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Glee program puts Tofino-Ucluelet youth in the spotlight

The stage is getting set for West Coast youth to shine as Glee is returning for its 10th season.

The stage is getting set for West Coast youth to shine as Glee is returning for its 10th season.

The musical theatre program kicks off a new season in Ucluelet and Tofino next week and its co-founder Courtney Johnson is delighted to welcome students back from a coronavirus-caused hiatus.

“It’s something I’m really excited about. We obviously haven’t been able to have our program since the start of the pandemic and this is the first time we’ll all be back together,” she said.

“A lot of kids are really excited about it.”

She added she’s boosting the program’s Tofino presence this year in an effort to draw in a wide range of young stars.

“I’d really like to engage all the communities. There are kids all over our West Coast here that are so talented and I want to be able to provide them with opportunities to just shine and do what they want to do,” she said.

Registration for the program can be done through both Tofino and Ucluelet’s recreation departments and weekly rehearsals will culminate in a performance of a play Johnson wrote called How the Grinch Stole the Nightmare Before Christmas in December. A Narnia-based play is on the docket for the New Year.

“It combines singing, acting and dancing and then you have a full-length musical play where the kids perform for the community,” she said.

Youth from kindergarten to Grade 12 are welcome to attend and Johnson said graduated alumni often keep in touch and help out with performances.

“It never really leaves them,” she said.

She added she’s been delighted to teach local youth over the past decade and watch them flourish once they find their confidence and their spark.

“Musical theatre is something that’s very different and not a lot of kids find that they gravitate towards it until they discover it. It’s something that gives them so much confidence and it helps them discover a talent that they probably didn’t even know that they had,” she said.

“It is absolutely invaluable. I don’t know where I would be if I didn’t find musical theatre and the arts when I was a kid. I was not the girl that could run track and field or was interested in playing hockey or volleyball. I happened to find music and that was my niche. Everybody has a talent that they can share, it’s just a matter of finding it.”

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Andrew Bailey

About the Author: Andrew Bailey

I arrived at the Westerly News as a reporter and photographer in January 2012.
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