Young Cast Challenged by Asylum Seekers’ Tale
Opening night nerves come with the territory for Boy Overboard cast member Nick Felstead. However, the Year 9 student, who plays a lead role in the Midnite Youth Theatre Company’s latest offering, said the jitters soon fade as the excitement of performing takes over.
Nick is amongst a cast and crew of over 40 students, who are part of this year’s Year 7 to 9 production of Boy Overboard, an adaptation of the Morris Gleitzman children’s novel about a family and their struggle to leave war torn Afghanistan for a better life in Australia.
Nick, in his acting debut at Christ Church, plays Jamal, a soccer-mad boy with dreams to change the world. “The biggest challenge was remembering my lines but also trying to relate to my character,” he said. “We are so privileged here and these kids are growing up with mines and bombs going off around them.”
He said he was shocked to land the lead role in the play. “I was part of the Sweeney Todd crew earlier in the year and that was really fun,” Nick said. “So my friend and I decided to audition for Boy Overboard. There are lots of really good actors in Years 7, 8 and 9 so I was really surprised when I got the part.”
Speaking after the opening night, Nick said he was surprised at how quickly the performance was over. “In the run-throughs it feels like it takes so much longer but on the night it goes so fast,” he said. “It was a great experience and a first for me on stage. I’ll definitely try out for next year’s senior production.”
Director Emma Leadon said she had searched for a piece that was entertaining and suitable for the age group but also wanted a play with an important message for the actors and audience. “We are often exposed to the political side of the asylum seekers’ struggle, however, the play focuses more on the human plight of refugees,” she said. “Their journey serves as a reminder of the hardship faced by refugees seeking a peaceful and stable life.”