ASPIRE, the creative and performing arts audition-based program of the Catholic Schools Office in the Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle, will present Treasured as its 2013 showcase at the Civic Theatre this Thursday, Friday and Saturday.
ASPIRE was launched in 2012 and provides an outlet for the creative talents of students in Catholic schools in the areas of dance, drama, voice, stage band and strings.
More than 120 students are involved across five ensembles in workshopping dance routines, songs and musical works in the ASPIRE program as well as developing scripts and improvisation for a fully self-devised show.
Treasured is a story about family that focuses on three decades of the twentieth century - the 20s, 40s and 60s. In each decade a different member of the same family is introduced.
Artistic Director of ASPIRE, Anna Kerrigan, is encouraging the whole community to see Treasured which was inspired after conversations she had with her mother and mother-in-law about their memories of major world events.
"Here were two women who grew up on opposite sides of the world and they nominated the same events as having had an impact on them," Ms Kerrigan said.
"It got me thinking about history and major events that made the world stop and take notice. I wanted the play to address history, but also have a throughline that showed the influence our family has upon us, the way it gives us strength and hope," Ms Kerrigan said.
Audiences will enjoy music ranging from classical to pop, jazz, to musical theatre and even an original song based on the Kokoda Track. The script has been developed using some established text as well as group devised pieces from the drama ensembles.
"The forties segment of the show, centring around WWII, is almost entirely verbatim, compiled from letters and accounts from soldiers and their families which I think makes this section particularly emotive and poignant," Ms Kerrigan said.
Ms Kerrigan believes the highlight of putting Treasured together is the young cast.
"They are wonderfully unpretentious, energetic and enthusiastic. It is a joy to watch their performance skills develop throughout the rehearsal process. This is what makes ASPIRE such a fantastic program. Each of the performers has ability in their chosen discipline and ASPIRE not only nurtures that ability, it also gives them new skills in performance and develops an awareness of stagecraft that many programs don't offer."
"It's a huge team, especially when you include the wonderful parents who help out with costumes, hair and make-up and ensuring that cast members are at rehearsals," she said.
A song competition was a new initiative for the ASPIRE program this year and Jade Williams from St Joseph's Primary School, Merewether, won the coveted prize. Her original piece, "Who you want to be" will be performed as part of a trailer before all performances of Treasured.
What: ASPIRE presents Treasured
Where: Civic Theatre, Hunter Street, Newcastle
When: Thursday 25 July, 11.00am; Friday 26 July, 11.00am & 7.00pm; Saturday 27 July, 7.00pm
Tickets are available online, in person at any Ticketek outlet or by calling (02) 49291 977.
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