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‘Little Mermaid Jr.’ swims up to the CPAC stage for 2 performances on May 24

Queen Margaret School sees their biggest cast to date with 118 students in their latest production

The students of Queen Margaret’s School take theatre aficionados on an under the sea adventure with Ariel and her aquatic friends on May 24 with two performances of The Little Mermaid Jr.

“It’s thrilling to present another Jr. School musical at the Cowichan Performing Arts Centre,” said director Tilly Lorence. “The idea for Little Mermaid Jr. came from our fine arts teacher Rebecca Clausen, who recommended it for its well-known tunes, colorful roles, and enchanting story. I agreed it would be a great follow-up to last year’s Seussical Jr.”

READ MORE: Duncan’s QMS students bring Dr. Seuss to life, on the big stage in ‘Seussical Jr.’

Adapted from the Broadway production and Disney’s feature animated film, Little Mermaid Jr. follows the adventures of the young mermaid Ariel who dreams of trading her ocean home, and mermaid tail in for some land legs and a chance to explore the world above sea level. Acting on this wish means defying her father King Triton, while making a deal with the evil sea witch, Ursula. To find true love she must convince the noble and handsome Prince Eric that she’s the girl whose enchanting voice he’s been in search of. Based on one of Hans Christian Andersen’s most beloved stories, this tale takes an enchanting look at the sacrifices one is willing to make for love and acceptance.

Lorence, who directed the 19 actors who took on various roles for their sold out performances of Puffs last month, is having a blast directing this production which boasts a cast of 118 students ranging from Grades 3 through 7. According to Lorence it is the largest cast they have ever had.

All the prime roles are being played by students in Grade 7 who have been in at least two QMS Jr. shows previously. Lorence said students in Grades 3 and 4 have been learning their roles during their music classes, while the core cast of 47 students have given up their free time during recess and after school to rehearse two to three times a week.

Stepping up into their first-ever lead roles are Grace Draper as the little mermaid Ariel, and Ashira John as Prince Eric. Other notable cast members include Emi Saettler as Ursula, Kayla Kazoleas as Flounder, Charlotte Irving as Sebastien, Charlotte Gave as Scuttle, and Cosmo Monro as King Triton.

“Grace began acting to overcome her stage fright, and it’s been remarkable witnessing her growth and becoming more and more confident in playing her role,” said Lorence. “My favourite part of directing this show has been witnessing the students’ natural creative impulses. I feel like I’ve done very little acting coaching with this show. Each actor brought a natural quality to their roles and a chemistry among them that just worked without me interfering too much. I enjoyed stepping back and letting them explore. Additionally, I enjoyed working with our strong production team; all the teachers and volunteers did amazing jobs, which made the process of putting this show together both joyful and seamless.”

There will be a 1 p.m. matinee for QMS students in which rows K through P will be available to the public as well as an evening performance at 6 p.m. Tickets are $25, or $15 for students and can be purchased at

”Little Mermaid Jr. is a tale of transformation and determination, following Ariel’s journey to self-discovery as her endless curiosity about those who are different from her leads her to explore a new culture and ultimately fall in love,” said Lorence. “I hope the audience is reminded of the power of remaining curious about people and things that are different from ourselves and the courage it takes to embrace the unknown.”