After truncated seasons in 2020 and 2021, Newcastle’s Young People’s Theatre is gearing up for a massive 2022 season, with productions covering everything from iconic love stories to the most famous creature to ever live in a pineapple under the sea.
The Hamilton-based theatrical training and performance hub, dropped its 2022 season program over the weekend and co-artistic director Leilani Rose told Newcastle Live next year is set you be YPTs biggest yet.
“In 2021 we planned shorter run times, smaller casts and there wasn’t as many opportunities for our hundreds of kids involved in YPT,” she said.
“We’re hoping 2022 for us is going to be bigger than Ben Hur. We want it to be massive. We want to give as many kids opportunities as possible.”
And they’re starting strong right of the gate in February with a production of the William Shakespeare classic Romeo and Juliet.
“Once get a directing team involved, we’re really hoping someone comes to us with the most amazing concept ever because Shakespeare has the potential to be a bit dull,” Leilani said.
“We know how important it is for our older students to have an understanding of the classics. but Shakespeare also gives you an opportunity to be really creative conceptually. The script is in the public domain so you can make it a little bit shorter and you have a lot of freedom with it. As long as the concept develops or improves the script, you can do almost anything.
Next cab off the rank is set to be a must for anyone who is a fan of animated sea sponges (and let’s face it, who isn’t) – The Spongebob Musical, which will run in all its big, bright, and colourful glory, throughout April and May.
And Leilani said this production is somewhat of a coup for Newcastle theatre.
“[The original production] got shut down while it was on Broadway and it hasn’t gone much further,” she said.
“They started touring just as COVID hit in the US but what they’ve done is released it to community organisations like us and we’re really excited be the first in Newcastle to put it on.”
Stuart Little will get the Young People’s Theatre treatment in July, while August will see a purr-worthy production of Disney’s The Aristocats Kids hit the stage.
Tuck Everlasting, a musical based on Natalie Babbitt’s 1975 novel and subsequent 2002 film will run throughout September and October while the season will be rounded out by a musical production devised by students in YPT’s Think Beyond program in November.