On stage for a spell

Western Suburbs Weekly - - Stage - Sara Fitz­patrick

WHEN au­di­tion day ar­rived for Mid­nite’s lat­est theatre pro­duc­tion, artis­tic di­rec­tor Gre­gory Jones had spe­cific cri­te­ria in mind.

He needed six adult cast mem­bers who could keep the won­der of youth alive.

With a sense of aban­don­ment and in­no­cence at the fore, they would throw off the shack­les of adult­hood and trans­form into 12year-old out­siders in the Tony Award-win­ning mu­si­cal com­edy, The 25th An­nual Put­nam County Spell­ing Bee.

“It’s about be­ing fear­less,” Jones said.

“As adults we tend to want to al­ways get things right.

“We needed peo­ple who could con­nect with that en­ergy of hav­ing the world at their feet.”

The Mid­nite Youth Theatre Com­pany, housed at Christ Church Gram­mar School and open to any­one aged 10-25, cel­e­brates its 30th an­niver­sary this year.

Jones, who per­formed with the group in 1994 aged 18, has ex­pe­ri­enced plenty of highs in his four years at the helm.

“Mid­night has al­ways been very well known through­out Perth and I’ve been di­rec­tor of drama at Guild­ford Gram­mar School and Cam­ber­well Gram­mar School in Melbourne, and when this job

came up it felt like the right fit for me,” he said.

“We’ve been sell­ing out a lot of shows, which is one of our biggest achieve­ments so far, and we’ve got a re­ally great fan base now.

“Also, we’ve done pro­duc­tions at the State Theatre Cen­tre of WA, so we’ve had the op­por­tu­nity to take young peo­ple over there and this year will be a big mile­stone when we do Joseph and the Amaz­ing Tech­ni­color Dream­coat at Heath Ledger Theatre in Au­gust.”

The up­com­ing mu­si­cal in­cor­po­rates au­di­ence in­ter­ac­tion, re­sult­ing in a dif­fer­ent show ev­ery night.

“We sign up four vol­un­teers be­fore­hand and they com­pete as a speller on stage against the six 12-year-olds,” Jones said.

“The show is in­cred­i­bly funny and teaches us that win­ning isn’t ev­ery­thing and los­ing doesn’t nec­es­sar­ily make you a loser.”

Pic­ture: An­drew Ritchie www.com­mu­ni­typix.com.au d466233

Kieran Lynch, Clare Mar­tis, James Pin­neri, Phil Lynch and artis­tic di­rec­tor Gre­gory Jones from Put­nam County Spell­ing Bee.

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