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Daniel Reale - Neverland to Wonderland

Date Posted: 31/07/2015

Many youth are just born to be in theatre.  They are the ones that put on plays in their living rooms, sing into hairbrushes and dance on coffee tables. They have taken centre stage since the moment they entered the world. They stand out in a crowd, overflow with confidence, and know exactly who they are and what they want to do. This, however, is not always the case.

Sometimes young people enter Theatre Orangeville programs unsure of themselves and anxious.  They do not know what to expect, or if it's the right place for them to be... Will they fit in? Will they make friends? Can they muster the courage to jump in and try it out? 

They very quickly discover the magic that happens in theatre is unique. There's a room full of kids from different schools and different backgrounds. They have different hobbies and interests. All of a sudden, they realize they have one commonality that instantly brings them together and puts them on an even playing field. They have outgoing imaginations and are anxious to try something new. Over the course of their program those imaginations expand, explore and ultimately create something wonderful. Everyone fits in and finds their place, and for some... they find their path.

Daniel Reale was a young boy of eight when he first walked through our doors. He didn't know what to expect when he walked into the room but he found what he was looking for. That was more than half of his life ago, and we've come to know him quite well over the years. 

Daniel has participated in our youth programs, performed in several of our Young Companies and assisted our directors as a youth leader.   He now mentors the young kids now who are enjoying the same programs in which he once participated. This summer he is the Assistant Director of both Young Company productions,  Mary Poppins and Alice in Wonderland! He's working alongside Directors that were once, (and continue to be), his mentors and experiencing being a part of the creative team. When asked about his experiences with Theatre Orangeville, who he was when he started out, how far he's come, and what it's like to be in the rehearsal space:

"It's such an inclusive space, and at a time when I wasn't totally comfortable with myself in school, it was just a great place to go and meet people like me. I got involved there, and kept going through the young companies, and last year I got two awesome parts, and learned a lot from the directors we had, Colin Simmons, and Pam. [This year] I got offered the job. I think from the training the Young Company has given me, I'm pretty prepared for it!"

Pictured below: Dan Reale as The Beast, and Romeo (Jayde Lavoie as Juliet) 2014


During his role as Assistant Director, Dan has also been acting as a Production Assistant in our shop, helping to build the set and props for the productions. He has really come to understand and appreciate the process and the extensive amount of work and man hours it takes to bring it all together. He commented on the how blown away he was to finally understand the other side of what we do:

"When you're a participant, it's all pretty illusive, so it's cool when you see [the Director] say, 'Hey, we need one more chimney sweep', to understand and appreciate that it's like an hour and a half of somebody's life putting that together."

I asked Dan what, if any, impact Theatre Orangeville has had on his life and indeed this experience has been one he won't forget: 

"I definitely feel a lot more confident than I felt coming in to the Young Company, as a little dude, 10 years old, going into 'The Enchantment of Peter Pan'. I feel a lot more comfortable with myself, and a lot more confident in my abilities. Going into it, I would have never imagined I would get a lead role. To start, that's not something I would do. Now, after a summer of getting leads, and now, assistant directing, that's something I never imagined going into it. After I was offered the job, I was like, 'Yeah, I'm going to do that!'"

Daniel has really taken on the role and has added great value to the program. His daily contributions are invaluable to making this summer's Young Companies outstanding experiences for anyone involved, cast, crew, and audience members alike. Congratulations Daniel on your achievements, and thank you for your continued passion in the performing arts, and our Theatre Orangeville family!

Mary Poppins sold out all four of the performances this July and the crowds were blown away. As our crew and new cast of Alice in Wonderland embark on rehearsals next week, we're beyond excited to see another magical tale come to life on the Theatre Orangeville stage. We hope you'll join us!

Box Office: 519-942-3423



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