Aidan’s Starlight Wish Comes True

aidan at a theatre

If you are granted one wish what would it be?

Some people might wish for something grand like winning Tattslotto, a world trip or world peace others wish for smaller things like an opportunity to meet their childhood hero.

Several years ago, Aidan, a participant at OC Connections, was recommended by his healthcare professional to the Starlight Children’s Foundation (Starlight) for a Starlight Wish. The Starlight Wish program is available to children and young people up to the age of 22. Last week, thanks to the great work of the Starlight team including Rachel Muraca, Aidan’s wish came true.

Since he was very young Aidan has had a love of musicals, theatre, film and television. He currently writes a regular blog reviewing the many shows he and his family go to see. His very first live musical “The Lion King” captivated him from the moment it started with its magnificent music and powerful imagery.

However, of all the shows he has seen the one he loves the most is The Sound of Music. The original film (and later the Melbourne stage production), has remained his favourite for many years. Last week Aidan got the chance to meet one of the actors from the original film, Nicholas Hammond. Nicholas played Frederick the oldest son of the Von Trapp family in The Sound of Music movie produced in 1965. Nicholas has gone on to act in many film, TV and stage productions over the years and now works mostly as a director and writer.

The character of Frederick in The Sound of Music epitomises brotherly kindness and generosity. In the brief time that we spent with Nicholas, who played the role, it was obvious why he was chosen. Nicholas Hammond was kind and generous with his time and shared many enthralling stories about the character he has played, the people he’s worked with and the stages he has performed on. Aidan was thrilled to not only meet his hero but to be entertained with wonderful anecdotes from many years of “walking the boards”.

Aidan and his mother Jen arrived at the Regent Theatre in a stretch limousine and were greeted by Jason Marriner, the CEO of the Marriner Group, owners of  the Regent, Princess and Forum theatres.

They were then taken on the CEO’s grand tour of the Regent Theatre getting an insight into its history including, building design, production highlights and industry gossip. Aidan was all smiles as he visited the inner sanctum of the theatre where very few are allowed. He enjoyed private views of the front of house, backstage, technical areas, principal’s dressing rooms and experienced the thrill of looking out at the stalls from the famous Regent stage.

Following the tour, Aidan interviewed Nicholas at a local cafe with a list of prepared questions. He was treated to stories from the making of The Sound of Music, Julie Andrews and her career, the cast, the real Von Trapps, Salzburg, Nicholas’s TV career in the US and his latest movie soon to be released.

Through thoughtful planning and consultation, Starlight made this wish into more than a meeting but a memorable occasion uniquely tailored to Aidan and his wish.