SCHOOL HOLIDAY FUN: Hunter Drama presents Disney's Aladdin Jr at Cessnock Performing Arts Centre on July 20 and 21

This school holidays Hunter Drama will present Disney's Aladdin Jr on stage in Cessnock, bringing the Disney classic to life with local children as the stars of the shows.

The Hunter Drama production team of directors, choreographer and musical directors toured the Hunter region in March of this year, giving students aged nine to 18 years the opportunity to become cast members of the show.

Disney's Aladdin Jr is a special 60-minute abridged version of the full-length Broadway musical that has been reworked to suit young performers.

Shyla Schillert, who is playing Princess Jasmine in the Cessnock production, said it has been an amazing experience.

“The fact that we have had this opportunity in our own backyards in Cessnock has been great,” she said.

“Normally you would have to travel for something like this so the fact that they have brought the show to us is great.”

Through its partnership with Musical Theatre International Australasia, which licenses the Broadway Jr collection, Hunter Drama is now able to offer their internationally-recognised program to a much broader range of performers in the Hunter region.

Twenty-five million people have attended more than 200,000 Broadway Junior productions globally and five million kids have become involved thanks to 500,000 teachers, with numbers continuing to grow.

“This has been the best experience learning so much from the professional teachers,” Cessnock cast member Tahlia Smith said.

Disney’s Aladdin Jr is sure to send you soaring on a magic carpet ride filled with romance, laughs and adventure.

The show will feature all of your favourite Aladdin characters, including Iago, Jafar, the Genie and more, as well as show-stoppers such as Friend Like Me, Prince Ali and the Grammy Award-winning A Whole New World.

The Cessnock production will feature 29 local children, with Kaleb Shearer as Aladdin, Shyla Schillert as Princess Jasmine, Holly Bell as the Genie, Macauley Blissett as Jafar, Andy Bell as Iago and Rachael Palazzi as the Sultan.

Some of the cast members also featured in the Newcastle production of Disney’s Aladdin Jr in April.

“I can’t wait to be onstage and show everyone what we have been working on,” Macauley said.

“When we all sing as a group it gives me goosebumps.”

Shows will be held at the Cessnock Performing Arts Centre on Friday, July 20 at 7pm, and Saturday, July 21 at 2pm and 7pm. For bookings, visit or phone 4993 4266.