Gemma and I got to spend a few hours with the fantastic staff of CPCA at their head office in Melbourne. Our
time there included personal fittings with the head of the wardrobe department, Jennifer McKenzie! She is a
busy lady with hundreds of thousands (literally) of costumes to make, mend and manage. With roughly 3,000
kids over 18 campuses around the greater Melbourne area, 6 shows a year featuring kinds in various levels
of study and an ever changing repertoire, you can imagine the stock they have on hand. Costumes are a very
important tool for performers that help them step into their characters shoes (and hats, dresses, gloves, even
fish…keep looking and spot that one in the photos!) and the CPCA know this. They have even set up a service to
make most of their stock available for hire so that smaller troupes can afford to deck out their own performances
in style. It was wonderful to watch the transformation in Gemma…when she put on the costumes, she immediately
became her version of that character.
My words do not do justice to the intricacy and loving details that are put into all of these
costumes…nor can they describe the sheer volume on hand, so luckily I took lots of photos!
One thing you find about Gemma upon meeting her is that she loves to sing. Often to our chagrin, she
narrates her daily life in song. I mean All. The. Time. Classes with CPCA would be a wonderful way
for her to properly learn to sing and perform, but she was worried about the idea of an audition. We had
a chance to talk to the people at CPCA about the process and came away confident that the “audition”
is more of a placement screening for them to evaluate the best level for each child. More importantly
though, it is also a way for parents and kids to audition CPCA and evaluate if the experience will be
right for their families. Now that Gemma understands, she is excited and really considering becoming
a part of classes. Gemma would be in the Beginners on Stage section with other kids (ages 5-7) where
they work on music and dramatic skills. As she grows, she can continue with the Young Australian
Broadway Chorus as her love leans more towards the musical theatre. For kids who are into strictly
drama, there is the Victorian Youth Theatre as well. No matter the level or track, all kids get to perform
in these awesome costumes!
The audition process is free and there is bound to be a campus near you if you live in the Melbourne
area. Auditions will be held between February 13-26th, 2012 and you can check cpca.com.au for all the
Thank you so much for having us, Gemma had the time of her life and I can envision her performing arts career starting with CPCA soon.