One Night Only is set to be a youth theatre spectacular, rocking the Wyndham Cultural Centre on Thursday 1st of October.
A new initiative by Krystal Holzer, Dylan Mazurek and Thomas Bradford, the show will be an opportunity for young people in theatre to explore their theatrical passions and have their talents celebrated.
“We felt compelled to offer theatre kids a platform to express themselves and perform roles that they would ordinarily be looked over, or not be considered for due to their age, their gender, or the themes of the show,” says Holzer, co-director of One Night Only.
“We see a lot of shows around Melbourne and noticed that junior performers in the Western Suburbs need to travel outside of their hometowns to perform in amateur theatre. I recently went and saw Twisted Broadway and thought it would be a great idea for junior performers to have a similar opportunity to perform a collection of differing songs from different shows,” says Mazurek.
All of the performers are currently at school and aged between 14 and 18, and were hand picked for the show from across Melbourne and Geelong. Many of them are preparing for VCE exams and VCA or WAAPA auditions and have been Guild commended, nominated and award winning performers.
From the beginning, these young performers have each presented a clear vision for how they see the show, and were asked what songs they would like to perform. The collaborative process has helped push these performers, and has made clear links between the show and their own lives.
The process of putting the show together was quite an undertaking, with a focus on trying to find a balanced set that theatregoers, music lovers and the general public would enjoy.
“The biggest difference [in putting on a variety show compared to a musical] is definitely context,” says Bradford, the choreographer and musical director for One Night Only.
“Without showing the events surrounding each number, as would happen in a traditional show, the individual songs aren’t bound by the characters, settings and themes of their respective show’s origins – some numbers have been re-contextualized with altered themes, settings and even gender.”
The creative team of One Night Only hope the production will address a lack of roles for young musical theatre hopefuls in Melbourne amateur performances.
“Too often younger performers aren’t shown the level of creative respect or given the same collaborative opportunities that adults are, which we hope to change by giving them the platform to prove themselves,” says Bradford.
“I think it’s time that the theatergoing public starts to recognise youth theatre as having merit. I hear time and time again the adage ‘it’s only a kids show’ or ‘don’t expect much’. Their work deserves to be celebrated. I’d love to see a change in attitude toward youth theatre, with the stigma debunked,” says Holzer.
Some of the shows sampled by One Night Only deal with “adult” or “mature” themes and relationships. As a cast of young adults, they have developed opinions of the world and society around them, and this show gives these mature and talented individuals an outlet to vent and express themselves, as well as share their opinions and perceptions of the world and society as they see it.
One Night Only rehearsals have offered performers the opportunity to work their way through different genres and themes instead of a linear, character driven show.
“My experience has been nothing but fun and with professionalism. I am lucky enough to get to work with and rehearse with so many of my close friends in this show, and it has presented us the opportunity to work together collectively on something we are so proud of,” says Sheridan Adams, a 2014 Guild Winner for Junior Female Performer in a leading role for her work in Thoroughly Modern Millie. “This is a performance with a collection of individual songs many know and love. Some have gone for a Twisted Broadway approach, singing songs written for the opposite gender, while others have chosen songs from shows that are not particularly popular with local amateur theatre companies,” says Adams.
For Adams, trying out new styles and vocal ranges has been a highlight of her involvement with the show.
“I am performing an acoustic number – something I never thought I would be able to perform in a theatrical setting.”
You can catch One Night Only: A Youth Theatre Initiative on Thursday 1st October, at the Wyndham Cultural Centre in Werribee at 8pm. Tickets can be purchased at this link.