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Budding young star . . . Johanna Schoneveld is the first recipient of Musical Theatre Oamaru's new youth scholarship. PHOTO: REBECCA RYAN

A magical transformation occurs when Johanna Schoneveld steps on to the stage.

In real life, the Waitaki Girls’ High School pupil is an introverted bookworm, but on stage, she loves the opportunity to take on a completely different personality.

“I guess it’s just fun to be someone else,” she said.

Johanna (13) is the first recipient of Musical Theatre Oamaru’s (MTO) new annual youth scholarship, which was awarded at the society’s recent general meeting. She is going to use the scholarship money to take singing lessons.

Johanna joined Musical Theatre Oamaru last year, taking part in the children’s theatre production Wind in the Willows. Earlier this year, she was in the cast of the combined Waitaki secondary schools production Aotearoa

At present, she is rehearsing for the Broadway Junior version of Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, in which she plays the role of Toymaker, and is a member of her school’s drama club and choir.

“I wanted to have a go at doing some productions, and I quite like them, I guess,” she said.

Johanna liked most aspects of performing arts – especially acting.

She was also interested in singing, and the scholarship would go towards lessons with Weston teacher Rebecca Ryan.

Recognising the need to mentor and encourage its young members, MTO decided to launch an annual scholarship to help the district’s youth develop their skills in a chosen performance area, such as speech, drama, music or singing.

A bequest from Eric Fleetwood and a donation from the Ruby Marris Foundation was used to finance the youth scholarship.