Last week, actors from the Aspiring Children’s Theatre School took to the stage to perform their play ‘The Valley of Tantalum’ for the Upper Clutha community. The play was a story about a magical valley, confronted with an invasion of modern technologies and the threat of their land being mined for natural resources. With messages of sustainability and hope, it was a stellar performance by the young thespians.
Gilly Pugh, the show’s playwright and co-director with John Schwarz, said that the aim of the theatre school is to give youth an opportunity to be able to thrive onstage. “Aspiring Children's Theatre School was founded back in 1999, and was really to give our own children an opportunity to learn theatre craft and to perform,” she said. “Since then our aim has remained the same: to teach young people theatre and performance skills, to offer performance opportunities as well as providing a safe environment for young people to be themselves without fear of judgement or negativity and to have fun in a structured and supportive environment.”
The show was a hit among the community and remained an incredible opportunity for the young performers from ages five to 15. Senior performer Ashley Bates said, “It was a fun experience and everyone did a really good job and I believe we all learned a lot from this.” Pugh was equally proud. “The bar for achievement in our drama classes is different for everybody. For some people, exploring a character and truthfully portraying what they discover is their achievement. For others, having the courage to actually step on to the stage and say the lines that they have worked so hard to memorise is their achievement. We're really proud of all of our students and what they managed during classes, rehearsals and performance.”