10 years nur­tur­ing tal­ent

Central Leader - - NEWS - By ALASTAIR LYNN

Many young peo­ple of­ten strug­gle to come out of their shell.

Mak­ing a speech, singing in front of a crowd or step­ping up on stage can be a daunt­ing prospect but there is one pro­gramme try­ing to make a dif­fer­ence.

The Na­tional Youth Theatre Com­pany has been help­ing kids find their own voice for the last 10 years.

The pro­gramme was es­tab­lished in 2005 to of­fer young peo­ple an op­por­tu­nity to par­tic­i­pate in per­form­ing arts train­ing.

‘‘It’s crazy, it doesn’t feel like it’s been 10 years,’’ gen­eral man­ager James Doy says.

‘‘I was in­volved at the start of it all . . . we de­cided the time was right for a big com­pany that did this sort of thing.’’

Up to 220 stu­dents stand centrestage in two full-scale mu­si­cal per­for­mances at the Aotea Cen­tre each year. Or­gan­is­ing this many peo­ple could be seen as a ma­jor headache but Doy says it’s worth the ef­fort.

‘‘It has a real fam­ily feel for the kids,’’ he says. ‘‘They all come to­gether with this love for what they do.’’

For its 10th year the theatre com­pany de­cided to go big, tak­ing on Seussi­cal and Dis­ney’s Beauty and the Beast.

With their ren­di­tion of Seussi­cal set for July 3 to 4, the theatre com­pany is in full re­hearsal mode.

Scar­lett Jac­ques and Beanie Bartlett of Re­muera, along with Lucy Tay­lor of Mt Eden will be per­form­ing the role of Cat in the Hat for the up­com­ing mu­si­cal.

Each role in the mu­si­cals can be cast to sev­eral mem­bers so that ev­ery per­former has a chance on stage.

Doy says the idea is to bring kids out of their shell.

‘‘It’s great that some kids come in and get in­volved straight away,’’ he says.

‘‘But it’s the ones that come in, start at the back and slowly work their way for­ward. They re­ally grow. That means the most.’’

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