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All About Hanover Conservatory’s Youth Acting Company

Michael Hendrickson
James and the Giant Peach performed in Carroll Plaza.

Just a few weekends ago, on October 28th and 29th, The Hanover Theatre Conservatory’s Youth Acting Company put on a production of James and the Giant Peach. There was a great turnout, and even some staff from South High went to see it. And, our own co-Editor-In-Chief of the Colonel Chronicle, Jason Murillo, was part of it. Hearing about it got me curious – what exactly is the Youth Acting Company? I spoke with Jason himself to find out about the requirements, schedule, and experience working with them. 

First, he told me about how James and the Giant Peach went. If you don’t remember the absurd tale by Roald Dahl, or the uncanny animated movie, it is the story of how a young English boy, James, gets trapped in a peach with some friendly bugs.

Blocking the play was a challenge itself. The goal had been to perform the play in the newly finished Carroll Plaza, which had been in the works for four years, delayed by the pandemic. This change in location came with certain obstacles. “We did a lot of devised theater,” he says. “We knew from the beginning we weren’t going to really have any props, or a backdrop.” He even adds, “I am the peach at one point,” recalling a point in the play where the actors use their bodies to create the setting for the scene. It was clear from my conversation with Jason that the Youth Acting Company works to step out of the box, relying on collaboration to create new and engaging productions. 

So, how do you get to be a part of the Youth Acting Company? First, you have to take at least two classes at the Hanover Conservatory, one of them being an acting class. These classes are after school hours, a few times a week, and typically last about 4 months. To be a part of a production, you must be invited by the company based on your performance in the Conservatory’s classes or other productions; one’s skill, potential, commitment, and collaboration are all factored in when selecting actors. Rehearsals for these productions are a few times a week for eight weeks. Yes, the process is selective, but it enforces the high commitment attitude the company is looking for.

Jason talked about the pay-off of being part of a production. “You feel accomplished for doing a successful thing under such pressure,” he says. A peer in one of Jason’s conservatory classes later approached him and complimented him on his work in the show. “It was really nice to hear…it was rewarding after all that hard work,” he says. A big part of the joy of creating art is in the community and the feedback, and it sounds like this is true at the Youth Acting Company.

If anyone is interested in being a part of the conservatory, or even seeing a production, I would recommend visiting their website for more details. According to Jason, the next production is A Midsummer Night’s Dream.

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About the Contributor
Lila Tallagnon
Lila Tallagnon, Arts and Entertainment Editor

Hello! I’m Lila, and I’m a junior at South High. I’m the Arts and Entertainment editor of the Colonel Chronicle, and I often write pieces for the paper myself! I am fascinated by journalism because of its ability to educate and inspire communities. Along with the paper, I’m also a part of the marching band and a cappella club. Outside of school, I play piano and sing with a choir - I love music just as much as writing! One day I hope to pursue journalism as a career. 

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