Lights. Community. Action.
The Ukee Glee Kids are getting ready to serve up a locally flavoured adaptation of Peter Pan.
Roughly 50 youth and 15 adults will sing, dance and act in the Ucluelet Community Centre’s main stage spotlight during two performances of ‘Ucluelet’s Neverland,’ on May 26 and 27. Doors open at 6 p.m. on both nights with shows starting at 6:30 p.m.
The adaptation was written by Glee co-creator Courtney Johnson who told the Westerly News she’s thrilled to see her and her Glee partner Sarah Hogan’s program put on its tenth production.
“Sarah Hogan and I have been doing this for five years and we’re really proud of it,” she said. “I really love that it started out with just this small idea and it’s grown…I’m really proud to have as many students as I do and I’m really, really, grateful to the community for all their support.”
She said Glee fills an important role within the recreational landscape and has helped build friendships and infuse artistic interest among local youth.
“Not every kid is going to be sporty. Not every kid is going to pick up a paintbrush. Not every kid is going to be a surfer. Children and youth express themselves in different ways,” she said.
“Performing arts is really important because it gives them one more way to express themselves creatively.”
She said past Glee students have returned to help with productions and added that the program helps a diverse range of kids find untapped skills and passions.
“I’ve had kids show up not expecting that they would enjoy singing or dancing and then discover talent,” she said. “They, kind of, show up with a bit of curiosity, but they discover talents they didn’t know they have. These programs are important for that reason; you don’t know what you’re capable of until you try doing something.”
She added the West Coast has a dynamic roster of talented youth to celebrate.
“I think it’s surprising to people a little bit when they see this performance with all of these kids doing what they do. It really isn’t 10 children singing a few little songs. It’s 50 kids, now, doing acrobatic moves, doing lifts, doing jumps and singing their hearts out,” she said.
“There’s a lot of talent that’s really wonderful. We know it exists, but it’s really stunning and it really blows people away when they see what these kids can do.”
She hopes to see locals show their support by showing up because, she said, her students feed off the energy of big audiences.
“It’s monumental, honestly. When they get that applause, or when they see that full room and it ends in a standing ovation, they are so happy,” she said.
“They depend on that support. They’re proud of what they’ve done and they want to show that to people and it is important to support them because that follows them they’re whole life. How we support our children in this community now, matters forever. It really does.”