After months of rehearsals, The Armidale School's production of The Wizard of Oz was over almost before Dorothy had left Kansas.
Invited parents and friends of cast and crew were given a sneak peak at what otherwise was to be a final dress rehearsal and at one other performance last week.
The rest of the run has been cancelled as part of the school's response to the coronavirus pandemic.
However briefly, the Hoskins Centre brought to life the iconic characters of Frank Baum's 1900 book and the 1939 film in which a young girl and her dog are transported to the magical land of Oz, where they meet up with a scarecrow missing a brain, a tin man without a heart and a cowardly lion in need of courage.
The journey of the four main characters who all find more in themselves had extra resonance given the current circumstances, director Andrew O'Connell said.
"I have been awestruck by is the resilience and tenacity of the cast, crew and orchestra who did not let an uncertain future distract them from their preparations and produced a show that was magical and wondrous," Mr O'Connell said.
He said apart from the satisfaction and reward of being able to bring their efforts to fruition the unique situation of the truncated season had been an important learning experience for the students giving them an insight into the challenges faced by those working in creative industries at this time.
"What has helped our students keep perspective is by us thinking of the professional artists in all disciplines, for whom this situation brings unimaginable financial hardship and uncertainty," Mr O'Connell said.
"Performance venues, theatres, arts companies and artists have all had events and performances cancelled, and with the great majority in the arts industry employed casually or on contract many are wondering how they will pay the bills in the coming months.
"For our HSC students involved in the cast and crew, being able to do this school activity once was essential to fulfil requirements for their academic program, another reason why the show is unable to be postponed," he said.
Mr O'Connell said those who had purchased tickets for the show will be offered of a full refund.