MUSIC THEATRE INTERNATIONAL AUSTRALASIA CONTINUES EXPANSION OF JUNIOR THEATRE CELEBRATIONS IN AUSTRALIA AND NEW ZEALAND
Music Theatre International Australasia, in partnership with AMICI Trust in New Zealand and producers Shane Bransdon and Daniel Stoddart, founders of OzTheatrics in Australia, and in collaboration with iTheatrics from the United States, will present the third annual Junior Theatre Celebration Australia in Newcastle, Australia on Friday 26th & Saturday 27th October and the second Junior Theatre Celebration New Zealand in Auckland, New Zealand on Friday 2nd & Saturday 3rd November 2018.
Junior Theatre Celebrations allow students and teachers representing a diverse number of theatre programs to come together to share their talents, cheer each other on, and be part of an international community of people who care as much about the art form as much as they do.
The Junior Theatre Celebrations are based on the Junior Theater Festivals, produced by iTheatrics which take place on both U.S. coasts each year. A “rousing celebration of theatre” (The New York Times), the Junior Theatre Festivals are the world’s largest events exclusively dedicated to celebrating young people and student-driven musical theatre. Additional one-day Junior Theatre Celebrations take place annually across the U.S., and Music Theatre International Europe will host the Junior Theatre Festival Europe in May, 2019. In 2017, nearly 15,000 people worldwide attended a Junior Theater Festival or Junior Theater Celebration.
Participating in this year’s Junior Theatre Celebrations are Timothy Allen McDonald, an award-winning playwright and Founder of iTheatrics in New York City; Marty Johnson, iTheatrics’ Director of Education; John Prignano, Chief Operating Officer & Director of Education and Development of Music Theatre International; Stuart Hendricks, Managing Director of MTI Australasia; Lucy Durack (Glinda in Wicked Australia and Elle Woods in Legally Blonde Australia), musical director John Foreman (Australian Idol and Good Morning Australia with Bert Newton), as well as Erin James (Resident Choreographer for the 60th Anniversary production of My Fair Lady directed by Dame Julie Andrews, Cats New Zealand/Australia/South Korea/Asian Tours; David Rogers-Smith (Piangi in The Phantom of the Opera, Australasian tour, Les Miserables Asian African tour), and many more.
The Junior Theatre Celebration programmes will centre on performers, ranging in age from 7 to 18, presenting an extract from an MTI Broadway Junior™ musical in front of fellow guests and a specially-selected panel of adjudicators. The young people will receive feedback on their music, acting, dance, overall performance and constructive criticism to encourage further learning in key areas. Some performers will be selected for honours. Performers and educators will also enjoy a Q&A with special guests; interactive workshops presented by leading theatre and teaching artists, and an evening concert.
Both the Junior Theatre Celebrations will feature culminating performances from week-long pilot workshops of two brand new musicals from the MTI catalogue: Sister Act JR. (Australia) and Disney’s Newsies JR. (New Zealand).
At Junior Theatre Celebration Australia, outstanding musical theatre companies will offer special guest performances on the mainstage including presentations from Disney’s Aladdin JR. (Hunter Drama, NSW), Children of Eden JR. (Adelaide Youth Theatre), and Chitty Chitty Bang Bang JR. (Roar Academy, Queensland). The evening presentation will be made complete with a special performance by Foreman and Durack.
In New Zealand, new works in the MTI Broadway Junior catalogue will be showcased by special guest performances including Children of Eden JR. (Northern School of Performing Arts, Auckland), Disney’s Aladdin JR. (Centrestage Youth Theatre, Auckland) and Chitty Chitty Bang Bang JR. (Tumeke Performing Arts, Morrinsville).
In true celebratory style, one well-deserving teacher will be awarded the Broadway Junior Ambassadorship – an all-expense paid trip to Broadway and the flagship Junior Theater Festival in Atlanta, GA. Designed to reward their efforts and passion for promoting musical theatre in Australia, this opportunity includes meeting Broadway writers, composers and directors at Music Theatre International and iTheatrics, participating in workshops and attending Broadway shows.
Joining international guests to work with the young performers at the Junior Theatre Celebration New Zealand will be Jackie Clarke (New Zealand Idol judge); Doug Kamo (DKCM producer and director); Hamish Mouat (acting artistic director at Kristin School, resident choreographer, guest director and artist for Metropolitan Education Network in Southern California); Destiny Anderson (Mamma Mia choreographer for Auckland NZ); Teesh Szabo, (Mamma Mia choreographer for Palmerston North NZ, Wallace Development Company); Zac Johns (Dogfight, NZ premiere), and Shane Bransdon (OzTheatrics).
Pilot Workshop Opportunities
In Newcastle from Monday, 22nd October to Friday, 26th October 2018, the week preceding the Junior Theatre Celebration Australia, 50 students will participate in a pilot workshop of Sister Act JR. directed by Marty Johnson and Timothy Allen McDonald of iTheatrics. Based on the hit 1992 film, “Sister Act,” and the subsequent Broadway Hit of the same name, Sister Act JR. is a 60-minute adaptation for student performers featuring original music by Alan Menken (Beauty and the Beast, Little Shop of Horrors.)
In Auckland from Monday, 29th October to Friday, 2nd November 2018, a cast of over 40 young New Zealanders will take part in a week-long workshop of Disney’s Newsies JR., an adaptation of the 2012 Tony-winning Disney Theatrical Productions Broadway production based on the 1992 musical film “Newsies,” itself inspired by the New York City’s newsboys strike of 1899. The musical features lyrics by Jack Feldman and music by Alan Menken (Aladdin, The Little Mermaid and Beauty and the Beast). The program will again be directed by Marty Johnson and Timothy Allen McDonald of iTheatrics.
For more information, please contact:
Stuart Hendricks – Music Theatre International Australasia
Allison Van Etten – iTheatrics
Jason Cocovinis – Music Theatre International