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Cowichan’s St. Johns Academy students take flight with ‘Mary Poppins Jr.’

Performances of Mary Poppins are at 7 p.m. on April 19 and at 2 p.m., and 7 p.m. on April 20
St. John’s Academy students Halle Dow (left) as Michael, Kaelen Birtwistle as Mary Poppins and Izzy Fawcus who plays Jane poses for the school’s upcoming production of ‘Mary Poppins Jr.’ that will have two 7 p.m. performances and one 2 p.m. matinee from April 19 to 20. (Courtesy of Kayla Dangerfield)

“Just a spoonful of sugar helps the medicine goes down, in the most delightful way!” — Mary Poppins

Fans of the nifty nostalgic nanny will be in store for a sweet treat as the students of St. John’s Academy present two evening performances and one matinee of their musical Mary Poppins Jr. on April 19, and 20 on the big stage at the Cowichan Performing Arts Centre in Duncan.

READ MORE: Cowichan’s St. John’s Academy brings 1st ever production to stage with ‘Frozen Jr.’

“After last year’s production of Frozen Jr. the school wanted to keep with the magical theme and chose this current play, before I stepped in,” said director Kayla Dangerfield. “Mary Poppins Jr. is a musical where Mary Poppins helps the Banks family to truly see each other and have compassion for those around them using a sense of wonder, a kind guiding hand and a little magic.”

Dangerfield, who is associated with the Shawnigan Kids Theatre Troupe, has been actively involved in various youth theatre productions over the past seven years including other classics made popular by Disney such as Peter Pan, Alice In Wonderland and The Jungle Book. Her roles have included both stage manager and co-director. When St. John’s Academy was looking for a director to help get Mary Poppins Jr. off the ground it was the Cowichan South Arts Guild who passed along Dangerfield’s name knowing she would be a good fit to ensure this musical was a supercalifragilisticexpialidocious success. Dangerfield noted she has been able to embrace her role as director while coordinating her responsibilities with Shawnigan Kids Theatre Troupe.

“I actually began performing in local theatre productions including Shakespeare at the age of 14 here in the Cowichan Valley where I grew up and have lived much of my adult life,” said Dangerfield.

Now, Dangerfield gets to guide young people with her passion and experience much like Mary Poppins. With a cast of 30 students ranging from Grades 4 through 12, stepping into the lead roles of this production is Kaelen Birtwistle as Mary Poppins, Max Bethel as Bert, Izzy Fawcus as Jane, Halle Dowas Michael, Kai Dyson-Voll as Winifred Banks and Tristan Girvan as George Banks.

“My favourite part of directing this production has been getting to know this talented cast and the immense support of the students, in particular Elise Mulder who has tirelessly worked on the sets, props and costume coordination, and also Olivia Calico who is amazingly competent as stage manager,” said Dangerfield. “It has also been wonderful to have the support of musical director Tristan Clausen, who is a wonderful vocal instructor and a crucial element of the success of this production. I so appreciated having them all part of the team. We have also been lucky enough to have Bonnie Cuthbertson of LT Dance Studios helping us with choreography.”

“I hope attendees leave with a greater love and appreciation for the arts, and the notion that anything can happen if you let it.”

Tickets are $25 for adults and $20 for seniors and children. Check out to purchase.

St. John’s Academy presents two evening shows and one matinee performance of Mary Poppins on April 19 and 20. (Submitted)