Unlike most 11-year-olds, Matthew Flinders Anglican College student Keira Carter was happy to forgo her recent September school holidays to star in her first professional musical, ‘Annie’.
A Year 5 student at Flinders on the Sunshine Coast, Keira was chosen as Tessie, one of the six orphan characters to perform alongside the lead role of Annie.
The musical played 10 shows at the Noosa and Caloundra event centres with the Mad About Theatre group in the September school holidays.
“It was my first professional musical and I was excited to be a part of it – even the eight-week rehearsal was a fun experience,” Keira says.
“I loved the experience because I made so many good friends and I learnt new things about singing, dancing and acting from the directors,” she says.
“I was sad when we sang our last song in our last show because I didn’t want it to end.”
Flinders principal Stuart Meade said Keira was a great example of a Flinders student embracing new opportunities.
“Our mission at Flinders is to cultivate in each student a love of learning and a spirit to achieve mastery and personal best,” Mr Meade said.
“Keira is demonstrating these characteristics and competencies and we look forward to watching her grow and develop further through our music program and her extra-curricular commitments.”
Flinders Head of Primary Music Lenora Phillips noted that Keira was a valued member of the Flinders Choir and plays the clarinet in the Flinders Band.
Both groups perform at the local eisteddfod and also at various local events and for community projects, such as their regular visits to perform for residents at local nursing homes.
“Keira is a dedicated musician who excels in all aspects of music,” says Lenora. “It is a pleasure to teach her.”
Keira follows in the musical theatre footsteps of her grandfather, Max Ellicott, who has performed in musicals throughout his life and continues to enjoy singing on stage.
She started dance lessons at age three, and has always loved singing. She began piano at age six, clarinet at eight, and singing lessons at age nine.
Keira’s mother Paula says her daughter has pursued her passion for musical theatre and gives her roles 100%.
“I love watching Keira perform as the love she has for it is written all over her face,” Paula says.
“Her dedication and commitment is admirable. She will learn all her lines as soon as she gets the script and practise the choreography at home until she has it perfectly memorised.”
Keira’s advice to other students keen to follow their passion for music and performing is to practise as much as possible and to start in a large group before trying solo roles.
“I would also say that when you first audition, you might miss out on the role but that is ok. It will help your confidence each time you try something new.”
Keira is passionate about her future in musical theatre, and spends most afternoons at either dance, piano, singing or acting lessons.
Her younger sister, a Year 4 student at Flinders, also loves dancing and plays trumpet. She intends to follow her big sister’s inspiring lead and audition for musicals in the future.