Will aspires to perform on stage

 Will Maslen played Handsome Jack in Gloucester's St Joseph's Primary School's musical  ‘A Book Without a Cover’ in 2017. Photo Anne Keen

Will Maslen played Handsome Jack in Gloucester's St Joseph's Primary School's musical ‘A Book Without a Cover’ in 2017. Photo Anne Keen

Will Maslen was a little bit nervous before he auditioned to a room full of people, but he did it.

He was among over 680 students from 57 schools auditioning for the Maitland-Newcastle Diocese ASPIRE program and he is one of the 150 students chosen.

Will is the first student to be selected from St Joseph’s Primary School Gloucester to be part of the program.

Students could audition for one of five performance ensembles – dance, drama, stage band, strings or vocal; Will chose vocal.

It was his very first time auditioning and he sang ‘Consider Yourself’ from Oliver Twist.

He said he practiced a lot at home before making his way down to Newcastle for the audition in November last year.

Launched in 2011, ASPIRE is an annual performing arts program for Catholic school students in the Maitland-Newcastle Diocese. Students from years five to 11 audition for the program which aims to develop and enhance their skills through performance training.

He will travel to Newcastle every Tuesday, starting in February, to participate as part of the vocal ensemble in studio practice, workshops and advanced skill development while working toward a final performance. 

This year’s production is called ‘Dark Matter’, written by the artistic director, Anna Kerrigan and will take place at the Civic Theatre in Newcastle from August 1-4.

Will was one of four students in the Manning region to be successful, with the others all from St Clare’s in Taree. They are: 

Connor Baker, a year seen student from Bulahdelah, will be part of the junior drama ensemble; Connor Langley, a year six student from Hillville will be a featured vocalist in the vocal ensemble and Matthew Spencer, a year nine student from Krambach will be a guitarist in the stage band.

The ASPIRE program encourages students to offer their ideas and thoughts in the development of the script, enabling them to experience the process of creating a new theatrical work as well as developing skills in performance. 

In 2016, ASPIRE was awarded “Best Special Theatrical Event” at the City of Newcastle Drama Awards (CONDA) for the production, “There’s Something Strange About Marvin McRae.”

More information about ASPIRE can be found at: https://aspire.mn.catholic.edu.au/