Adam Gillian, Clare Manson and Michael Forde getting ready for the Fusion Theatre drama group's performance of Beauty and the Beast, which takes place at the Island Arts Centre on 16-19 February. US0311-527cd
Raymond Walsh, Caolan Keaveney and Louis Patterson getting ready for the Fusion Theatre drama group's performance of Beauty and the Beast, which takes place at the Island Arts Centre on 16-19 February- US0311.528cd
AFTER their success last year at both the Buxton Gilbert and Sullivan Festival, and Channel 5's 'Don't Stop Believing!', local youth theatre group, Fusion Theatre's production of Disney's 'Beauty and the Beast' will be opening in the Island Hall in Lisburn on February 16, running through to Saturday February 19.
Local estate agent Ian Milford will be filling the roles of Director and Musical Director, and Rebecca Leonard will choreograph the production. This prize-winning team has been working hard preparing the young cast for the challenge.
'Beauty and the Beast' is based on the Disney cartoon and features enchantment, romance and comedy in abundance. Fans of the Disney film will already know and love chorus numbers such as 'Be My Guest' and 'If I can't love her', as well as the title song 'Beauty and the Beast'.
Director Ian Milford says that in approaching this musical he wanted to keep the cartoon-like quality of the original Disney film, but with an element of realism.
In particular he has ensured that the production includes elements which Lisburn residents will recognise, although he won't be drawn on the precise detail.
Rebecca Leonard has been able to indulge her love of the old Busby Berkley musicals, in using the massed chorus in the Enchantment scene, which features dancing cutlery, and linen.
The cast includes newcomer Caolan Keaveney (Beast), Jessica Webb (Belle), Raymond Walsh (Gaston), Louis Patterson (Le Fou), Gary Redpath (Maurice), Adam Gillian (Cogsworth), Michael Forde (Lumiere), Clare Manson (Mrs Potts), Ian Simpson (Chip), Hannah Conlon (Mme de la Grande Bouche), Victoria Whittington (Babette) and Rory McCollum (M.d'Arque).
They are ably supported on stage by a chorus of around 40 talented youngsters, as well as a committed team of parents and supporters who have spent weeks building the set, organising costumes and supervising the cast. Rehearsals moved up a gear over Christmas, when the cast spent several days working on their performance.
Fusion Chairperson Anne McCleary said: "Fusion has always prided itself on boosting access to high quality youth theatre, both for cast-members, and audience. The people of Lisburn have really taken Fusion to their hearts, and supported us in all our past productions.
"It's hard to believe that it's just ten years since we first performed Peter Pan in the Island Hall. It's hard to imagine how we have risen from that humble beginning to the force of Fusion Theatre, winners of various awards from the National Operatic and Dramatic Association, the Association of Irish Musical Societies, the Waterford International Festival of Light Opera, and most recently the Buxton G&S Festival, and Channel 5's 'Don't Stop Believing'.
"I am extremely proud of what we have achieved, and am extremely grateful to the Lisburn Arts Advisory Committee, the Arts Council (Lottery Fund) and St Anne's Christmas Appeal, which have all supported us over the years, and particularly in relation to this production of Beauty and the Beast, which is our most expensive, and spectacular show to date. Without the support of those funders, as well as the people of Lisburn, Fusion would no longer be here."
Tickets are now on sale at the Box Office, by telephone on 92509250. They cost £10 (Wednesday and Saturday matinee), £12 (Thursday), and £14 (Friday and Saturday).