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Just Like Young Professionals

March, 2015
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sound-of-music-cast-on-stairsSisters and co-stars. Recently, Yew Chung International School of Shanghai (YCIS) students Madison (Year 8) and Emma (Year 6) became just that as they had the unique opportunity to perform in The Sound of Music China Tour. The sisters, who starred as sisters Marta and Brigitta, had the chance to travel around China for the special tour. YCIS, which helped inspire and cultivate the girls’ love for theatre, also helped support the girls’ studies remotely as they travelled with the production. Upon their return from the tour, Madison, Emma and their parents reflected on their experience.

What was it like to join the cast of The Sound of Music China Tour? How did you prepare for your roles?

Madison: Being part of The Sound of Music was a wonderful experience. The chaperones, other children, actors, and backstage crew were all so fun to work with. For the auditions, everyone came into the theatre after measuring their height and taking photos. We were taught songs and dances all together or in small groups, and then performed them one-by-one. We practiced harmonies as well as marching in ‘practice families’.

To prepare for Brigitta, I practiced an Austrian accent for all of my lines, and we often did character-building activities, like compiling a list of our character’s favourite things, as well as their personality traits. 

Travelling in China with The Sound of Music was an amazing experience. We had five chaperones who were always with us. They took us everywhere we needed to go, and made sure we got everything done. Most of them act as well.

Emma:  It was a great experience being able to meet so many new people and to learn so many new things. The auditions were fun and exciting. One exercise we did to help prepare for our roles was to make up what we thought our character’s favourite things would be, like food, colours, and animals, and we discussed how our character felt toward other characters.

While travelling to the different cities in China I got to experience new food and culture. It was interesting to see that audiences in different cities reacted very differently.

sound-of-music-audiotions-emma-and-madisonWhat was your favourite part of the experience?

Madison: I loved getting to travel with so many actors, and making friends with our chaperones and the other children. Performing is wonderful! As soon as the curtain goes down there are high-fives and hugs all around for another great show.

Emma: The best part of this experience to me was meeting all the different people. I especially love the feeling at the end of a performance when the curtain finally goes down and the show is done. Everyone is excited about the good performance.

When and how did you develop a love for theatre? Madison: I have been around singing my whole life. My mother would sing to me every night, and we love watching musicals as a family. From a young age I performed in school musicals at YCIS and did summer theatre camps, too.

Emma: When I was in Kindergarten I did my first school musical and I really enjoyed it. That was my first exposure to theatre. I also love singing and I sing all of the time.

Have you been involved in school performances at YCIS? Have you learned about how to improve your performance skills through the school productions? 

Madison: Last year I was in two YCIS productions – High School Musical and The Miracle Worker. Personally, the best part of doing these shows was learning them and performing them. My drama teachers made it fun, and every show was an achievement. The shows I’ve done with YCIS have allowed me to really think about and build up the characters that I’m playing.

Emma: I was the lead in YCIS production of Porridge last year, and I participated in a fun improv class that was part of an after school activity. By participating in Porridge it gave me a chance to continue to practice performing skills. 

Do you want to pursue a career in performing arts in the future? 

Madison: Absolutely! I love performing and would love to continue doing shows as I get older, as well as continuing with my other subjects.

Emma: Yes! I hope to go to a performing arts school for college. 

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