Every Child Has a Star Inside

Talented young Novocastrian acting students are treading the boards of America’s theatrical stages showcasing their talent so much so that Broadway production companies are looking at Newcastle as a future breeding ground for talented youth actors.

The Newcastle-based 340-student strong Hunter Drama company operated by Artistic Director Daniel Stoddart has grown in size in ten years and is attracting great interest far afield for its progressive work in junior theatre.

Executives from iTheatrics (New York based company producing new musicals) were so impressed in 2015 by the performance of the touring group of Hunter Drama students who competed at the United States Junior Theatre Festival.  “We were one of 108 junior theatre companies at the festival held in Atlanta, USA, and the first Australian company to be invited to the annual festival which began in 2003,” explained Daniel. “It was an amazing vibe at the event staged before more than 5000 people in an auditorium.

Each group had to present before the judges a 15-minute adaptation of one Disney Jnr show in rehearsal mode. Hunter Drama chose The Little Mermaid Jr. Their performance of The Little Mermaid Jr resulted in Hunter Drama being named as one of eight companies awarded a “Most Outstanding Production” trophy.

The 29 actors, aged eight to 18, had to perform in casual wear rather than bright costumes, and were not allowed to use props. They also had to bring out the story of a 70-minute show in no more than 15 minutes. This was in stark contrast to the acclaimed colourful production of The Little Mermaid Jr staged at Newcastle’s Civic Theatre in 2014…

Story Marilyn Collins. Photo: Shrek and Donkey (Tom Rodgers and Charlie O’Connell).