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Music Theatre International Australasia Expands Junior Theater Celebrations In Australia And New Zealand


Music Theatre International Australasia Expands Junior Theater Celebrations In Australia And New Zealand Music Theatre International Australasia, in partnership with AMICI Trust in New Zealand and producers Shane Bransdon and Daniel Stoddart, founders of OzTheatrics in Australia, and in collaboration with iTheatrics from the United States, will present the third annual Junior Theatre Celebration Australia in Newcastle, Australia on Friday 26th & Saturday 27th October and the second Junior Theatre Celebration New Zealand in Auckland, New Zealand on Friday 2nd & Saturday 3rd November 2018.

Junior Theatre Celebrations allow 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 much as they do.

The Junior Theatre Celebrations are based on the Junior Theater Festivals, produced by iTheatrics which take place on both U.S. coasts each year. 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. Additional one-day Junior Theatre Celebrations take place annually across the U.S., and Music Theatre International Europe will host the Junior Theatre Festival Europe in May, 2019. In 2017, nearly 15,000 people worldwide attended a Junior Theater Festival or Junior Theater Celebration.

Participating in this year's Junior Theatre Celebrations are Timothy Allen McDonald, an award-winning playwright and Founder of iTheatrics in New York City; Marty Johnson, iTheatrics' Director of Education; John Prignano, Chief Operating Officer & Director of Education and Development of Music Theatre International; Stuart Hendricks, Managing Director of MTI Australasia; Lucy Durack (Glinda in Wicked Australia and Elle Woods in Legally Blonde Australia), musical director John Foreman (Australian Idol and Good Morning Australia with Bert Newton), as well as Erin James (Resident Choreographer for the 60th Anniversary production of My Fair Lady directed by Dame Julie Andrews, Cats New Zealand/Australia/South Korea/Asian Tours; David Rogers-Smith (Piangi in The Phantom of the Opera, Australasian tour, Les Miserables Asian African tour), and many more.

The Junior Theatre Celebration programmes will centre on performers, ranging in age from 7 to 18, presenting an extract from an MTI Broadway Junior musical in front of fellow guests and a specially-selected panel of adjudicators. The young people will receive feedback on their music, acting, dance, overall performance and constructive criticism to encourage further learning in key areas. Some performers will be selected for honours. 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.

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

At Junior Theatre Celebration Australia, outstanding musical theatre companies will offer special guest performances on the mainstage including presentations from Disney's Aladdin JR. (Hunter Drama, NSW), Children of Eden JR. (Adelaide Youth Theatre), and Chitty Chitty Bang Bang JR. (Roar Academy, Queensland). The evening presentation will be made complete with a special performance by Foreman and Durack.

In true celebratory style, one well-deserving teacher will be awarded the Broadway Junior Ambassadorship - an all-expense paid trip to Broadway and the flagship Junior Theater Festival in Atlanta, GA. Designed to reward their efforts and passion for promoting musical theatre in Australia, this opportunity includes meeting Broadway writers, composers and directors at Music Theatre International and iTheatrics, participating in workshops and attending Broadway shows.

Joining international guests to work with the young performers at the Junior Theatre Celebration New Zealand will be Jackie Clarke ("New Zealand Idol"); Hamish Mouat (company manager/choreographer of the National Youth Theatre Company, resident choreographer and a guest director and artist for the Metropolitan Education Network in Southern California); Destiny Anderson (Mamma Mia NZ tour choreographer); Teesh Szabo, (Little Shop of Horrors, Wallace Development Company); Zac Johns (Dogfight, NZ premiere), and Shane Bransdon (OzTheatrics).

Pilot Workshop Opportunities
In Newcastle from Monday, 22nd October to Friday, 26th October 2018, the week preceding the Junior Theatre Celebration Australia, 50 students will participate in a pilot workshop of Sister Act JR. directed by Marty Johnson and Timothy Allen McDonald of iTheatrics. Based on the hit 1992 film, "Sister Act," and the subsequent Broadway Hit of the same name, Sister Act JR. is a 60-minute adaptation for student performers featuring original music by Alan Menken (Beauty and the Beast, Little Shop of Horrors.)

In Auckland from Monday, 29th October to Friday, 2nd November 2018, a cast of over 40 young New Zealanders will take part in a week-long workshop of Disney's Newsies JR., an adaptation of the 2012 Tony-winning Disney Theatrical Productions Broadway production based on the 1992 musical film "Newsies," itself inspired by the New York City's newsboys strike of 1899. The musical features lyrics by Jack Feldman and music by Alan Menken (Aladdin, The Little Mermaid and Beauty and the Beast). The program will again be directed by Marty Johnson and Timothy Allen McDonald of iTheatrics.

