Through the years, Vanderhoof Children’s Theatre has given children the opportunity to get out their shells while putting out spectacular shows.
“There are quite a few children here who in real life if you ran into them on the street or here in school, they are very very shy and quiet. And they are the ones most surprising on stage because they are out there and are centre of attention on stage and they are big and they are bold,” said Kelly Millard, a parent and volunteer at the Vanderhoof Children’s Theatre.
The theatre group is performing Beauty and the Beast Jr, their 41st production and are celebrating 20 years of performances. They are doing 20 performances in total, some at the Nechako Valley Secondary School’s Integris Community Theatre. The show is running until Saturday, Feb. 9.
Following their performances in Vanderhoof, the group will be going to Prince George to perform for kids at the Prince George Playhouse.
Richard Wruth, director of the theatre group said the cast has been subject to taxing rehearsal schedules since September, 2018. Children spent a minimum of 12 hours per week where they undertook stage and musical direction.
“We are putting on Beauty and the Beast Jr which we did 10 years ago for our 10th anniversary and now we are re-doing it for our 20 year anniversary. We have basically revamped it. So I sold the costumes 9 years ago and said one day I am buying them back when we do it again. So I was finally able to track them down last summer and we went down to Vancouver and bought them.”
“Got them home and once we started rehearsals in October we realized very quickly that the costumes were quite old and not fitting. So the next thing you know we are building new costumes,” said Wruth.
He said the Vanderhoof Children’s Theatre has been fortunate to have a dedicated team made up of parents and grand-parents who help with making costumes, sets, sewing and everything else that is required by the group.
A total of 70 kids between grade 2 through 12 are performing this year. Usually they have 50, but they are only doing one show this year between Fall 2018 and Fall 2019.
“Usually we do two, but I am getting too old. Ha ha. So I needed a break. We are only doing the one show. And it’s a good cast,” said Wruth.
There are two casts so the roles alternate per night, but there are 70 kids on stage every night, he said.
Meanwhile, Keyta-Lee O’Meara, a grade 11 student playing Cogsworth said theatre has helped her become more confident. She has been performing since Grade 4 and has done a total of 16 plays.
“Theatre brings me to a different world you know, and it makes me someone I haven’t been before and gives me an opportunity to be something I would like to be but may not have the opportunity to be – so it definitely puts me out there. I was very shy and quiet and theatre has definitely put me out of my comfort zone – it helped a lot,” she said.
Ryan Legere, father of Jonah Legere who plays Gaston said as his kids are home schooled, it’s nice for them to come out and be social with other kids. They travelled three to four times a week from Fraser Lake and “it brings them out of their shells if they had one. Ha ha. There is lots of fun here.”
Tanya Reid, volunteer, program manager and treasurer said her daughter performed in plays years ago but even after she graduated, Reid kept volunteering with the group.
“I have just kept going. I enjoy it for the kids. This is so important for so many of them and that’s what I like. It definitely helps kids build more confidence,” she said.