Dramatic Productions Sweeney Todd receives award nominiations

30 Dec, 2017

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Photo by Janelle McMenamin

 

Earlier this year local theatre company Dramatic Productions held a production of Sweeney Tood, The Demon Barber of Fleet Street - A Musical Thriller at Gungahlin College. This was the third production in as many years held in Gungahlin by Dramatic Productions. Earlier productions were Into The Woods and Catch Me If You Can - The Musical.

Dramatics Productions Sweeney Todd has been nominated for several awards as part of the Canberra Area Theatre Awards (CAT Awards). The CAT Awards have been part of the theatre, dance and musical scene in Canberra and the surrounding districts since 1994. They provide recognition for the enormous contribution made by non-professional groups to the artistic life of Australia, in particular in Canberra and the region, and they encourage individuals in the performing arts.

Richard Block, Producer and Director of Sweeney Todd invited myself and ACT Government Opposition Leader, Alistair Coe to take part in the production as 'clients' of Sweeney Todd in his barber shop. Only playing a minor part in this production both Alistair and I came in very late into the development and rehearsals for the show. Whilst I understood that there is obviously a lot that goes on behind the scenes to put on a show such as this but I have to tell you I had no idea just how much. I wasn't there for every rehearsal in the week leading up to opening night but I tried to be there when I could and I have to admit I was exhausted before the show had even opened!

 

I have to pay tribute to everyone involved in putting on this show, the amount of time and energy that goes into it is incredible. It became quite clear that when people work so closely together like this they become a little family. Coming in late to this family was not an issue as everyone was so welcoming to Alistair and myself making sure we felt welcomed and helping us with our parts. I have such great respect for everyone involved due to the commitment they all made to this production.

When Richard was asked about why he chose to do Sweeney Todd in 2017 he said "Sweeney Todd was a ground-breaking musical of its time, tackling the darkest of subjects and confronting its audience with gruesome and bloody deaths on stage. In the late 1970's this was a fairly radical departure from the musical theatre norm but in today's entertainment climate, where zombie moves and highly graphic television series are standard fare, it's not surprising that Sweeney Todd was an often repeated request for my next show.

I was already very familiar with Stephen Sondheim's work after directing and producing Into The Woods in 2015 and I knew the music and staging was going to be very challenging. But Sweeney Todd was going to take this to a whole new level of difficultly by adding the toughest technical challenges I have faced in a show to date.

Within days of Dramatic Productions announcing the show I was inundated by internet links to articles about the unfortunate school students being rushed to hospital after having their throats cut or messages with stories about the productions where the lead fell through a trap door breaking bones and puncturing lungs. These were all from well-meaning people but it highlighted the serious concerns people have about doing this show.

Safety was always going to be a top priority and we did extensive research and in-depth planning to ensure every step along the way was safe. I was always the first to test a razor or take a tumble through a hole, as our cast were relying on us to get it right.

Sweeney Todd is a gripping show with an engrossing story, marvelous music and clever lyrics combined with, dare I say it, delicious characters. Knowing the technical challenges enhance the audience's experience, we decided to take the challenges even further with complex props, costumes, and set pieces. The hard work of over 70 people across several months of rehearsing, prop making, set building, photo shoots, marketing and hundreds of other tasks were bent towards bringing one of Sonheim's most iconic shows to life in the fabulous Gungahlin Theatre."

In the 2017 Canberra Area Theatre Awards Dramatic Productions Sweeney Todd has received the following nominations:

Best Production Of A Musical

 

 

Photo by Snapped by Mark Photography

Best Actor In A Leading Role In A Musical - David Pearson as Sweeney Todd

David has a career that includes musical theatre, cabaret, opera television, children's entertainment and independent film. David stuided at the Royal Academy of Music in London, highlights which included a UK tour with Sir Elton John, the roles of Ciaphos and Pilate in Jesus Christ Superstar and making his West End debut.

 

Photo by Snapped by Mark Photography

Best Youth Actress In A Leading Role In A Musical - Meaghan Stewart at Mrs Lovett

Ever since she was 4 years old, Meaghan knew she wanted to become an actress and everything she has done since has been pursuit of her dream. Meaghan has performed in over 11 different shows ranging from Shakespeare to Disney musicals, she is probably best known for her performance as Ursula in Daramalan theatre company's 2014 production of 'The Little Mermaid'in which she was nominated for a CAT ward.

Photo by Snapped by Mark Photography

Best Youth Actor In A Featured Role In A Musical - Liam Jackson as Tobias Ragg

Liam has been studying dance for over nine years and has learnt a wide variety of dance styles. He has also taught tap, ballet and hip hop. Liam has trained in vocals for the past three years. This was Liam's fourth production, his first being "The Music Man"(Queanbeyan Players), follwed by "Wicked" (Free-rain) and earlier this year "The Addams Family" (QPRC).

 

Photo by Snapped by Mark Photography

Best Youth Actor In A Featured Role In A Musical - Liam Jackson as Tobias Ragg

Liam has been studying dance for over nine years and has learnt a wide variety of dance styles. He has also taught tap, ballet and hip hop. Liam has trained in vocals for the past three years. This was Liam's fourth production, his first being "The Music Man"(Queanbeyan Players), follwed by "Wicked" (Free-rain) and earlier this year "The Addams Family" (QPRC).

 

Photo by Hamish McConchie

Dramatic Productions has also been recognised with a commendation for raising over $4,000 for a variety of Canberra charities and community groups by donating a percentage of the takings from the run of Sweeney Todd.

 

 

Photo by Snapped by Mark Photography

The 2017 CAT Awards will be announced on 17th February 2018.

 

 

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