Heather Colpitts/Langley Advance Mackenzie Sturn and Jos Portillo are Grade 10 students at Walnut Grove Secondary and portray Belle and the Beast, respectively.

Director sees something inside young Langley stars

Two Grade 10 students have been cast as the leads in the Beauty and the Beast at Walnut Grove Secondary.

A Grade 10 student turns a beast into a babe in the Walnut Grove Secondary production of Beauty and the Beast.

Mackenzie Sturn didn’t expect to get the lead in the show by the school’s musical theatre department, Theatre in the Grove. It’s not her first time on stage in a school production but playing the butler in last year’s Joseph and the Technicolor Dreamcoat is a far cry from the lead.

“I was really excited,” she said about her reaction to getting the lead female role.

She likes the challenge of playing a character who’s looking for adventure and romance.

Sturn’s idea of adventure doesn’t include continuing in the arts after high school, although she isn’t prepared to forsake her artistic side entirely.

“I’m planning on going into the sciences, like to be a doctor,” she said. “But I definitely do want to continue doing productions.”

Opposite Sturn is the beast, known offstage as Grade 10 student Jos Portillo.

“I didn’t expect to get Beast,” he commented.

For both of the young actors, the show, part of the wildly popular Disney portfolio of stage shows, is a chance to deliver a message.

“I hope people get the message from this that you can find the most precious things in the most uncommon situations,” Portillo said.

For Sturn, it’s about not judging people solely by appearances.

“What’s within really matters,” she added.

This production runs April 20, 21, 22, 27, 28 and 29 at the school, 8919 Walnut Grove Dr., at 7 p.m. as well as a 2 p.m. matinee April 29.

Tickets are $15 for adults and $12 for students and seniors, but there’s two special shows. Tickets for Be Our Guest dinner shows are $25 for adults and $20 for students and seniors. The April 27 show is pretty much sold out but it’s also being held April 20. (There are also regular tickets available for the April 20 and 27 shows that do not include dinner.)

Dinner is prepared by students in the ACE IT program, a partnership with Vancouver Community College’s culinary program. ACE IT allows high school students to receive post-secondary level training in a trade.

The lucky dinner theatre ticketholders will dine starting at 5:30 p.m. with the show at 7 p.m. Find out about tickets at theatreinthegrove.brownpapertickets.com. For information, contact theatreinthegrove@sd35.bc.ca or 604-882-0220 ext. 580.


Heather Colpitts/Langley Advance Several of the students in the show are all graduating this year and taking arts courses in post secondary. Cole Smuland is headed to Capilano University College to study theatre. Mariya Oskam plans to study musical theatre and Devon Vecchio’s plans are to take theatre production and management at the University of Victoria. Rachel Macadam will study acting at UVIC.