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Children’s Theatre a winner in many ways

23 July 2019

Sold-out houses for Manawatū Youth Theatre’s production of Alice in Wonderland Jnr at the Globe Theatre during the school holidays is a testament to the popularity of theatre entertainment for children.

Graham Johnston, producer and director of Alice in Wonderland established the Manawatū Youth Theatre for a couple of reasons. One was to allow children to participate in theatre in a safe well-organised environment without any cost.

“I wanted to get kids onto the stage and work with quality people, and not have their families burdened with the costs of fees, which can often exclude some from participating.”

His other goal was to produce a show with a low-ticket price which makes it more accessible to families with young children. “This is really important to me. It’s great to make a habit of attending theatre at a young age.”

All the crew involved in the show were under 18 years, and the performers were committed to 11 weeks of rehearsing, three days a week.

Palmerston North’s Creative Communities Scheme granted the production a $3,000 grant. “This is the second year we have received funding from the Scheme. My intention is for the production to be self-sustainable in the future, but to start-up, we needed assistance from the scheme and other supportive sponsors,” says Johnston.

“The Creative Communities Scheme helps events grow long-term. The funding allowed us to meet the early production costs such as purchase costumes, hire equipment and undertake the audition process. I would highly recommend anyone with a creative idea to consider applying to assist them with getting things started.”

The Palmerston North Creative Communities Scheme is a partnership between Creative New Zealand and Palmerston North City Council. The scheme supports a wide range of arts and cultural projects such as theatre, poetry, music, dance, Ngā toi Māori, Pacific arts, filmmaking, writing, literature and crafts.

Previous funding recipients represent a string of successful arts projects. Debbie Duncan, PNCC General Manager – Community, says the funding scheme welcomes applications from Palmerston North’s diverse communities.

“We want to support projects and activities that celebrate our culture, our communities, and our diversity. Anyone with an idea to contribute to our city’s thriving arts and cultural scene should consider applying.”

Projects must meet at least one of three criteria:

• Access and participation – A project that will create opportunities for local communities to engage with and participate in local arts activities.

• Diversity – A project that will support the diverse arts and cultural traditions of local communities.

• Young people – A project that will enable and encourage young people (under 18 years) to engage with and participate in the arts.

The funding round opens from 1 August – 2 September. Applications can be submitted online. Guidelines can also be accessed on our website.

For further information, contact, Brooke Carter, Community Funding Coordinator and Gillian Tasker, Arts Coordinator, You may also phone 06 356 8199.


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