Hundreds of children ready to shine in drama festival

A surge of interest in the performing arts has more than 250 young people performing at Hawera Repertory’s Barbara Leydon Junior Drama Festival this week.

The festival gives young school-age actors the opportunity to explore the theatrical world with on-stage lighting, costuming, make-up and a live audience.

Festival co-ordinator Clive Cullen says there are 27 plays to be performed over four nights, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday.

“This is probably the biggest year ever- I think the recent Hawera Repertory productions of Annie and The Lion and The Witch and the Wardrobe have helped these young people’s interest to grow,” he says.

“It’s fantastic because we’re watching the next generation of Hawera Repertory start out on stage.”

Both Hawera Repertory and South Taranaki schools have plays entered in the festival.

In addition to that, Cullen says there are a number of youth directors this year.

“We’re really trying to help all ages grow their interest so we’ve been running a mentoring programme which is allowing our talented teens to really grow their skills.”

The festival also provides an opportunity for youth to explore interests in sound, lighting and backstage roles. This year, school children are helping in each field.

Cullen says they’re hoping to see the community out supporting the youth each night.

“We’ve made it really affordable because we aim to give the community some entertainment and the youths a chance to shine. Entry is just $5 per adult and $2 per child.”

Performances will be on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday evenings starting at 7pm.

PHOTO: Young actors in the play “Three Bears of Sorts” at their dress rehearsal. This play was directed by youth directors Josh Bird and Kaylee Mihaljevich.

Words by Petra Finer