19 December 2023

Make happy holiday memories with this magical mini musical experience

| Katrina Condie
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Young performers on stage

Young performers will learn new skills and have loads of fun creating their own mini musical in January. Photo: Make a Mini Musical.

Canberra kids will discover hidden talents and unleash their creativity during a magical school holiday musical theatre program to be held at the Tuggeranong Arts Centre (TAC) in January.

Budding actors, dancers, musicians and storytellers aged eight to 13 will shine in a stage performance at the culmination of the Make a Mini Musical program which will run from Monday 15 January to Friday 19 January, 2024.

Tim and Nath Bevitt have been running the “crash course in musical theatre” in Canberra for the past six years and each year they are blown away by the imagination and passion shown by their students.

“It’s an intensive course where kids experience the art of musical theatre, from concept to performance, in just five days,” Tim said.

“They are involved in every part of the process, from coming up with the storyline and script ideas to songwriting and choreography. We really go deep into the creative process and give kids a chance to understand their own power of creativity and the importance of collaboration.”

At the beginning of each course, Tim and Nath have no idea where the kids’ creative journey will take them.

“Each performance is different and it’s amazing to see what the kids come up with,” Tim said.

“Watching them experience the real magic of musical theatre is something I find incredible and is one of the best parts of working with children.”

“In general, I’ve found that children are really open to anything. The ideas they come up with out of thin air are always full of excitement,” Nath added.

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The course caters for children who have a passion for the stage and also those who are yet to discover the wonderful world of performing arts.

“This is a unique experience and every child gets a chance to shine on the stage, even if they haven’t done it before,” Nath said.

“There are no drama queens and no one in the group crushes the ideas of others. We’re here for the show, here to have fun and here to learn how to communicate, collaborate, socialise and problem solve in a safe and inclusive environment.

“We take a playful approach to making something incredible and really magical.”

She said watching a shy student overcome their fears and discover their talent was “incredibly powerful”.

“That moment when they realise their own power and break through is something that is very exciting for me,” Nath said.

“It’s hard work and requires a lot of focus, but very thrilling at the same time. At the end of the week, when they present the musical in front of their friends and family, it’s wonderful to see them saying, ‘We created this.’”

Tim and Nath help write the script and work with the students to create props. A professional choreographer helps with the dance moves, while the kids create their own costumes at home.

Both passionate artists and educators, the couple use their own stage experience to unleash their students’ limitless creativity.

“We’re there to help the kids own the skills that they have already, and to help them improve in the art of theatre and musical theatre,” he said.

“We teach and guide but, at the end of the day, the creativity and the magic comes from all the individuals in the room.”

Tim said theatre making that allowed the voices of children to truly be heard was rare.

“We all need to listen to each other to make a world where everyone feels valued for who they are and what they can bring.

“The program and production is so unique and special because the kids choose what they want to say and how it is said.”

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Tim and Nath have been working together in their performing arts business Mr Tim Enterprises since 2011 and have produced four professional children’s musicals at TAC as well as several mini musicals over the past six years, including The Age of the Pinedemic – The Musical in October 2022 and The Emporium of Wow Zoobarooba mini musical in January 2023.

They run a children’s rock band called Mr Tim & The Fuzzy Elbows which has recorded several albums and, in 2019 Tim was awarded a Churchill Fellowship and they both travelled to investigate ‘Intergenerational play for creating cohesive communities’.

Up to 25 participants will devise this year’s story, lyrics and music, write dialogue, choreograph stage movement and make props and backdrops for the performance. On the final day, they will take to the stage and perform a public performance in the TAC Theatre.

The cost for the five-day program is $450 per child, with a discount for additional siblings, and parents can visit the Tuggeranong Arts Centre website to book a place for their child.

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