Learn more about the cast of The Wizard of Oz each day leading up to the opening!
JADEN BANFIELD – Oz, Munchkin Jr
Jaden is ecstatic to play the Wizard of Oz because his Mom loves the movie and has quite a few tips for him. He is looking forward to utilizing the vocal skills that he has learned in drama classes over the years. Jaden would like to send a shout out to his parents because without them this would have never been possible (literally).
MATTHEW KIERNAN – Scarecrow
I love theatre and the performing arts mainly because I really like people. I also just find it a fun thing to do. I wanted to join the Young Company because two of my old brothers had been part of the company in previous years; this will be my fourth year with the company. Aside from the previous Young Company shows I have been in, I have been in other small performances at Lighthouse Festival Theatre and was an MC for the Maureen Dodd Talent Show a few years ago. I would like to give a shout out to Marcus Lundgren, our director, and my older brothers Thomas and Daniel Kiernan for inspiring me to join the Young Company.
XOCHILT KIERNAN – Munchkin Mayor’s Wife, Cameron Crow, Winkie
Acting is my life. There is nothing more I enjoy then being on the stage. I joined Young Company because I was inspired by my older brothers who were in previous shows. This is my third Young Company show. I’ve also been involved with other shows including the Maureen Dodd Talent Show, Seussical the Musical at Simcoe Little Theatre (as Jojo), other youth programs and Young Frankenstein (ensemble). Shout out to my older brothers Dan and Tom for teaching me to have confidence and to go get the dreams I want.
GRACE LIMA – Egregious the Sidekick
This is Grace’s first year with the Young Company and she is very excited! She has loved acting from day one. When she was nine, Grace starred as Young Cosette in Les Miserables and has also participated in the Maureen Dodd Talent Show for the past two years. She is excited to spend time this summer with the Young Company meeting new friends and developing new acting skills!
ARTHUR SHANTZ – Tin Man
Theatre and performing are my passions. I wanted to be in Young Company because I’ve been in it for four years and have enjoyed it thoroughly. I’ve been involved in three Simcoe Little Theatre productions (acting in Moon Over Buffalo and Quilting Pieces, and stage managing for Always a Bridesmaid) My strongest influence has been my mother as she is a very artistic person; she takes pride in being a creator and I’ve always respected her for her passion. Shout outs to Marcus and Nikki for putting up with my shenanigans and sarcasm all these years.
HOPE COOKSON – Russell Crow, Old Munchkin
I love theatre and performing because there’s all these new people to meet and new friends to make. I wanted to be in Young Company this year because last year one of my friends was in it and kept telling me how fun it was. This is my first year in Young Company but not my first production. I have been in four other shows before this one and competed in the Norfolk Musical Arts Festival with a short scene. I’m really glad to be here this year!
JADA DAWSON – Dorothy
My name is Jada and I am 14 years old. I’ve been acting for quite a few years. I love theatre and performing because you are always given a new challenge. You get to explore who you can be and have fun doing it! The arts, such as this, never have a dull moment. You are always thinking and exploring and having fun. I joined Young Company because a good friend of mine suggested it would definitely be for me. He was absolutely right as this is my second year in Young Company and its still interesting and enjoyable. I’ve been in various different performances stretching from school to actual theatres in the past five years. I couldn’t have done this without my parents, who have always supported me with my acting. I’d like to thank Todd Stronks, Julie McIntyre and Stephanie Downton; who were not only my elementary teachers but the people who keep pushing me to try new things and strive for success. I’d also like to thank the cast and crews I have worked with. And lastly, a shout out to our director Marcus Lundgren for 15 amazing years as the director of Young Company!
JULIANNA DAVIDSON – Glinda the Good Witch
My name is Julianna Davidson and I am 15 years old, going into grade 10. I love performing because of the feeling I get when I’m on stage, knowing that the crowd is feeding on our positive energy and returning it. Sometimes the audience response makes me so giddy I could just smile for hours after. Also, the cast gets so close and at some point it’s like a switch is flipped, all the energy and chemistry comes out between everyone. Performing isn’t just an action, it’s also a feeling and an experience.
MEGHAN BERESTECKI – Munchkin Coroner, Monkey King
I like performing and doing theatre because I can become someone else for a little while. I also like discovering more and more about my character as I play them longer. I wanted to be in Young Company after my sister, Chelsey Berestecki had performed with them for three years. She had a great time so when I was old enough, she encouraged me to audition. Before that, I have always loved being different characters and people. I always loved making people laugh. This is my second year performing with the Young Company, last year I performed in the production Beauty and the Beast. One of my biggest supporters is my grandma, Claudia Berestecki, who consistently encourages me to participate in theatre. She’s big on watching multiple shows and does a really good job of promoting plays on social media!
ELLA TAYLOR – Emeril the Emerald Guard
This is my second year with Young Company. I couldn’t wait for the new year to begin because last year’s crew and cast were so fun to work with. I love acting because I get to meet people who share the same interests as me. Before Young Company I took part in Simcoe Little Theatre’s Anne of Green Gables. I am very excited for The Wizard of Oz and I can’t wait until opening night!
JUSTIN SNIDER – Cowardly Lion
I love theatre because I feel that it helps me overcome my shyness and it gives me something to do over the summer. When I was 12, my mom told me I needed to do something aside from sitting inside all summer. I wasn’t interested in sports so I joined Young Company. I have been hooked ever since, this being my fifth year! I have participated in a lot of productions my school has done as well Young Companys productions of Peter Pan, Cinderella, Snow White and Beauty and the Beast. I don’t pay a lot of attention to theatre outside school and Young Company, so I’d say my strongest influences are the teachers at my school’s drama club as well as our director, Marcus. He’s a cool guy.
MAEVE DRYNAN – Aunt Em, Gerald the Emerald Guard
I love theatre and performing because it allows me to become a new person and enter a new world. Acting is a way to escape day to day problems and stresses. I wanted to join Young Company because I knew I would miss drama during the summer time. I do a lot of drama at school and I wouldn’t want to spend a whole summer without it! This is my first year with the Young Company, but I have done shows at Lighthouse before with their Youth Conservatory. My previous acting credits include; Sears Drama Festival entries such as ‘Competition Piece,’ ‘Chagall,’ and ‘The Lottery.’ Each of these pieces moved forward to Regionals, and I received an Award of Merit for my role in ‘The Lottery.’
CONNOR DAVISON – Munchkin Mayor, Norman the Doorman
My name is Connor and I am 12 years old. I live in Dunnville. The reason why I like theatre is because it is fun. This is my first year being in Young Company. One of the reasons why I joined Young Company is because I love The Wizard of Oz. I was also in the Lakeshore High School production of Mary Poppins, as the understudy for Michael.
JUSTINE VERVAEKE – Wicked Witch of the West
Justine is a 4-year veteran of the Young Company. Having appeared in numerous other productions including Beauty and the Beast (Belle), Snow White and Cinderella. She was also cast in Simcoe Little Theatre’s productions of Seussical and Anne of Green Gables. Justine has a strong passion for the arts and enjoys putting smiles on people’s faces. She is extremely excited to be a part of this year’s production of The Wizard of Oz. She would like to thank her family, director, crew and fellow cast members for all their support. “Enjoy the Magic!”