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    LEADING LADY: Horsham singing teacher Lisa Thomas will play the lead role of Donna Sheridan in Horsham Arts Council’s October production of Mamma Mia, a jukebox musical based on the songs of pop-group ABBA. Picture: PAUL CARRACHER

Horsham Arts Council, here we go again

By Lotte Reiter

Here we go again... Horsham Arts Council has announced the cast for its next production – a jukebox musical based around music of Swedish pop-group ABBA.

Tri-weekly rehearsals are already underway for ‘Mamma Mia’, which the council will perform in October.

First-time solo director Maddi Ostapiw said audiences could expect a mix of well-known and fresh faces on stage.

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She said she was proud Horsham Arts Council could regularly welcome and showcase new performers from across the region in its productions.

“This will be a great mix of people who have done shows before and have the chance to now step into a lead role, and people who have never done a show before,” she said.

“We’re proud of that fact. It is always an exciting moment when people we haven’t met come to an audition and just blow us away.”

Horsham’s Lisa Thomas will take on lead character Donna Sheridan, with Bella Patterson stepping into her first lead role with Horsham Arts Council as daughter Sophie Sheridan.

Ostapiw said she was excited to see what Thomas would bring to the role.

“Lisa is somebody that has done so much for the music and performing scene in Horsham, it is a culture which is just getting bigger and better,” she said.

“She’s with Horsham School of Music and does Carol’s by Candlelight, it will be amazing to see somebody we have so much respect for take a lead role.”

Ostapiw will direct the iconic stage-show alongside assistant director and friend Loucas Vettos.

She said council’s Mamma Mia, though based around the music people know and love, would also have some artistic-freedom and opportunity to explore the ‘emotional nuances’ of the story.

“This is a story of a young woman trying to discover who she is, ultimately finding that family doesn’t have to be blood-related,” she said.

“I think there’s a lot to be taken from this show, so we will be trying to show those themes of family and belonging, but it is also definitely about the music and the glitz.

“We’re also not able to copy ABBA’s costumes or the film costumes. 

“But that is actually really cool because it means we can be completely original and have our own take on it, especially the costume designers and production team.”

Joining the stage team will be Jessica Wilson, playing Tanya Cresham-Leigh, Stacey Brennan, playing Rosie Mulligan, Grant Johnson and Timothy O’Donnell, who will bring to life two of Sophie’s potential fathers, Harry Bright and Bill Austin.

Horsham Arts Council president Simon Dandy, who will play Sophie’s third possible father Sam Carmichael, said excitement was always high for the performers involved.

He said about 90 people auditioned for the musical, including from Ararat and Stawell, and encouraged more male performers to get involved when future productions roll back around.

“We have nine or 10 new people to Horsham Arts Council and to the stage, which is good,” he said.

“The good thing about Horsham Arts Council is that the audition process is always open and transparent, and people are casted based completely on the audition they put on.

“We would just like more and more guys to keep coming through.”

The entire July 3, 2019 edition of The Weekly Advertiser is available online. READ IT HERE!