MTI Presents Junior Theater Celebrations In Australia And New Zealand

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MTI Presents Junior Theater Celebrations In Australia And New Zealand

Music Theatre International (MTI) Australasia in collaboration with AMICI Trust (New Zealand), OzTheatrics (Australia), and iTheatrics (New York), are presenting Junior Theater CelebrationsTM in New Zealand and Australia for thousands of musical theatre obsessed students ages 7-18. JTC New Zealand is being held at The Victory Centre in Auckland on September 13-14. JTC Australia will be held at The Civic Theatre in Newcastle on September 20-21. This is New Zealand's third annual Junior Theatre Celebration and Australia's fourth annual event.

"Junior Theatre Celebrations offer young people the opportunity to bond with their peers in an immersive celebration of the art form they love," says Music Theatre International Australasia's Stuart Hendricks.

Exclusive to organizations performing MTI's Broadway JuniorÒ musicals, these Celebrations are based on the Junior Theater Festivals produced by New York City-based iTheatrics, which take place annually on both U.S. coasts and the United Kingdom. Each year over 12,000 students, teachers, parents, and theatre celebrities and professionals attend Junior Theater Celebrations and Festivals worldwide.

"Junior Theatre Celebrations are a beacon of hope, as theatre helps students, their parents and educators grow into better world citizens," explains co-producer Daniel Stoddart, co-founder of OzTheatrics in Australia.

"Theatre is the most collaborative art form," explains co- producer Shane Bransdon co-founder of OzTheatrics in Australia."By stepping into different character's shoes, students consider the world from another's point of view, by working towards a common goal young people learn to communicate, listen and compromise, and by being in a show individuals discover they can create something greater as a team then they could as a single person," he adds.

A "rousing celebration of theatre" (The New York Times), these events recognize and empower the international global movement of young people and educators creating student-driven musical theater worldwide.

Both Junior Theatre Celebrations will feature culminating performances from week-long pilot workshops of two brand-new musicals from the MTI catalogue: Disney's Moana JR. (New Zealand & Australia) and Disney's Finding Nemo KIDS (Australia).

Participating in this year's Junior Theatre Celebrations are Marty Johnson - Director of Education and Resident Director at iTheatrics in New York City, who has been hailed by Playbill as one of the top ten educators who are shaping Broadway, and Cindy Ripley - an internationally recognized educational expert who serves as a Senior Educational Consultant for iTheatrics and Music Theatre International, and has worked with organizations worldwide to bring musical theater to young people. In Australia, they will be joined by locals including Stuart Hendricks (Managing Director of MTI Australasia),

Joining the international guests to work with the young performers at the Junior Theatre Celebration Australia will be local performers and educators, Rob Mills (singer, presenter, actor, MC and media personality, Australian Idol, Wicked, and Legally Blonde, Dancing with the Stars), Erin James (Fiddler on the Roof, My Fair Lady and director of The Hayes Theatre's She Loves Me), Natalie Alexopoulos (Mary Poppins, Avenue Q, Company, Mamma Mia!), David Rogers-Smith (performer, teacher, and choral conductor touring internationally in The Phantom of the Opera and Les Misérables) and Debbie Linnert (International and residential teacher/ choreographer, So You Think You Can Dance Australia, Dance Academy and Dancing with the Stars).

Joining international guests to work with the young performers at the Junior Theatre Celebration New Zealand will be local educators, Hamish Mouat (Assistant Director, Les Miserables, annual guest performer/director for MET2 Los Angeles), Mark Bradley (freelance Musical Director and in-demand pianist, Wicked Australasian Tour, West Side Story, Mamma Mia Amici/AMT), Destiny Anderson (specialist dance and drama teacher, guest lecturer for Arts Education, choreographer of Mamma Mia at The Bruce Mason), and Teesh Szabo (award-winning choreographer, teacher, musical stager and performer in the U.K., U.S., and NZ).

At the Junior Theatre Celebration programs, each group of performers, ranging in age from 7 to 18, will present an extract from MTI's Broadway Junior library of titles for student performers. The young people will receive feedback on their performances and constructive criticism to encourage further learning in key areas. Performers and educators will also enjoy a Q&A with special guests, interactive workshops presented by leading theatre and teaching artists, and an evening concert.

In Auckland from September 9 - 13, a cast of over 50 young New Zealanders will take part in a week-long pilot workshop of Disney's Moana JR. directed by the international guests, Marty Johnson (Director) and Cindy Ripley (Music Director), and local production team including Hamish Mouat (Choreography) and Mark Bradley (Associate Musical Director).

In Newcastle from September 16 - 20, 100 students will participate in a pilot workshop of either Disney's Moana JR. or Disney's Finding Nemo KIDS rehearsing simultaneously; Disney's Moana JR. will be under the guidance of Marty Johnson (Director), Alison Hodge (Musical Director), and Lauren Harvey (Choreographer) whilst Disney's Finding Nemo KIDS will be led by Daniel Stoddart (Director), Cindy Ripley (Musical Director), and Lauren Harvey (Choreographer).

At Junior Theatre Celebration New Zealand, attendees will be treated to a special performance by the cast of Auckland Music Theatre's Les Miserables including Emily Robinson (Eponine) who is a JTNZ alumni.

In Australia, a special guest performance by Rob Mills will take place during the Closing Ceremony including a solo performance and duet of, "A Whole New World" from Disney's Aladdin with a specially-chosen Australian musical theatre student. The Newcastle Youth Orchestra will also perform an orchestral Sing-Along for five well-known Broadway Junior songs. One Australian teacher will be awarded the Broadway Junior Ambassadorship, an all-expense-paid trip to Broadway and the flagship Junior Theater Festival in Atlanta, Georgia.

Special visitors attending this year's New Zealand Celebration include Touch Compass, New Zealand's all-inclusive performance company who work with disabled and abled performers. Additionally, this year's NZ Celebration will include a professional development workshop on inclusiveness both onstage and for the audience. This is to be presented by Charlotte Nightingale. Danni Farrell (award-winning costumer, New Zealand Pop-Up Globe ONSTAGE) will present on costuming for junior theatre.

Australia is also thrilled to welcome Innovation Drama Academy from North Carolina, as the first international group to attend JTCO. Bringing 36 participants, including 17 students, they will perform excerpts from Roald Dahl's James and the Giant Peach JR.



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