For the students at the Brisbane Academy of Musical Theatre, 2020 has been a challenging year. The onset of the global pandemic saw their classes move online in May, just as rehearsals for their production of the Elvis jukebox musical, ‘All Shook Up’, began.
Navigating this online rehearsal space was a new obstacle for the cohort who were eager to continue their much loved musical theatre education. For Director and Choreographer, Callum Mansfield, who has worked previous on national tours of ‘Mary Poppins’, ‘Dirty Dancing’ and ‘The King and I’, adapting to this technology was a mixture of both nerve-racking and exciting.
“It was a real challenge trying to work out how to audition and then rehearse a show completely online,” Mansfield said.
“It was [also] an exciting challenge to work out how to teach songs and block scenes over Zoom!”
Now that restrictions have eased in Queensland, ‘All Shook Up’ is ready to take to the stage this week, albeit with social distancing and COVID-Safe practices in place.
Loosely based on Shakespeare’s ‘Twelfth Night’ and featuring all the greatest hits of Elvis Presley, this hip-swivelling, lip-curling musical fantasy will have audiences jumpin’ out of their blue suede shoes with such classics as “Heartbreak Hotel,” “Hound Dog,” “Jailhouse Rock,” and “Don’t Be Cruel.” Founder of the Brisbane Academy of Musical Theatre (BAMT) Academy and CEO of Harvest Rain, Tim O’Connor’ spoke about the safety plans of Hayward Street Studios and how it was important to the students to stage this work.
“The theatre at Hayward Street Studios can usually hold 100 patrons, but with COVID-safe practices in place, we can only have 35 people each night,” O’Connor said, “but we think it’s important to bring theatre back in any way we can, and our students’ incredible work deserves to be seen.””
As the full time training arm associated with Harvest Rain (Australia’s largest youth arts organisation), BAMT has been raising the next generation of musical theatre performers in Queensland for over a decade. With the inception of its new Performance Course at the start of this year, students have enjoyed the opportunity of being part of a new musical production each term.
In their latest production, students will put on its Blue Suede Shoes to keep theatre alive in Southeast Queensland. As such, ‘All Shook Up’ has already proven so popular that even before the show opens tomorrow night, the season has already had to be extended.
“COVID got in the way of our plans a little this year,” says O’Connor, “but we’re determined to keep theatre alive and continue providing opportunities for these talented students to show what they can do.”
‘All Shook Up’ plays at the Hayward Street Studios from Wednesday, 2 September until Saturday, 19 September 2020. For tickets, visit Hayward Street Studio’s Website.
Media Release supplied by Brisbane Academy of Musical Theatre.