Young People’s Theatre Newcastle

Spotlight On: Our SpongeBob Director, Maddie Watts

Spotlight On: Our SpongeBob Director, Maddie Watts

Spotlight on: Our SpongeBob Director
5 minute read // Published by Young Peoples Theatre, May 2022
Written by Holly Fishlock
Pictured: Maddie Watts dancing with the cast of The SpongeBob Musical 

With The SpongeBob Musical opening on the 5th of July, more and more YPT students are looking forward to their first performance. Cast member and recently appointed Appointed Officer: Marketing Assistant Holly Fishlock, sat down and interviewed the production’s director Maddie Watts about the creative process up to this point.

What made you choose to work on The SpongeBob Musical? What stood out to you about this production?

Maddie: I really loved the themes in it (The SpongeBob Musical) and the message that it sends across to the audience and how it does so in such a fun light-hearted way. It has themes of self acceptance, as well as acceptance of others, especially around understanding differences that people have, which I think  is super important in today’s society. I believe this message has come at a really good time for that. I also really love the character development that the writers have created for these characters. You watch the characters in the cartoon and you see them more two dimensionally but they’ve really humanized these characters and given them a purpose and human feelings. I feel like each character has something that you can relate to, and it makes them more approachable from an audience perspective and therefore something I really wanted to be a part of.

How has it been so far rehearsing a full length, straight from Broadway show with a cast of entirely young people?

Maddie: Hectic but in a good way. The cast are working so incredibly hard, and it’s not just our senior students it’s some as young as year 4 as well. That is some very young people that we’re getting to do such a mammoth show. I feel like the cast has really stepped up to the plate though and taken that in their stride and realised ‘ok well that means we really have to put in the work to make this a good show’ and they are.

Why should people come and see The SpongeBob Musical?

Maddie: Ultimately, I really think that the message the show portrays to people. As I said earlier our society is learning how to be better in itself, and this show brings it back to a base level and shows us how simple it is. We just have to accept each other and be nice to one another, and not be judging or selfish. I think it brings a really important message, but it is also this mess of fun, and bright colours. It has a very clever script, it’s not the cartoon we used to watch when we were younger, it’s been developed and furthered in it’s concept. They’ve made these characters feel more deeply and be relatable to us, rather than just the slapstick comedy that we see as the cartoon. In saying that, it still does lean itself towards some of that comedic relief that they’ve balanced really well. I think this makes it very enjoyable for both kids and adults because you’ve got the fun bright colour for the kids, but you’ve also got that storyline narrative and the deep connection for the adults, where they see what is happening in a character’s life. 

How does YPT provide opportunities for young people interested in theatre?

Maddie: It does so in many ways. The first being weekly classes in all areas of theatre. There are drama classes, dance classes, singing classes. It then it all comes together in musical theatre classes and extends upon those skills even further. I’m actually astounded by how many opportunities YPT presents to people to get involved in theatre and to feel encouraged in that decision to get involved in theatre. Not only do they provide some many opportunities but they do this all not-for-profit. YPT is an organisation that is out to make a lot of money for a single person, but instead we give back to the community and are very generous and accepting in the way that we interact with their students and encourage people. I’ve never been in a place so encouraging of young people. It is not just our main stage productions like The SpongeBob Musical either, we’ve got some many performances that kids can be a part of. We get involved in the Junior Theatre Festival, just last year we were involved in the Beaumont Street Celebration, where we took kids down the street and did a flash mob style performance and became community integrated like that. I think that’s really cool and a great experience for kids to have. 

Would you encourage people to get involved in theatre and why?
Maddie: Definitely. I feel like for me personally theatre is where I found my place and I found my home. I grew up playing a lot of sports and I was a duck out of water, I was so lost. But coming into YPT in year five I thought ‘oh my gosh these are my people and they understand what it’s like to have creative ideas’ and being able to express them is pretty important and I feel like that is an important part of theatre, coming together as creatives and going ‘hey I’ve got ideas on that, can I share them?’ And other people saying ‘yes, of course come share them we want to hear your thoughts’. And that leads us into creating together. I love the environment as a whole because it is so community based and so collaborative.


Maddie Watts in the Director of The SpongeBob Musical having previously been involved in many productions at YPT including The Addams Family Y@P and Children of Eden JR. Tickets for The SpongeBob Musical are on sale now, so book your tickets for the #bestdayever

Pictured: Holly Fishlock in her role of Squidward in The SpongeBob Musical. Holly is a long-term and committed student of YPT and now joins us as an Adult Member and as part of the Think Beyond Performance Ensemble. Holly has recently been appointed as our Appointed Officer: Marketing Assistant. You can see Holly as Squidward in the Mermaid Man Cast. 

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