Music Theatre International (Europe) is proud to announce the Inaugural Junior Theatre Celebration (JTC). Taking place on Sunday 12 March at Leicester Curve, the day-long programme will feature performances from schools and youth groups from across the UK and Ireland.
Performances will feature excerpts from specially-created Broadway Junior™ shows including: Guys & Dolls, Hairspray,Disney’s The Little Mermaid and Aladdin, and more. Participants will also enjoy:
- Workshops presented by teaching artists from the West End productions of Disney’s The Lion King, Matilda and Wicked
- An afternoon Q&A with special guest Joanne Clifton (Strictly Come Dancing, and Thoroughly Modern Millie)
- An evening concert of musical theatre standards performed by West End stars
Conceived in 1996 by Music Theatre International CEO Freddie Gershon, Broadway Junior™ musicals are condensed, author-approved versions of classic musicals, Disney favourites, and modern works, custom-tailored to the needs of young people and schools. Developed by renowned educators and designed to suit school assemblies as well as the energies and attention spans of younger performers, Broadway Junior™ musicals are perfect for teachers or directors who are new to musical theatre and seeking to introduce students to the joys of participating in a show. Bringing different groups together to share their Broadway Junior™ experiences has led to annual Junior Theatre Celebrations across the USA and Australia and now, the UK.
Stephen Sondheim’s song “Children Will Listen,” from Into the Woods, underscores the vital dynamic between children and adults. Appropriately, it was Mr. Sondheim who served as the catalyst for Broadway Junior™, according to Freddie Gershon. “Steve expressed concern for the future, and the need for young people to be engaged in live musical theatre, and he wanted to be sure that musicals would continue to cultivate vibrant new audiences,” recalls Gershon. “He inspired me, and I started thinking about today’s children being bombarded on all sides in this digital age, and also about the many underserved communities across the USA, and around the world, where arts programmes are no longer provided. I thought about the fact that kids from 14 to 18 could put on shows in schools, but their younger brothers and sisters had no such outlet. Creating a Broadway Junior™ version would be the equivalent of our baseball ‘Little League’ in America, or soccer camps for young kids. From the start, it was clear we had tapped into something, as our Broadway Junior™ titles were embraced by parents, teachers and students.”
Continued Gershon, “Developments emerged that I could never have predicted: not only did young people get the courage to go up on the stage, learn about singing, dancing, acting and telling a story through the arts, but they were immersed in experiential learning, became a functional community of their own, learned how to interact with each other with mutuality of respect, worked collaboratively and collegially. The totality of the program has already impacted millions of students around the world, and has produced educational opportunities for educators and musical theatre teachers as a learning experience.”