The builder and the ex­change stu­dent

Mansfield Courier - - NEWS -

WHILE this might sound like a ti­tle from an Art House movie, the Builder and the Ex­change Stu­dent were both heav­ily in­volved in MMuDS’ lat­est pro­duc­tion of Beauty and the Beast.

Tom Smits, the ex­change stu­dent who hails from Bargte­heide, near Ham­burg in Ger­many, ar­rived in Mans­field in Au­gust and will stay un­til June next year.

In year 10 at Mans­field High School, Tom is study­ing Maths, English, Hu­man­i­ties, Physics, Graphic Art and Drama.

When asked what he ex­pected to see and do when he ar­rived in Aus­tralia Tom replied “kan­ga­roos and surf­ing”.

Kan­ga­roos we can man­age, but even with all the re­cent rain surf­ing will be a bit of a stretch.

Tom is stay­ing with Paul and Maja Va­lente and their four chil­dren Luka 9, Briella 7, Jo­hanna 6 and Micah 4.

Paul said, “We wanted to give a young per­son the chance to ex­pe­ri­ence life in an Aus­tralian coun­try town and our chil­dren the ex­pe­ri­ence of an­other cul­ture,” Paul said.

Tom has fit­ted in well both at school and at home be­com­ing a sur­ro­gate big brother to Luke, Briella, Jo­hanna and Micah.

With Tom’s in­ter­est in drama and the per­form­ing arts, it was only nat­u­ral that he would be warmly wel­comed into the MMuDS fam­ily shortly af­ter his ar­rival.

Tom worked back stage on Beauty and the Beast and de­lighted ev­ery­one he met with his thought­ful­ness, in­quis­i­tive­ness and his keen sense of hu­mour.

While Beauty and the Beast was tak­ing up most of Tom’s time he also planned on tak­ing up Lit­tle Ath­let­ics (high jump) and would like to do some trav­el­ling in Aus­tralia if time per­mits.

Bob Sy­monds, the builder, plays the Beast in Beauty and the Beast.

Bob’s first and only other per­for­mance with MMuDS was as Ju­das in its 2008 pro­duc­tion of Je­sus Christ Su­per­star.

Bob has lived in Mans­field for about nine years and when he is not busy work­ing or learn­ing lines, Bob en­joys play­ing gui­tar and writ­ing songs.

With his grav­elly, “rock star” voice and a yell that still star­tles the cast (and prob­a­bly the tradies who work with him) Bob’s por­trayal of the young prince changed into beastly form by an en­chantress is ex­tra­or­di­nary, bring­ing deeper mean­ing and re­al­ism t o t he well- known Dis­ney char­ac­ter.

Bob has given his t i me and en­ergy not only on stage, but off stage as well with his build­ing skills and prac­ti­cal ap­proach to those tricky set and tech­ni­cal de­ci­sions, with the help of Tom.

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