IT’S SHOWTIME! For the upcoming public schools production of Disney’s Aladdin Junior at Lismore City Hall tonight and tomorrow night. From left to right, Craig Price (Genie), Matilda Hortek Jones (Jasmine), Mack Maher (Jafar), Darci Maher (Iago) and at the front is Hannah Oliver playing Aladdin.
IT’S SHOWTIME! For the upcoming public schools production of Disney’s Aladdin Junior at Lismore City Hall tonight and tomorrow night. From left to right, Craig Price (Genie), Matilda Hortek Jones (Jasmine), Mack Maher (Jafar), Darci Maher (Iago) and at the front is Hannah Oliver playing Aladdin. Mireille Merlet

Whole new world for audiences in schools' Aladdin play

MAKE way for Prince Ali and his talented school-based cast who will take audiences on a magic carpet ride in the first Rivers P-12 schools production of Disney's Aladdin Junior.

The large-scale production, which will take place at the Lismore City Hall over two nights, has been six months in the making.

With more than 150 students and 30 staff involved across 26 local public schools, the production is arguably one of the biggest to hit the region.

Kadina High Year 11 student Craig Price has taken on the role of the blue larrikin Genie and said the scale of the production had boosted the confidence of everyone involved.

"From the start, everyone was real shy but now everyone is so confident and you gain so many friendships," he said. "I would never have met this many people from the different schools in the area."

Craig said he was still keen to pursue a career in theatre acting and television after school.

The performance crew have remained one jump ahead of rehearsals by practising in their own "satellite" groups - such as the choir, dancers, circus troupe and actors - before coming together over the past month.

To make the enormous production possible, organisers have harnessed the skills of students and volunteer teachers in areas of design and food to help with elaborate costumes, sets and catering.

Dance director Lauren Pine said students had been introduced to a new world of professional theatre and performance through the show.

"It's a phenomenal experience for them," she said. "They're getting an idea of what it's really like, and not just the performance aspect but how much dedication and commitment is required before you get to the good bit ... getting into costume and performing on stage."

Production producer and principal at Eureka Public School Michael Coleman said the success of tonight and tomorrow night's performances would determine whether or not a production of this scale was done again.

"It's something we would love to do every year or every second year, just to give the public education kids the chance of performing in professional theatre," he said.

Mr Coleman has served as the director's assistant for the annual Sydney Schools Spectacular and the chair for the Lismore Performing Arts Festival.



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