Celeste Catena plays Miss Shields in A Christmas Story - The Musical as part of the Kelowna Actors Studio. - Image Credit: Photo Contributed

Actors fundraiser for trip to the Big Apple

From the little apple to the big one, these Kelowna Actors Studio students are working hard

At the Kelowna Actors Studio, students dream of becoming artists living in the Big Apple.

And they’re making their dreams a reality by fundraising for a trip to New York, planning to attend workshops and delve into the experience.

One student is particularly interested in sampling the Big Apple.

Celeste Catena is graduating from the actors studio and was accepted into the Bachelor of Music Theatre Performance program at Sheridan College in Ontario at the end of March.

The 17-year-old says it’s been a dream of hers since she was young to visit New York, and attends the actor’s studio while studying part-time at Okanagan Mission Secondary.

“It’s all about being in the atmosphere of New York. For a lot of us it’s where we want to end up and for me my end goal is to be a performer so it’s something to wrap up the year and give us the incentive and motivation that we need,” she said. “Theatre’s been a huge part of my childhood, going to New York is such a dream of mine, I’m really looking forward to that. Just having the experience and to work with professionals and see where I might end up one day is the push I need.”

Catena started dancing in Kelowna at Reflections Dance Studio before she injured her leg.

She saw the silver lining to the event, however, when she found her singing voice. Singing turned to acting and since joining the studio a year ago she’s been learning as much as she can.

The self-proclaimed perfectionist says her struggle lies with acting, as she continues to gain confidence and overcome her own worst critic, herself.

“I’ve definitely grown a lot this year,” she said, adding studio artistic director Randy Leslie has helped her overcome her challenges.

“She’s an amazing kid, she was picked out of 100 students,” said Leslie.

As for the trip to New York, “It really is about the educational component,” said Leslie adding students will attend workshops with professionals to increase their abilities.

The students have been fundraising since September, so “this is kind of like the last push for us,” he said.

The trip will cost the 13 students, along with staff and chaperones around $35,000.

In the next few months, the studio will be holding fundraisers and performances in order to meet their goal.

Their next studio performance Spring Awakening will be held from May 11 to 13. Tickets can be purchased online through the studio website.

Broadway or Bust, on June 13, gives audiences another chance to help fundraiser with a silent auction.

“We’re hoping to have a sold-out show,” said Catena.

The public can also help fundraiser through a website called FundScript.

Purchasing gift cards through the website allows the actor’s studio to receive a percentage of the purchase. The purchaser does not lose money by purchasing gift cards. To help fundraise visit www.fundscrip.com/Sign-Up.aspx?IID=KAUNBP.

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