Published on: 15 February 2013

Before ‘GARGANTUA’, the Midnite Youth Theatre Company’s latest production, made its Australian debut at Fringe World this week, its young cast and crew toured the play in Southern California. Ten boys, two girls from John Curtin College of the Arts and staff members travelled to the US in January for the school drama tour of a lifetime.

After arriving in Los Angeles, the group travelled south to San Diego where they began rehearsals of the Monty Pythonesque play at St Augustine’s High School. Drama Vice Captain Brayden Schofield said the cast was buoyed with nervous enthusiasm when it learned its first performance would be in front of 200 high school boys. “However, we shouldn’t have worried as our performance was met with electric engagement and furious applause,” Brayden said.

Other highlights in San Diego included watching a one-man show in downtown San Diego, having dinner in the old town, being just 20km north of the Mexican boarder, and the San Diego Zoo.

The group then travelled back to Los Angeles to the busy and vibrant community of Santa Monica. Midnite performed three times in the Los Angeles and Hollywood area; at both Harvard-Westlake Middle School and Senior School, and at New Roads School in Hollywood. “Each time performed with outstanding energy and professionalism from the whole cast,” Brayden said.

While in LA, the group took VIP tours of Universal Studios and Warner Brothers Studios, made their own short films at an acting course, watched the Los Angeles Clippers take on the Washington Wizards at the Staples Centre, and spent time on both Hollywood Boulevard and the iconic Venice Strip or ‘Muscle Beach’.

On the final leg of the tour, the group headed up Santa Barbara for the International Film Festival. Drama Captain Nick Felstead said they were fortunate to see the globally recognised Hubbard Street Dance Company, see some fascinating films and attend the red carpet and awards ceremony celebrating Ben Affleck’s Academy nominated film, Argo, and Matt Damon’s Modern Masters Award.

“Looking back on the tour, aside from the friendships formed, we got an unprecedented insight into the world of professional theatre and show business,” Nick said. “For the boys who are looking to pursue acting as a career, I’m sure they will take this experience as an eye opener as to the difficulty and subsequent reward of career acting.”

Tickets are still available for ‘GARGANTUA’ which runs until Sunday 17 February. Book here