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Young stars shine on the stage at Drury Lane's Loft theatre

Emma Grace Stead and Alexander Gonsalves crowned the winners of the first-ever Young Artist Competition

Burlington's next generation of talented performers turned up the star power on Saturday (April 22) for Drury Lane Theatrical Productions' first-ever Young Artist Competition.

In total, 20 participants took to the stage at The Loft and wowed the judges with their exceptional storytelling skills. The day started with a technical rehearsal where the performers received feedback on their performance and on their musical theatre song selection.

Later, the evening kicked off with a warm welcome by emcee Alanna Perkovich-Smith, who connected each competitor to the musical from which their song originated, providing context for what the audience was about to experience. The participants then performed their pieces.

The adjudicators ― Carrie Mines, Lauren Shepherd and Stacey Tiller ― next had the tough job selecting the first, second and third place performances and honourable mentions in both the junior and senior divisions. The first-place winners in each category received a cash scholarship. In the Junior category, Emma Grace Stead's performance of Quiet from Matilda took top honours, while Alexander Gonsalves turned in an unforgettable performance of Memory from Cats! to earn first place in the senior category.

The complete list of winners for the 2023 Young Artist Competition:

Junior Division:
1st - Emma Grace Stead
2nd - Hailey Gougeon
3rd -.Henry Hawkins AND Sienna Ethier
Honourable mention: Chase Kovacs

Senior Division:
1st - Alexander Gonsalves
2nd - Rachel Kelly
3rd - Nicole Martin
Honourable mention: Sarah Mills