SOUTH SURREY â€” The kids at White Rock Christian Academy have been giving up their lunch breaks and Saturday afternoons to rehearse their school’s production of The Little Mermaid.
Led by artist-in-residence Sheila Reader-Romo, 120 kids from grades one to 11 are geared up to perform in the Junior Broadway drama based on the original story by Hans Christian Andersen – more widely known as the animated Disney flick of the same title.
White Rock Christian Academy currently doesn’t have a drama or theatre program, so the time invested is all volunteer and extra-curricular for the students involved – and they’re working hard at it.
"They don’t have a musical theatre program here and they don’t have a drama program here, but it’s a dream," says Reader-Romo. "When they see it on stage, they get inspired. If I can even inspire just one child – or even two or three – to do this, or feel a part of something, because some
kids don’t want to do sports but they shine on the stage."
The relatively small school, which currently serves 375 students, is including about a third of them as cast members in the production. The huge interest in drama, Reader-Romo said, is a big reason she chose to feature The Little Mermaid instead of the alternative choice, Pinocchio.
"This was the one that really spoke to me because there’s a lot of parts for a lot of kids to come on stage and shine," she said. "The seagull, Scuttle, can sing, and then I’ve got the chef with the eight chefs, and then I’ve got the sailors and the pilot and then I’ve got Sebastian and Grimsby and Ariel and the six sisters, so there’s tons of parts that I could really incorporate. There wasn’t just one lead, there wasn’t just a couple people who would have speaking or singing parts. They all have solos."
Of the 120 students, that includes both a choir of singers who don’t have speaking parts, as well as a myriad of grade one and two students who pop up as different sea creatures during the show.
Leading cast member Halle Penner plays Ariel, while a charismatic Megan Davidson performs as the evil sea witch Ursula and Elijah Burns plays Prince Eric.
Additional grade 12 students managed the painting of the undersea set, complete with glittering lights and a seashell throne for Triton, king of the ocean.
In addition to instructing
and directing the play, Reader-Romo also designed the costumes, including mermaid and merman tails.
White Rock Christian Academy’s production of The Little Mermaid debuts on Wednesday, May 14 at 7 p.m. at the school, 2265 152nd St., Surrey. The production will also be shown on Thursday, May 15 at 1 p.m. and 7 p.m., and on Friday, May 16 at 7 p.m.
Halle Penner plays Ariel in White Rock Christian Academy’s production of The Little Mermaid, which will be staged this week at the school, 2265 152nd St., South Surrey. Close to 120 of the school’s students are involved in the production.