overall it was a pretty hectic year. I think what helped was that I enjoyed what I was doing - I liked what I was learning, I really loved being involved in the productions and working with the other students in my House to put on activities and events for Hughes. I guess it is a matter of figuring out what you enjoy and what you don’t and trying to work around that.Lilian Knight

When reflecting on the most rewarding part of her final year, Lilian speaks to the enjoyment and pride she felt when her time and effort produced successful outcomes. Lilian is particularly proud of her Theatre Studies monologue and the time she dedicated to researching the aesthetic, characteristics and specific pronunciation of Shakespeare’s vocabulary. Further still, Lilian was able to add her own twist and creativity, executing an original and compelling piece of work.

“To put forth a queer, gender bending, punk-infused imagination of a Shakespeare monologue to VCE examiners and have it be liked was a really rewarding moment, and while I decided not go through with my Top Acts audition the fact that all the work and effort put in was recognised means a lot.”

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    Rainy days at the Drama Studio during play rehearsals (2021)
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    Teacher Dress up day 2022 (as Mrs Merry, Mr Jenvey and Madam Hewision)

Lilian’s advice to future VCE students is to remember that VCE is not the ‘be-all and end-all’. While she encourages students to do their very best, she also recognises the importance of looking after your physical and mental health and not comprising your wellbeing by putting too much pressure on yourself. For Lilian, it was also imperative to remain kind and empathetic to her fellow peers, acknowledging that everyone was a little tired, stressed and confused but ultimately, doing their best.

Since graduating, Lilian has commenced a Bachelor of Arts at the University of Melbourne, where she intends to study a range of subjects from Gender Studies, Literature and International Politics.

We look forward to following Lilian’s journey beyond St Michael’s and wish her all the very best for this next exciting chapter.