About Music Theatre International:

Music Theatre International (MTI) is one of the world's leading theatrical licensing agencies, granting theatres from around the world the rights to perform the greatest selection of musicals from Broadway and beyond. Founded in 1952 by composer Frank Loesser, and orchestrator Don Walker, MTI is a driving force in advancing musical theatre as a vibrant and engaging art form.

MTI works directly with the composers, lyricists and book writers of these musicals to provide official scripts, musical materials and dynamic theatrical resources to over 70,000 professional, community and school theatres in the U.S. and in over 60 countries worldwide.

MTI is particularly dedicated to educational theatre and has created special collections to meet the needs of various types of performers and audiences. MTI's Broadway Junior shows are 30- and 60-minute musicals for performance by elementary and middle school-aged performers, while MTI's School Editions are musicals annotated for performance by high school students. MTI maintains its global headquarters in New York City with additional offices in London (MTI Europe) and Melbourne (MTI Australasia).

About Music Theatre International, Australasia:

Music Theatre International, Australasia (MTIA) is the Australia and New Zealand office of Music Theatre International (MTI), one of the world's leading theatrical licensing agencies, granting amateur and professional theatres from around the world the rights to perform the greatest selection of musicals from Broadway and beyond.

The MTIA catalogue contains legendary shows from GUYS AND DOLLS, WEST SIDE STORY and FIDDLER ON THE ROOF, to modern classics like HAIRSPRAY, LITTLE SHOP OF HORRORS and MAMMA MIA! as well as the stage productions of Disney Theatrical and Cameron Mackintosh (including THE LION KING, MARY POPPINS, MISS SAIGON and LES MISERABLES).

MTIA are strong supporters of programs and initiatives that bring arts programming into under-served schools and that make musical theatre accessible to all students, regardless of their ability.

About MTI's Broadway JuniorÔ Musicals:

Conceived in 1996 by MTI Co-Chairman Freddie Gershon, Broadway Junior musicals are condensed, author-approved versions of classic musicals, Disney favourites, and modern works, custom-tailored to the needs of young people and schools. Developed by renowned educators and designed to suit school assemblies as well as the energies and attention spans of younger performers, Broadway Junior musicals are perfect for teachers or directors who are new to musical theatre and seeking to introduce students to the joys of participating in a show.

The collection started in 1996 with the first title, ANNIE JR and has now developed to involve numerous exciting titles including GUYS AND DOLLS JR., LEGALLY BLONDE JR., DISNEY'S THE LION KING (both KIDS and JR. editions), DISNEY'S THE LITTLE MERMAID JR., SEUSSICAL (KIDS and JR.), SHREK JR, INTO THE WOODS JR., with new titles constantly in development.

Broadway Junior shows are developed by iTheatrics educators and made available for licensing in Australia and New Zealand by MTI Australasia and Hal Leonard Australia.
Since 1997 there has been over 100,000 Broadway Junior Productions around the world.
Since 2002 (when the collection was released in Australasia) there have been over 2,500 productions around Australia and New Zealand.
Broadway Junior productions have been staged all over the world that includes the USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, South America, Asia and the UK.

About The Amici Trust:

About The Amici Trust was formed in 2011 to encourage participation in all aspects of performing arts. With its current focus on musical theatre, it is actively supporting performance opportunities within the greater Auckland area. Their vision "to foster excellence in the performing arts for the enjoyment of all New Zealanders and to provide a platform for development in all areas of the arts" makes them a perfect fit to produce the Junior Theatre Celebration in New Zealand. Emma Bishop, the National Coordinator of Amici Trust's Junior Theatre NZ said, "This is a truly amazing opportunity for New Zealand's young performers to be recognised as having the ability to create world-class Music Theatre. We are so excited and grateful that Disney and Music Theatre International has allowed us permission to workshop their shows".

About iTheatrics:

Founded in 2006 by educator and author Timothy Allen McDonald, and headquartered in New York City, iTheatrics is the world's leading authority on musical theatre for young people. Every day iTheatrics works to make theatre more accessible for students everywhere and, in turn, leads a dynamic and talented group of artists and educators who are changing the world through the transformative power of musical theatre. iTheatrics develops collections of musicals for leading musical theatre licensing agencies. Working with esteemed partners in the United States such as the President's Committee on Arts and the Humanities, New York City's Department of Education, the Kennedy Center, McGraw-Hill Education and NBC Universal, iTheatrics develops and implements dynamic programs to build cost-effective and sustainable musical theatre programs in underserved schools. iTheatrics produces the now bi-coastal Junior Theater Festivals, the world's largest festivals exclusively dedicated to celebrating young people and student-driven musical theatre.

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