Sunday 22 September 2019

So, your tot is talented? Start thinking ahead to 2016's Toy Show

The Toy Show used to be the domain of stage school kids, predominantly those who attended the Billie Barry school, as the woman herself was involved with choreographing the routines during the Gaybo era. Nowadays though, your child doesn't have to be a veteran of the boards to get on the show. For the first time this year, producers took the performance auditions for the Toy Show nationwide, visiting Dublin, Cork, Sligo and Athlone.

Parents and teachers had to fill in a form and send in a tape of the performance, be it for one child or 80 of them, and those who impressed the team were invited to audition. Levelling the playing field, it means that even children without professional coaching has a shot at singing and dancing on the famous set.

"We had the most amazing reception everywhere we went," Tubridy told RTE afterwards. "We have buckets of talent in this country and we found some real gems. The idea was to meet the children on their home turf - to take the show to them - so that they would be relaxed and at their best and it worked."

It's not all about singing and dancing though - some kids are just born personalities who are perfect toy testers. They too have to submit an audition tape, and potential demonstrators congregated in Dublin in late October to see if they were worthy of the honour.

But according to Alison Vard Miller of MissAliStageSchool.ie, kids should be preparing way, way in advance.

"I'm giving away trade secrets here, but just because the audition notice goes out in September doesn't mean your child should start then. I say start in May! Because it's all about being prepared well in advance. Producers are looking for something unique and original that stands out."

Alison also says that the demo tapes should be as professional-looking as possible. "Wear a costume, have a nice bright or white backdrop, decide on a theme and stick with it. Some people try to do everything, but pick something - sing, dance or play - and be passionate."

This year, producers have alluded to the biggest group performance yet, although no concrete details have emerged. So if you want your little one to grace the Toy Show, if they're talented and between five and 12 years of age, perhaps it's wise to take Alison's advice and get them practicing now. It hasn't been confirmed if the new audition format will continue around the country, but one thing is certain - the Toy Show producers are always looking for the next big thing.

And even if your child doesn't sing and dance, there's hope - a nine-year-old boy from Cavan bagged himself a job as a stage hand on this year's show after writing a lovely letter to Ryan Tubridy.

Charlie Brunton from Mountnugent sent the host a note asking: "On this year's Late Late Toy Show can I help set up the stage? I understand if I can't. I am a big boy... well big muscles anyway." How could Tubs resist?

- Vicki Notaro

Irish Independent

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