Ararat Pi­rates ahoy in Stawell

The Weekly Advertiser Horsham - - News -

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.

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