Aladdin Jnr grants rising stars’ wishes

Eva Boldery and Maggie Talbot preparing for Aladdin Jnr. IMAGE: Supplied

The next generation of Townsville performers will get its first taste of a major musical production when Aladdin Jnr hits the stage this month.

Vocal coach and seasoned performer Alyssa Oliveri is directing a cast of 100 young performers in the show, which aims to open up future casting opportunities by giving children early stage experience.

Alyssa opened her own singing school, Libretto Vocal Studio, to to help children develop safe singing practices. Part of the program structure is to acknowledge children’s talent and natural ability and to build skills and confidence for future performance.

Amelia Betcher as Genie
Tilly Costello as The Sultan
Priya Anand as The Bread Merchant
Jacob Katthagen, Charlton Usher and Ethan Kelly as The Guards

Alyssa said an epiphany led her to take on the production of Aladdin Jnr.

“A student at school who is very talented had auditioned for a theatre production and was not accepted,” said Alyssa.

 “The student was advised she requires stage experience, however, children cannot gain stage experience if they do not have the opportunity to perform.

“The closed audition process and then not being accepted for the production is soul destroying for children. They often perceive the rejection as not being good enough and so give up.”

In planning for Aladdin Jnr, Alyssa was determined to make the production inclusive. There was no cap on performer numbers, no closed auditions and no prior stage performance required.

“150 children signed up and every child was accepted, however through natural attrition some have dropped out leaving a cast of 100,” said Alyssa.

“All children in the cast get significant stage time as the aim is inclusion and participation. “

 “…children cannot gain stage experience if they do not have the opportunity to perform.”

The production provides children with 12 weeks’ training to develop their skills in performance including acting, music, singing and dance. The learning experience also builds on children’s self-esteem and confidence and prepares them for future stage performance.

Isaiah de Hood and Cadence McManus in Aladdin Jnr

Aladdin Jnr will also help disadvantaged local children feel more included at school, by raising funds for Fuel for Schools. The Townsville based charity provides stationery, back packs and food for children whose families are struggling.

Alyssa plans to direct an annual children’s production and is prepared to take on 200 children next year.

Catch Aladdin Jnr at Calvary Christian Church on 6 & 13 August 2022.

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