Big bands and big egos

The Weekly Advertiser Horsham - - News - BY SARAH SCULLY

Wim­mera au­di­ences can step back to a time of ‘big bands with big egos play­ing big gui­tar so­los while sport­ing even big­ger hair’ when Hor­sham Arts Coun­cil presents its lat­est of­fer­ing.

Long-time arts coun­cil per­former and pro­duc­tion mem­ber Erin Boutcher will make her di­rec­to­rial de­but when Rock of Ages opens in Hor­sham Town Hall in May next year.

The arts coun­cil will host an in­for­ma­tion ses­sion for Rock of Ages on Sun­day.

“It’s a great show, I’m re­ally ex­cited,” Boutcher said. “You never re­ally know what sort of crowd to ex­pect at an in­for­ma­tion night but there has been a lot of in­ter­est on so­cial me­dia al­ready, which is great.”

Boutcher – who moved back to the re­gion to teach drama and English at St Brigid’s Col­lege this year – said she was ex­cited to help bring Rock of Ages to Hor­sham.

“I’ve al­ways wanted to di­rect a show and I had seen a few am­a­teur pro­duc­tions of Rock of Ages and just loved them,” she said.

“I’ve done set de­sign for a few shows and I had some ideas so I thought, ‘why not?’ and sub­mit­ted a pro­posal. I love the ’80s. Rock of Ages is a high en­ergy, colour­ful show that takes the mickey out of a lot of the ’80s genre.”

Rock of Ages is a com­ing-of-age story fea­tur­ing small-town girl Sher­rie and city boy Drew, who meet on LA’S Sun­set Strip and fall in love while pur­su­ing their per­form­ing-arts dreams.

Of course, plenty of drama en­sues and it is set in front of a back­drop of clas­sic ’80s rock songs, par­tic­u­larly from the decade’s fa­mous glam metal out­fits.

“There are a lot of rock­ers around Hor­sham and I’m hop­ing we’ll at­tract some for this show,” Boutcher said.

“We’re ex­pect­ing to draw a bit of a dif­fer­ent crowd this time around. There are about 30 to 35 roles and although our two leads will be in their mid-20s to 30s, for the rest of the cast we’re quite open to cast­ing dif­fer­ent ages.

“We’ve got our age limit set from 16 to 80 so we will just see what hap­pens.”

Boutcher said ta­lented dancers were also re­quired for Rock of Ages.

“It is a big dancers show, so we are look­ing for dancers who are keen and who can also sing,” she said. “The band in the show, Arse­nal, is on stage the whole time. They are front and cen­tre and in­ter­act with the cast, which is dif­fer­ent to what we’ve done be­fore. We’re look­ing for mu­si­cians for those roles as well.”

Boutcher said she looked for­ward to get­ting her teeth into her di­rec­to­rial role.

“I’ve had other roles such as as­sis­tant di­rec­tor and artis­tic ad­vi­sor in the past and I’ve directed The Lit­tle Mer­maid for St Brigid’s this year, so I’m ex­cited to take this next step,” Boutcher said.

She will fol­low in the foot­steps of her mother, ex­pe­ri­enced di­rec­tor Deb­bie Boutcher, who was at the helm of re­cent arts coun­cil shows in­clud­ing Lit­tle Shop of Hor­rors and Rent.

“Mum will be artis­tic di­rec­tor for this show and I am very lucky to have her men­tor me,” Erin Boutcher said.

“We have a few new pro­duc­tion roles this year, in­clud­ing Stacey Bren­nan as as­sis­tant di­rec­tor and vo­cal di­rec­tor. Her mother Libby Bren­nan has directed a few shows as well, so we have a few younger Hor­sham Arts Coun­cil mem­bers step­ping up into big­ger roles and be­ing men­tored, which is great.”

In­for­ma­tion ses­sion

The arts coun­cil will host a Rock of Ages in­for­ma­tion ses­sion at the coun­cil’s head­quar­ters in Hamil­ton Road from 4pm.

Au­di­tions will be on No­vem­ber 17 and 18, with the pos­si­bil­ity of ex­tend­ing the au­di­tion process to the Mon­day based on ex­pres­sions of in­ter­est.

“We will have call­backs on No­vem­ber 25 and 26, so af­ter the in­for­ma­tion ses­sion it will all hap­pen quite quickly,” Boutcher said.

“We will present the show in Hor­sham Town Hall on the sec­ond and third week­ends in May next year. We’re still fi­nal­is­ing the amount of shows with the town hall.”

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