Here is Nine’s newly-cast Hi-5 troupe, returning to screen after a 5 year absence.
Their first public performance will be at Carols by Candlelight on Christmas Eve.
They are (from L to R) Shay Clifford, Joe Kalou, Bailey Spalding, Lachie Dearing & Courtney Clarke, chosen from more than 450 “triple threat” performers, staging over 200 auditions in four days.
“We were blown away with the enormous interest from performers across Australia wanting to be part of Hi-5,” Julie Greene, Executive Creative Director and Executive Producer said.
“The judging process was extremely tough with so much talent on show, but we know our audiences will fall in love with the new members, just like we have.”
The revived act, which was once owned by CEO Hugh Marks, will head into production on a new series in January.
“We’re elated to have Hi-5 return to the Nine family. A new generation of Australian kids and parents will be able to discover this cherished children’s group reimagined for a modern world,” Hamish Turner, Nine Network Program Director, said.
“This is the first announcement in what will be a number of exciting new chapters for Hi-5, which will be a flagship children’s program on Nine. We look forward to supporting them both on Go! Kids and with touring, licensing and merchandising as they hit the road in 2017,” Alison Hurbert-Burns, Nine’s Head of Commercial Development, said.
Hi-5 was first launched in Australia in 1998.
Shay (18), also from the Blue Mountains, has just completed the HSC. She discovered her love of musical theatre at 13 and has been performing ever since. “When I received the call that I had made the cast I cried and mum and I headed out to celebrate,” she said.
Joe (24), based on the NSW Central Coast, is a regular performer, doing live gigs and touring, including with the late Jon English in The Rock Show, nationally and in Sweden. “I was on my way to a gig when my agent gave me the good news and decided to drive home and tell my parents face-to-face. There were tears all around,” he said.
Former Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts (WAAPA) graduate and X Factor Australia contestant Bailey (19), from Perth, says making the cast was a lifelong ambition. “Wow! I cried when I found out. I’ve been so emotionally invested in Hi-5 and have dreamt of being in the show since I was a little girl.”
Lachie (19), a sports fanatic, who thrilled Hi-5 live audiences when he began touring earlier this year, elected to re-audition for a role. He said: “I’m relieved and excited to be starting with a cast that are all new, similar ages and excited by the opportunity. Being in Hi-5 is such a humbling and rewarding experience.”
Courtney (18), from the Blue Mountains in NSW, has just undertaken a gap year volunteering in Cambodia where she worked on community projects including building a primary school.
The first Hi-5 performances in Australia include:
December 24 8.00pm Vision Australia’s Carols by Candlelight
Sidney Myer Music Bowl, Melbourne
January 14 2.00pm Hi-5 Summer Holiday Show
Crowne Plaza, Hunter Valley
January 15 2.00pm Hi-5 Summer Holiday Show
Fairmont Resort, Blue Mountains