Students from Riverside Christian College of Maryborough West won a group award for Excellence in Dancing at the 2022 Junior Theatre Festival Australia, presented in Newcastle on October 29.
On Saturday 29 October, 21 finalist groups from throughout Australia as well as a group from New Zealand competed in-person, for the prestigious awards judged by a panel of international visiting artists from Broadway and West End.
Junior Theatre Festival allows 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 they do.
The event is part of the global Junior Theatre Festivals circuit, conceived by iTheatrics in New York, which takes place in the USA, UK, Australia and New Zealand. 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. In 2021, nearly 20,000 people worldwide attended a Junior Theatre Festival.
23 Riverside students, ages 8 to 18, presented selections from Seussical the Musical JR in front of leading musical theatre personalities from the USA.
“Each of the student participants had the unique opportunity to receive tips from some of the world’s best producers, directors and writers who joined us from New York” said Junior Theatre Festival (JTF) co-producer Shane Bransdon.
“As a major treat, the students participated in a vocal workshop presented by viral TikToker and Broadway composer, Daniel J Mertzlufft.
The Junior Theatre Festival Australia 2022 would not be possible without generous funding grants from Music Theatre International (MTI) and the City of Newcastle, who provided grants. Stuart Hendricks from MTI commended the JTF Australia team on their monumental pivoting efforts to deliver the event.
“Around the world, Junior Theatre Festivals offer young people the opportunity to bond with their peers in an immersive celebration of the art form they love,” said Mr Hendricks. “MTI is committed to promoting the value of theatre in education and giving performers additional opportunities to demonstrate their talents and to support and learn from each other.”
Participating in this year’s Junior Theatre Festival were Daniel J Mertzlufft, Broadway composer and tiktok influencer; Kate Leonard, Broadway lyricist; Stuart Hendricks, Managing Director of MTI Australasia; Marty Johnson, Program Director at XIX Entertainment; Nina Meehan, Founder of Bay Area Children’s Theatre (San Francisco); Ryan Macauley, West End Musical Director; Emma Bishop, President of Music Theatre New Zealand, and many more.
Riverside staff and students rubbed shoulders with some exceptional names in the industry at what was a monumental weekend of theatrical fellowship.
Pictured L-R: Quentin Sanford, Lacey McLune (Riverside student), Robyn Larner (Riverside Drama Teacher), Nina Meehan (Founder of Bay Area Children’s Theatre, San Francisco)