Centrepoint choir quest underway
So, let’s get this right – Centrepoint is putting on a play that has just two actors, but requires 17 choirs?
That’s what artistic director Jeff Kingsford-Brown is proposing for the theatre’s end of July/ August slot.
The theatre’s second Open Stage production following 2015’s successful community production of Frankenstein is a production of David Greig’s 2013 play The Events.
The Scottish playwright and director of the Scottish National Theatre wrote the witty and evocative Midsummer – a play with songs that Centrepoint produced last year.
‘‘Instead of using community actors for our Open Stage production, we’ll be using community choirs,’’ Jeff says. But 17? ‘‘Well, that’s the number of performances, and each performance calls for a different choir with between 15 and 30 members,’’ Jeff explains. ‘‘It’s important that the choirs come to the work without knowing too much about what’s going on.’’
In other words, the choirs can rehearse the songs and arrangements, but don’t get to read the script.
‘‘Each performance will feature a different community choir on stage with the actors for the first time, except for a partial rehearsal a few hours beforehand with musical director Roger Buchanan.
‘‘One of the actors plays a community choir director and will lead them in one of their own songs, which should be an uplifting one, and five or six other specially composed songs along with How Great Thou Art.
‘‘The choirs are participants as well as spectators to what happens in the play. It’s a really interesting way of telling a story.’’
Recruiting choirs has gone reasonably well so far, even if Jeff has had to spread the net wider than Palmerston North. As well as city choirs, which include a couple of scratch outfits formed for the production, he has singing groups from Whanganui, Dannevirke, Wairarapa and Taumaranui signed up to take part.
‘‘For the choirs, it’s a totally different from how they usually approach things, and because it’s so different, they jumped at it.’’
There is still room for a couple more community choral groups to be in the show directed by Lara McGregor from Christchurch. Interested groups should contact Jeff at Centrepoint.