Pat on the back for arts council
Performers in one of the ‘best’ shows in Horsham Arts Council history have been rewarded with an invitation to perform at next month’s Music Theatre Guild of Victoria awards ceremony.
Arts council president Simon Dandy congratulated the cast and crew of RENT on an outstanding interpretation of the edgy, Tony-award winning rock musical.
“RENT was unlike anything else we’ve ever done,” he said.
“It was never going to be about bums on seats, although we did get good numbers.
“From the feedback we’ve received, from an artistic point of view, it’s some of the best stuff we’ve ever done.
“A lot of people have said the standard of the show was far higher than they expected from a regional area.”
Music Theatre Guild of Victoria is a not-forprofit organisation that supports, encourages and develops non-professional music theatre.
Mr Dandy said the guild’s annual accolades were amateur theatre’s equivalent of the Academy Awards.
The Horsham group first performed at the awards in 2012 following a successful production of Godspell.
Mr Dandy said being asked to perform a second time was a feather in the arts council’s cap.
“Judges travel around the state to have a look at the shows throughout the year,” he said.
“They might ask 10 groups to perform out of about 70 or 80.
“This includes metropolitan amateur groups that probably have 20 times our budget, with shows involving out-of-work actors.
“To be picked is a huge pat on the back for Horsham Arts Council. I’m thrilled for everyone involved in RENT – they fully deserve this.
“The particular song they are going to sing is performed by the whole cast but led by Brian Harrison. He does a wonderful performance and it is a very powerful moment in the show.”
Mr Dandy said the council was waiting to learn of the nominations for this year’s awards. “They are due out any day,” he said. “We’ve had two big, well-received shows year in Annie and RENT.
“We could get something, or we could get nothing – who knows? They at least think RENT was very good so I’m hopeful we get something.”
Horsham Arts Council members have already turned their attention to the group’s next production in 2018.
The arts council will present Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat from May 4 to 19.
“As great as RENT was, it was a little left of centre of what we usually do,” Mr Dandy said.
“For one, it doesn’t cater for kids, and two, the subject matter probably counted a few people out.
“We wanted to follow up RENT with a familyfriendly show. It’s been 20 years since we’ve done Joseph and we thought it was a good way to get families back to the theatre.”
Mr Dandy, who will direct the production, said an initial information session on Monday night was well attended.
“It was great to see so many people there,” he said.
“There were probably a lot of other people who couldn’t come, but they don’t have to miss out. All they need to do is schedule an audition time.
“I encourage anyone of any age to come along and have a go. Every year we have people who think they can’t do it or they’re not good enough and they end up having the time of their lives.”
Mr Dandy said people could visit the arts council’s website, www.horshamartscouncil.com, for an information pack.
“It has all the information about upcoming roles,” he said.
“Children can be involved but they need to be nine by December 31.”
People can call executive producer Luke Mitton on 0418 621 730 to schedule an audition.