AUSTRALIA’S first Junior Theatre Celebration Day will be held in Newcastle on October 20, with youth groups from Sydney and Brisbane having already submitted entries.
The celebration was inspired by the annual American Junior Theatre Festival that is staged in Atlanta with the backing of iTheatrics, a New York company that specialises in musical theatre for young people.
Newcastle youth acting school and theatre company Hunter Drama became the first Australian group to perform at the festival, when it was invited on the basis of film clips to stage a 10-minute adaptation of the musical The Little Mermaid Junior.
The festival experience led Hunter Drama’s artistic director, Daniel Stoddart, and the company’s board members and staff to develop a similar event for Australia.
The October 20 celebration will begin at 9am with rehearsals in Newcastle City Hall performances drawn from Music Theatre International’s Broadway Junior collection of titles, with adjudicators drawn from theatre professionals.
The one-day festival will conclude with public performances in the Civic Theatre at 8pm, with awards presented in several categories. The evening show will include appearances by well-known guest celebrities.
The chairman of iTheatrics, Timothy Allen McDonald, will come to Australia for the event, with officials of the festival’s major sponsor, Melbourne-based Hal Leonard Australia, which represents Music Theatre International, also attending.
Hamilton-based Hunter Drama has established a subsidiary unit, OzTheatrics, to organise and manage the festival, which is the first extension of the American festival beyond the US. It expects attendances by between eight and 16 youth performing arts groups from throughout Australia.
Daniel Stoddart said the Hunter region was known for producing world-class talent in all areas of the arts so staging the event in the Hunter was a natural progression.
For information packs and registration forms email email@example.com, or contact Daniel Stoddart (0416 077 903) or Shane Bransdon (0410 444 056). Registration for group and teacher participation closes on August 19.