Award winner Caelan Thomas.

Local Musical Talent Wins Prestigious Award


Recently local nineteen year-old Rolleston performer Caelan Thomas attended the Musical Theatre New Zealand (MTNZ) Conference in Nelson on behalf of Kirwee Players.

While in attendance he was announced as the winner of the Music Theatre International Australasia (MTIA) Nola Speir Patron’s NextGen Encouragement Award 2017.

“This is a prestigious award, and those who have won it in the past have gone on to be involved at a very high level within performing arts,” Courtney Hyde, a member of Kirwee Players explained.

“I was totally shocked when I won the award, I wasn’t aware I’d even been nominated,” an enthusiastic Caelan said.

“There were so many incredibly talented people there as well, it didn’t even register as a possibility. It was all a bit surreal, but I was ecstatic, I went outside straight afterwards and called my Mum.”

Caelan started playing piano at age four and worked his way toward the achievement of many piano and music accolades.

While he trained initially in classical piano, he has moved into more modern, jazz and improvisation styles in recent times.

Caelan’s first introduction to ‘shows’ was when he played in  High School Musical in 2014 for Lincoln High School.

Since then, Caelan has starred in five other major productions for both Kirwee Players and the Halswell Drama Group. More recently he has taken  on the role of Musical Director for two Kirwee Kids productions.

He is a multitalented musician  who has accompanied others in examinations, and currently plays as a keyboardist in the band ‘General Admission’. He is now leading and playing piano for the Darfield hub of the Selwyn Community Choir, and acting as co-musical director and conductor when the full choir (Rolleston and Darfield hubs) combine for performances.

“Winning the award has opened up a world of opportunities for me. I’ve made a contact with the managing director of MTIA, and have been invited to another MTNZ conference in Cambridge at the end of  August.

“Musical Theatre is a huge passion of mine, and I’ve now got the ability to explore and further that passion and continue to learn,” a smiling Caelan concluded.