Nelson youth representing NZ in performing arts


Fourteen year old Joelle Noar was one of three Nelson students selected to join the ‘Kiwi All-Stars,’ a group of twenty young musical theatre stars representing New Zealand at the Junior Theatre Festival in Newcastle, Australia. The ‘Kiwi All-Stars’ not only had an amazing experience, but they also won the award for ‘Outstanding Vocals.’

Year 10 student Joelle, has been doing theatre for around six years, starting when she was eight or nine years old. Her first show was Les Miserables with Nelson Youth Theatre where she played little Cosette. Since then she has done lots of different shows and played many different roles, her favourite being when she played Jasmine in ‘Aladdin.’ She also did a pantomime with Nelson Musical Theatre. 

A couple of years ago Joelle started taking part in ‘pilot programmes’ through a NZ theatre company called ‘StageAntics.’ The pilot programmes are held once a year in January where students gather from around New Zealand to learn a whole show in a week and then perform it to an audience. 

Having performed exceptionally well in the pilot programmes, Joelle was invited to apply for the Australasian Junior Theatre Festival in Newcastle, Australia. She and two other Nelson students, Poppy Hogan & Georgie Horncastle, were accepted, and they joined seventeen other students aged 11-18 years, representing New Zealand on the week long trip. 

Kiwi All-Stars 2022 — Image by: Supplied

“We did it with this group from all over NZ,” Joelle said. “We did some activities in Sydney and then we went to Newcastle and we learnt a 10 minute adjudication performance of Disney’s ‘Freaky Friday,’ and then performed that at the festival.”

The activities in Sydney included participating in an acting programme at the acclaimed National Institute of Dramatic Arts (NIDA), taking a tour of the Opera House, climbing the Harbour Bridge, seeing Moulin Rouge performed at the Capitol Theatre and getting to meet the stars backstage after the show.

The Kiwi All-Stars only had two and a half days after meeting each other to collaborate on their performance piece. However they were well supported by Auckland theatre directors, Emma Bishop and Mark Bradley, along with award-winning Australian choreographer Jo Ford. The Kiwi All-Stars won the award for Outstanding Vocals.

Joelle Noar (centre) with Poppy Hogan & Georgie Horncastle – ‘Kiwi All-Stars’ members who were winners of the Outstanding Vocals award at the Junior Theatre Festival in Newcastle, Australia — Image by: Supplied

When asked how she found the experience Joelle replied, “I had a really, really great time. It was such a really cool experience because there was about a thousand kids all in there, all competing, taking part in this festival, and it was just really cool to be surrounded by like-minded people who all have this passion for this one thing, which was really fun.”

Kiwi All-Stars 2022 — Image by: Supplied

Being only Year 10, Joelle hasn’t quite made up her mind when it comes to future career goals saying, “Well, nothing is set in stone, I’ve still got a few years. At the moment I would like to probably pursue doing theatre and performing arts and things like that, but, who knows.”

In the short term, Joelle is looking into the possibility of another pilot programme in Wellington over the summer and she will be looking forward to Nelson Youth Theatre starting up again next year. 

Here at Nayland College, Joelle has made the most of the vast range of modules available to junior students, taking Musical Theatre, Dance, Drama, School of Rock, Digital Musicianship, ‘Lights, Camera Action!’ and more, across Year 9 and 10. We look forward to seeing more of Joelle on stage in 2023 and wish her all the best for all her future endeavours!

By Sarah Luton