Young Richmond artists taking new approach to musical theatre in a time of crisis

A Richmond faith-based organization specializing in performing arts will launch a musical titled Secret Santa and The Surprising Gift Factory on Dec. 20 through their YouTube channel. 

The 20-minute video - performed by students aged from five to 17 from Childlike Faith Academy (CFA) - is based on the story of Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, a 1970s musical fantasy.

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But the new production will adopt some Christmas elements and a bunch of ideas from young artists, said Elizabeth Chau, artistic director and principal of CFA. 

“And all children are working with instructors to come up with the storyline for this musical. The theme of the video is creating a meaningful message to spread love and encouragement to the community. 

“Children are thankful that they finally get a chance to unleash their potential on the stage, which they have been hoping for quite a long time since the pandemic hit B.C.,” said Chau, adding that actual production is the best way for people to enjoy the beauty of performing arts. 

2020 has been a tough year for many theatres and artists due to the new COVID-19 restrictions, and the CFA is no exception.

CFA was supposed to put on a show for the public back in June, but it has been postponed due to the ongoing health crisis, leaving many passionate children and parents feeling sad and disappointed, added Chau. 

“Without the annual musical production, not only our students couldn’t perform, but we were also unable to fundraise for our annual operation costs, which put us in a challenging position, facing a deficit.”

The musical will be available on CFA’s YouTube channel on Dec. 20. Chau hopes anyone that feels touched by the work will make a donation online to support them.

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