Rehearsals have begun for this year’s HOTA Summer School production of Fame the Musical, which opens at HOTA on 24 Jan. It’s an incredible opportunity for young artists to get involved in a professional production, gain real life experience and learn from experienced professionals.
Producer, Matt Ward has been impressed by the talent on the Gold Coast.
“We have around 50 performers, the vast majority of whom are local. Their professionalism and talent is astonishing which is I’m sure is due to the great dance and voice schools we have here,” he said.
Auditions began a few months ago with more that 100 people applying. The 45 that were selected will be joined by 4 professional actors who will take on the principal adult roles in the production.
‘Bringing in professional actors for key roles to work alongside the young up and coming artists works really well. The emerging actors have someone to mentor them and someone to look up to,’ said Matt.
‘There’s a real openness to the communication. You can ask all the questions you want to and really learn from each other’
“I’m excited about the kids’ journey, their development from the first day of the auditions and now seeing the group of them on now on stage. I think that’s the biggest thing, and why I do it. It reminds me of me, when I was a kid, and what I went through when I was starting out in the industry. I’m excited to see how they develop and what they get out of it.’
Matt believes FAME, with its stage school storyline, was the perfect choice for the summer school.
‘It’s a high energy dance musical and who doesn’t want to remember all the cool 80s songs!’ he said.
‘It also really fits with what these kids are going through just now. They’ve all got their eyes set on university and on becoming musical theatre performers and FAME deals with that – the drive and the expectations of what a career in this industry could be like.’
Originally a performer, Matt grew up on the Gold Coast and started his career here before going on to have a hugely successful career on the stage in Sydney, New York and London.
Now back in Australia he’s producing, vocal coaching and still performing. But it’s working with young people and emerging artist that really gets him excited.
He’s revamped the musical theatre summer school concept and hopes it becomes an annual event at HOTA.
‘The summer school was around in the 90s and 2000s – it’s where I started. I hope to bring it back to become an annual thing. We need this kind of education and performance opportunities for emerging artists here.’
‘Musical theatre summer school is about sharing experiences. Some of these kids might realise after this that they actually want to become a director or take another path. The summer school opens up other possibilities’
‘I was the same, I was into musicals that was my thing and I was fortunate enough to do that. But then I thought what else would I want to do? And I fell into vocal coaching and then I fell into producing. I’m still in the industry, maybe not on stage, but I’m still involved and really enjoying what I do.’
Catch the high energy musical FAME 24-26 Jan at HOTA, Home of the Arts.