The halls of Tamworth's Capitol Theatre were filled with applause on Saturday as more than 400 people cheered on the students of O'Grady Drama Tamworth during their end-of-year showcase.
The theatre was abuzz with excitement as kids aged five to 18 took the stage to perform a wide variety of drama and musical theatre.
Director and principal Ben Mettam said the best part of the day was seeing his youngest students perform for the first time.
"They're so scared and nervous, then they step out onto the stage under the lights with the music," Mr Mettam said.
"Then they step off, run up, and say 'that was the best experience of my life.' It's funny hearing that from a five-year-old."
The event gave 150 budding performers from across Tamworth the chance to show off a year of hard work and creativity.
The school itself benefited too, raising money from ticket sales to go towards props, costumes, and venue hire for future classes.
Mr Mettam said another moment that touched his heart was seeing a student from his very first class in 2018 perform as part of O'Grady's for the last time.
He said he couldn't imagine the theatrical journey that started five years ago with only 12 students would go this far and become as big as it is today.
"This is actually only the second year I've joined everything together for a big showcase in the Capitol Theatre," Mr Mettam said.
The first showcase was in 2019, but the COVID pandemic put a halt on future showcases.
Now that the pandemic has receded, Mr Mettam is proud to say the showcase will be returning to the Capitol Theatre every year from now on.
"The kids love it. They get to socialise, get off the screens, and spend time with their family and friends," he said.
If the success of this year's showcase is any indication, the drama school will have a future in Tamworth's spotlight for years to come.