Spotlight On: The Lion, The Witch, The Wardrobe (A History)
5-minute read // Published by Young Peoples Theatre, May 2023
Written by: Chelsea Willis
Pictured: The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe in 2010 featuring Ben Stuart, Claudia King, Hannah King and Stephanie Cunliffe – Jones
The enchanting tale of “The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe” has captivated audiences young and old for decades. As part of the 75th-anniversary celebration at the Young People’s Theatre (YPT), this beloved production graced the stage for the fourth time;
- 1991, directed by Don McEwen
our first production of the much loved tale and performed as the musical version, featuring our favorite song ‘Turkish Delight’. Wendy Leis, who is currently a YPT Patron and on our Executive Committee also assisted with this production.
- 2001, directed by Wendy Leis and Daniel Wilson
featuring one of our current directors Evan Booth in the role of Aslan and Greg Shearer, our Appointed Officer for set construction as Professor Kirk. A quick glance at the cast list shows that many cast members have gone on to have careers in the entertainment industry.
- 2010, directed by Barbara Delaney
featuring many current tutors of the organization such as Matt and Ollie Abel, Clara and Louise Barcan, Maddie Newland and Maddie Watts and many of our recent alumni who have gone off to have very successful careers in the industry
- 2023, directed by Maddie Newland
our current production and also the first time we have done the play version of this much loved tale. This was great opportunity for students wanting to focus on their acting skills to be involved.
YPT has a long-standing relationship with this beloved production. The decision to revive “The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe” for the fourth time is a testament to its enduring popularity and the treasured memories it holds for both the YPT community and its audience.
Two of our Directing Team, Maddie Newland and Louise Barcan, were in previous iterations of the play (White Witches Rabble 2010) , and therefore bring a unique understanding and appreciation for the story and its characters. This personal connection ensures that the essence and magic of the original productions are preserved while infusing it with new energy and creativity.
The timing of this production was perfectly planned as it aligns with the Young People’s Theatre’s 75th anniversary. This milestone is a testament to the theatre’s commitment to providing exceptional theatrical experiences for young people and showcasing their talents. “The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe” holds a special place in the hearts of YPT’s loyal patrons, and its return for the 75th anniversary is a celebration of the theatre’s rich history and enduring success.
Maddie Newland has a very specific vision for this production which acknowledged our 75th anniversary.
“As the production is being staged for the 75th anniversary of the theatre, I decided to include little nostalgic pieces of set and costumes that have been used in the past. The idea being as if the items had floated in or made their way to Narnia the same way the Penvensie children did. These are small, not enough to distract from the overall look of the show, but enough that a student or alumni might see a trinket on Mr Tumnus’s shelf that they once held, or a costume piece they once used. Keep your eyes peeled throughout the production and see if you notice any of these YPT references.”
I personally noticed the potion bottles from our 2021 production of ‘The Addams Family, Y@P’ which Grandma carried around during the show, and of course as to be expected, the stump makes an appearance.
As the the production comes to take its final bows on the weekend, (to sold out audiences) we would love to thank the community for the continue support of Young Peoples Theatre, and coming along to see The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe, perhaps for the fourth time. We have loved welcoming alumni back to relive the memories all over again.
And if you are missing the songs which did not feature in the 2023 play version… you can listen to them here:
The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe plays at YPT Theatre until Saturday 13 May in celebration of YPT’s 75th anniversary. If you would like to make a donation to support YPT’s $75000 for 75 years campaign, you can do so here