VIDEO: Youth Theatre on a High with Disney musical

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There’s a ball of energy akin to a bumper pack of high powered batteries brewing at The Maltings as its Junior Youth Theatre ready their summer show.

Everyone loves a bit of Disney and this bunch of youngsters are no different, making worldwide phenomenon ‘High School Musical’ the perfect fit for them.

Junior pricipals recreate the High School the Musical poses before the show arrives at the Maltings

Junior pricipals recreate the High School the Musical poses before the show arrives at the Maltings

Nobody could have guessed just how big a deal the film would have become when it debuted on the Disney Channel in 2006 but after record ratings it went onto spawn two sequels, a million selling soundtrack albums, concert tours and stage shows.

‘High School Musical’ concerns itself with goings on at East High School, chiefly the love story between popular basketball player Troy Bolton and brainy transfer student Gabriella Montez.

Breaking with tradition, Youth Theatre director Wendy Payn has cast the show entirely from the younger half of her talent pool with the actors all regular attendees of her Maltings Junior Youth Theatre sessions.

Many of them had supporting roles in last year’s ‘His Dark Materials’ sequel and are now taking centre stage.

And to say they are excited about taking to the stage could well be the understatement of the century.

“I’ve always loved the film,” enthused Liberty Holloway who is playing East High’s resident diva Sharpay.

“Watching it when I was little I don’t think I really understood the meaning to it.

“Now I realise it’s all about following your dreams.

“All my friends said I should go for the part of Sharpay and I’m so glad I did.

“She’s spectacular and superb and I have quite a few outfits!”

Playing Sharpay’s brotther and sidekick Ryan is Spittal’s Corey Learmonth.

At just nine years old Corey is the youngest of ‘High School Musical’s’ principals but he certainly doesn’t lack any enthusiasm.

“It’s an amazing opportunity to have.

“The stage is like my second home; I don’t mind if I don’t get to be in the West End; The Maltings is fine for me. I really wanted to be Ryan so I’m really pleased I got it.”

Taking on the role of Troy, made famous by Zac Efron in the film version, is Swinton Primary pupil Ryan Garden who is making the jump straight from the chorus to leading man.

“It’s my first ever speaking part so it’s a really big deal for me.

“I’m nervous but also really excited. I’ think I’ll get a really big buzz when we actually do the show.”

“Wendy keeps reminding us that we aren’t doing the film, we’re doing the musical,” Suzanna McEwen, playing Gabriella, explained.

“I loved the film when I was six and seven; then I didn’t like it anymore but now I love it all over again.

“It’s got some really good songs in it.

“I really enjoy the group numbers like ‘We’re All In This Together’ but also ‘Breaking Free’ as that’s the really famous song from ‘High School Musical’.

“Siobhan Bankier and Sam Rogers who are playing Taylor and Chad were also in high spirits and full of praise for their director.

“She’s a great director and a great choreographer,” they agreed.

“It’s such a fun show to do.”

*’High School Musical’ is on at The Maltings from Friday, June 20 to Sunday, June 22