Schools tune up for Les Mis
I Dreamed a Dream - one of the main songs from the musical Les Miserables - was the tune Marla Beissel always wanted to perform on stage.
And in August the 16-yearold Iona College student will finally have the chance when she takes to the stage as Fantine during the co-production of the musical between her school and Lindisfarne College.
The schools are staging the iconic show at the Lindisfarne College Auditorium from August 16 to 20.
Marla is one of four leads, with Oliver Howlett, 17 playing the role of Jean Valjean, John Black, 17, as Javert and Cathy Pearson, 16, as Cosette.
Oliver is in his final year of high school and after the school’s staging of The Lion King last year he began campaigning for Les Miserables to be the 2017 production.
Directors Kathy Atkin from Lindisfarne and Lisa-Jane Easter from Iona agreed and at the end of term one the cast began rehearsals which have now increased to three times a week.
For all of the young leads their journeys to the stage were different. Oliver came from a family involved in theatre, but was more interested in what happened backstage until Year 11 when he was promised McDonalds in exchange for auditioning for the school production.
‘‘Now I love every aspect of it, from acting to directing and backstage. I’m even happy painting a set.’’
It was a difficult show to do and he had found his role challenging but for a high school production there were some amazing voices among the cast.
‘‘It’s not an easy show to do ... for me it’s really hard to get into the mindset of someone three times my age and has been through so much I can’t even imagine.’’
For John it was the Lindisfarne production of Peter Pan in his Year 10 which drew him to the stage where he has remained ever since.
Cathy will be overcoming her nerves for her role as Cosette, as she usually performed as part of a group. ‘‘I always have incredible stage fright,’’ she said.
But the experience of being past of the cast was worth it. ‘‘Getting to know people - that’s the best part.’’
Howlett, 17, John Black, 17, Cathy
Pearson, 16, and Marla Beissel, 16, are the leads in the production of Les Miserables.