Acting troupe puts new spin on old classic

AFTER entering the tough audition process, Year 10 student Kate Hudson-James found herself among the 12 performers selected for the illustrious Empire Youth Arts IMPACT Ensemble this season.

The troupe, headed by Empire Youth Arts director Ari Palani, promotes work for, with and by young creatives, allowing the performers to collaborate on all parts of the play.

Tonight, the ensemble will present the effort of months of hard work, in a performance based on The Emperor’s New Clothes by Hans Christian Andersen.

Ms Hudson-James, who is one of the youngest members of the group, said she had been ecstatic to make it through the auditions.

“It’s all about opening doors and this is a great opportunity. There’s a real sense of family among the cast,” Ms Hudson-James said.

“I’ve been acting for six years now and I had my first drama class at the Empire Theatre - that’s where I fell in love with it.

“I have a sense of purpose when I’m up on stage, it’s somewhere I have agency over how I am perceived. Having that kind of power while being 15 is unusual.”

Mr Palani said they had seen an increase in performers auditioning for the ensemble year on year.

“There’s a real culture around the ensemble. Each year it keeps growing and our audience is building,” he said.

“The program is about celebrating the potential of young creatives and creating work that they want to see and be a part of.”

The (REDACTED) New Clothes tells the tale of two weavers who promise an emperor a new suit of clothes. They then tell him it’s invisible to get out of making him the garments.

Mr Palani said the subject matter would resonate with many.

“It explores the relationship between truth and lies and young people caught between the two," he said.

“The topic is really pertinent right now in the media.

“(The performance) is looking really good, but it’s always scary. If you’re not scared you’re not invested.”

There will be two performances at the Empire Theatre, one tonight and one tomorrow at 7.30pm. For more information visit

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