Talented Penrith duo set for Junior Theatre Festival in US

Kaylie Camilleri and Erika Loizou. Photo: Melinda Jane.
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After a number of challenging competitions, two Penrith students have been selected to represent Australia in the US as Aussie All Stars at next year’s Junior Theatre Festival, but they need your support to turn their dreams into a reality.

Erika Loizou and Kaylie Camilleri met through Fantasia Showstoppers in Richmond just a few years ago, though they’ve both been involved in the arts for much longer.

After being selected by Fantasia to be involved in a Junior Theatre Festival pilot program in Newcastle last year, the two were nominated to audition for the Aussie All Stars Program, which they were ultimately selected for amongst hundreds of attendees.

The Junior Theatre Festival in Atlanta 2025 will see them travel to the US in January, first heading to New York for a series of auditions and workshops with industry professionals before flying to Atlanta to perform their given musical, competing against other companies from all over the world.

If they take out the competition in round robin-style heats, they’ll get to take it to the main stage.

“We have some friends who were in it last year, so it was really good for us to see what we were getting to do, and they actually won, so they did get to perform on the main stage,” Erika said.

Erika Loizou and Kaylie Camilleri chat with journalist Cassidy Pearce. Photo: Melinda Jane.

After this, they’ll get to see plenty more shows, take workshops with the stars, then fly over to LA for more workshops and a performance at Disneyland.

But, of course, this comes with significant costs, so the girls put their heads together to come up with a way to make it happen.

“In this industry, it’s like a ladder where you start out really small, and it’s hard for our families to get us higher in the industry, so we wanted to raise money to help us get there,” Kaylie said.

According to Mulgoa local Erika, the best idea became clear pretty quickly.

“When we were looking at fundraising, we were thinking of doing a raffle or something else, and then we realised, ‘We know what we can do best, and that’s musical theatre!’,” Erika said.

“We asked a couple of our friends and performers that we know are amazing to come and join us, and they were all so willing. We’re so grateful that they’re going to be helping us along the way.”

Kaylie Camilleri and Erika Loizou. Photo: Melinda Jane.

The two girls will be staging a show aptly titled ‘Erika and Kaylie’s Evening of Musical Theatre’ at the Richmond School of Arts next month.

Though juggling school and planning hasn’t been easy, the girls said it’s all coming together through monthly rehearsals, and plenty of Zoom meetings.

“We have started rehearsing with just our friends. Together, we came up with a couple of ideas. It started off as three or four songs, and now we’re up to 17 performances,” Erika said.

“Next Friday’s our first costume run, which is very exciting!”

Kaylie, from Berkshire Park, agreed with the sentiment.

“We’re just grateful that we can make it become a reality,” she said.

Though they do have a few sponsors so far, including a major sponsor in Bennett Property Group, Erika and Kaylie are hoping for more support from the community to make the trip happen, and are specifically looking for song and program sponsorships, as well as raffle prizes for the night.

But, there is one key way to show your support – and it comes with a great night of singing and dancing.

“If you don’t own a business or can’t donate raffle prizes, just come see the show!” Erika said.

“It’s going to be amazing, and it really is going to show how much talent we have in Penrith in the arts.”

For tickets, visit https://bit.ly/440csW7. Visit their Facebook page, ‘Erika and Kaylie’s Evening of Musical Theatre’ for more information, or to contact the girls.

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