School Of Rock Training Our Next Generation Of Stars

The Andrews Labor Government is backing the state’s best and brightest young performers starting their careers in the performing arts – with extra resources to enforce tough child employment laws.

Minister for Industry and Employment Ben Carroll today visited Jason Coleman’s School of Dance to meet the cast of School of Rock, who are busy rehearsing ahead of opening night at Her Majesty’s Theatre next month.

School of Rock, a musical by Andrew Lloyd Webber based on the 2003 smash hit movie, features 36 children aged between nine and 13 years – including 31 children from Victoria.

As Australia’s musical theatre capital, Victorian children have had the opportunity to perform in smash hit shows including Matilda, Kinky Boots, The Lion King, The Sound of Music and Dream Lover – The Bobby Darrin Story.

Steady growth in Victoria’s entertainment industry – including film, television, commercials and musical theatre – has seen a 20 per cent increase in child employment applications.

In 2017/18, over 11,000 child employment permits were issued, up from 10,000 in 2016/17 – 17 per cent of which were for children working in live performance.

The Victorian Budget 2018/19 included $22 million to establish Wage Inspectorate Victoria, which will have more resources to manage the increased demand for child employment permits and enforce child employment laws.

The Child Employment Act requires employers seeking to hire children under 15 years old to apply for a permit from Wage Inspectorate Victoria.

The permit system is designed to protect children, ensuring they are safe, not working longer hours than they can physically or mentally handle, and that they keep up with their schooling.

Victoria is the undisputed home of theatre, with ticket revenue up 40 per cent from $57 million in 2015 to $80 million in 2016 and attendance up by 19 per cent.

Victoria is set for another big year in theatre in 2019, with Harry Potter and the Cursed Child Parts One and Two opening at the Princess Theatre in January, as well as smash hit musical Come From Away and Muriel’s Wedding.

Victoria is also set to host the 2019 Helpmann Awards for the first time, having secured the rights to bring the awards from Sydney to Melbourne.

Quotes attributable to Minister for Industry and Employment Ben Carroll

“We’re giving Victoria’s best and brightest young performers the chance to shine on the big stage – and thanks to the Labor Government, parents can have confidence that they’ll be looked after and protected.”

“With more and more productions using children in their ensembles – it’s important we have strong laws in place to protect them.”

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