Ararat Pirates ahoy in Stawell
The region’s love affair with community musical productions is continuing to ride a wave of popularity with Ararat Musical Comedy Society’s production of ‘Pirates’ in full swing at Stawell Entertainment Centre.
The production, which opened at the weekend, is providing audiences with early insight into the quality of future community shows to grace the stage of Ararat Performing Arts Centre.
The society’s show is at Stawell because the Ararat centre is undergoing redevelopment.
‘Pirates’ features a cast of about 40, a 17-piece band and a backstage crew of about 25 and is the result of more than six months of preparation.
It will continue this weekend with Friday and Saturday evening performances and a Sunday matinee show.
Director Grant Johnson, who started working on the adaptation of Gilbert and Sullivan’s Pirates of Penzance in September last year, said he was delighted with how the production had come together.
“Having made an extended remix of the Pirates musical to include lots of contemporary pirate references and modern pop culture it is going very well,” he said.
“Our 17-piece live band plays more than 60 pieces which is a lot for a two and a halfhour show considering there is also dialogue. We also have five-point harmonies and it is sounding beautiful.”
Tradition v culture
Mr Johnson said the show was designed to be a mix of traditional Gilbert and Sullivan with elements of contemporary culture.
“The idea is that we wanted to look after all the Gilbert and Sullivan lovers out there while thinking about all the different types of people in the audience at our shows, which ranges from the very young right through to the older generations,” he said.
“We’ve thrown a few different things in there – there are a couple of modern songs and some contemporary themes and references.”
Mr Johnson agreed community theatre was undergoing resurgence in western Victoria.
“We’re getting to a point where the word ‘amateur’ is becoming a bit of misnomer,” he said.
“The shows are getting better and more professional all the time.
“It’s about pride and creating something of quality and aiming for the stars as to how good a show you can produce and how far you can stretch yourselves.
“It’s about creative drive and self-motivation in making the best show possible,” he said.
“For us and this production, with the redevelopment of Ararat Performing Arts Centre, it’s about keeping the wheels spinning and to avoid stopping for a year.
“Being able to use Stawell Entertainment Centre has worked out very well and means we can keep momentum going for when the Ararat centre opens again next May.”
People can book and-or pay online to see ‘Pirates’ this weekend at www.stagecenta. com.
There will also be cash payments at the door.