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    PASSIONATE: Mamma Mia co-director, choreographer and cast member Loucas Vettos is excited to finally bring to life a creative vision he and director Maddi Ostapiw have shared for many years in Horsham Art’s Council’s latest production. The musical, which will also be the first amateur rights production of Mamma Mia staged in regional Victoria, will be at Horsham Town Hall from October 10 to 19. Picture: PAUL CARRACHER

Arts council sets benchmark with Mamma Mia

BY Lotte Reiter

Horsham Arts Council will mark a regional Victorian first in its production of Mamma Mia next month.

The jukebox musical, inspired by the songs of Swedish pop group ABBA, has been a front-runner choice for the theatre company for many years. 

But it was only recently that rights to the stage show were made available, resulting in musical societies across Australia quickly setting a date for their own performances.

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With an opening night of October 10, secretary Faye Johns said the group would be the first regional Victorian theatre company to stage an amateur production of Mamma Mia and potentially the first in the state.

“It’s very hard for regional companies to get rights to a show as iconic as Mamma Mia, it’s usually only larger groups,” she said.

“We are very lucky we have been able to capture those rights and we might actually be the first in Victoria full stop,” she said.

“It’s really exciting that we are entrusted to set the standard for what an amateur regional production of Mamma Mia should be like. 

“Horsham Arts Council has been eager to put on this production for some time. 

“Maddi, our director, said she’s had a proposal sitting on her desk just waiting for those rights to be released.

“There is pressure with any production, but with this one we will set the bar for other regional Victorian companies.”

Mrs Johns said she was confident the dedicated cast and two passionate directors Maddi Ostapiw and Loucas Vettos would create a memorable production for audiences.

“We have a really highly cohesive team. The cast, every time they walk through the door, are really focused. They know what they want and how they want it, and Loucas is so encouraging and enthusiastic,” she said.

“ABBA was a huge phenomenon in Australia. We’re looking forward to putting on a production that will encourage people to get up and sing and dance, because it’s a joyous show.” 

Long-standing passion

Mr Vettos, who is also the show’s choreographer and a cast member, said he and Ms Ostapiw were thrilled to finally bring to life their long-standing vision of a Horsham Art’s Council Mamma Mia production.

“Maddi and I are really passionate about this show and have wanted to do it for ages,” he said.

“I listened to ABBA as a young child, my parents played them all the time. 

“When the show first toured Australia I didn’t get to see it because I was too young, but the way the storyline has been weaved through the music is just amazing. It has its ups and downs, its big ballads and dance numbers.

“We’re really excited to give it a red-hot crack. And with the rights, it needs to be a completely original interpretation. From the set design to the costume and choreography you have that freedom, which for Maddi and I is really exciting.” 

With 22 ABBA songs to cover, Mr Vettos said cast and crew were trying to pack as much practice as possible into their tri-weekly rehearsals.

He said there was a ‘buzz going around town’ as tickets went on sale and encouraged people to book their seats early to avoid disappointment. 

“Some shows were already half sold-out to being close to completely sold-out in one day of ticket sales,” he said.

“It’s really cool. We’re hoping to give Horsham the best possible show that we can.”

People can book tickets online at

The entire September 4, 2019 edition of The Weekly Advertiser is available online. READ IT HERE!