Aspiring young actors will shine on stage this week as they perform an adaptation of Gilbert and Sullivan’s The Mikado.
Almost 80 children from across the region have been rehearsing for the past four months.
Director Richard Ziegeler said the Primary Performers were a dedicated bunch. “They love it,” he said. “They break their necks to get to rehearsal. The parents can’t believe how enthusiastic they are about it. They just love it.”
The story of love and trickery is set in a small Japanese town where an intricate web of deceits and deception between three key characters develops.
“It’s a great show,” Mr Ziegeler said. “It’s the children’s version of The Mikado.
“We first did the children’s version of The Mikado in 2006 and that was the world premiere of the kids’ version. It was never done before anywhere else in the world.
“We’ve chosen it because our costumer Amanda Flanagan is retiring she’s leaving, 12 years later. That was her first show and this will be her last.”
Mr Ziegeler said the young actors, in years one to six, learnt performance skills as well as socialisation, concentration, discipline, co-operation and team work.
He thanked the Warnambool City Council for providing the theatre free of charge for rehearsals and performances which enabled the 76 students to experience being on a professional stage.
“It’s a reward in itself that the kids get so much out of it,” Mr Ziegeler said.
“The kids that come into Primary Performers come out with so much more confidence and self assurance.
“So many of them go onto bigger pursuits with improvements in their academic performance and with their social performance at school.
“The best part about this is it involves the whole family, not just the kids. We ask the parents and carers to be involved and they come along and start to make friends and develop their social circles in theatre.
“The Lighthouse benefits because some folks are introduced to theatre who may never have done it before.”
Warrnambool City Council acting service manager Amanda Kinneally said everyone involved in the production, including directors Kerry and Richard Ziegeler, were volunteers and the council was a proud supporter.
“For us it’s about investing in the youth so that they come up and they’re introduced to the theatre, through this program,” she said.
This week’s shows include schools performances on Thursday and Friday at 12.30pm (with seats also available to the public) and public performances on Friday at 6.30pm and Saturday at 2pm.
Tickets are available online from lighthousetheatre.com.au, from the box office or at the door.