When 11-year-old Connor Baker learned he had been chosen to play in this year’s Catholic school’s ASPIRE show, The Hoarders Next Door, he didn’t quite believed it.
“I said to my mum, ‘did you read it wrong’ and I jumped up and down with joy and nearly fell over,” Connor said.
It was a case of second time lucky for the youngster who also auditioned for a part last year.
Connor was one of the 130 students selected ahead of 500 primary and secondary students from 29 Catholic schools who lined-up before the casting director for a part in the play.
Tomorrow, Wednesday, August 2 the St Joseph’s Bulahdelah student will star in his first theatre performance at the Civic Theatre, Newcastle as the character Monte.
Connor has always wanted to be in ASPIRE, an audition-based, City of Newcastle Drama Awards (CONDA) award winning performing arts program, that invites talented students in Years 5 to 12 from Catholic schools across Maitland-Newcastle to showcase their vocal, instrumental, drama and dance performance skills.
“I’ve always wanted to be in ASPIRE, but I didn’t think I was in for a chance this year because of all the other amazing people in it,” he said.
“When I was in kindergarten, I watched the first show and I loved it.
“I’ve been waiting since then to be old enough to be a part of ASPIRE.”
Since February, Connor has travelled to Newcastle every Tuesday afternoon for three hours of rehearsals.
And, during the past four weeks Connor has stepped up a notch adding Sundays to the practice sessions.
“Being in ASPIRE makes me really happy because I can show my feelings and show how much I’m happy to be here and I just love it.”
Connor loves to perform and if given the opportunity, would like to pursue a future in the theatre.
“I got into performing because I’m a humorous person and I love to talk, I’m a bit of a chatterbox, so if I had the opportunity, it would be awesome to do this for a job.”
In his spare time, Connor enjoys scouting, archery and carpentering, explaining, “I like to find sticks and engrave them”.
Connor takes his acting inspiration from Pirates of the Caribbean star, Johnny Depp.
“He can change his voice and his personality which I find very amazing, and in animated movies, he’s just amazing.”
The show centres on George and Mavis Smith, who live in a fairly regular Australian street and who have a story to tell about every piece of ‘junk’ in their possession. To them, everything evokes a memory, a part of their history and because of that, they cannot part with anything.
Tickets to ASPIRE’s performances from Wednesday, August 2-Friday, August 4 will be held from 11am, along with a 7pm session on Friday and Saturday. Tickets are available from the Civic Theatre box office or through Ticketek.