Big bands and big egos
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.”
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.”