We met up with some of the crew behind Musicality’s upcoming show Sister Act. The musical follows Deloris, a lounge singer who finds herself placed in witness protection where she ends up in Queen of Angels Church. Here Deloris befriends the other nuns and helps to improve their singing, resulting in many catchy showtunes and a whole lot of laughter…
Maria Bennett – Choreographer
Is this your first time choreographing?
It’s the first full length musical that I’ve choreographed. I’ve done 3 of the Musicality showcases before but that’s more isolated numbers, whereas here I had to think about the progression of all the characters through the show. It’s been a real learning curve and I way underestimated how much work it was going to be, but I’ve loved every minute of it.
Do you have a big dance background?
I’ve danced since I was 3 and I had a really thorough technical training. I did competitions from the age of 5-18 on national and local levels, so I’ve always been dancing.
What about singing and dancing?
I’d never really done either properly until I came to uni, but Musicality introduced me to that. It’s confirmed to me that I’m definitely a dancer first and foremost though.
What’s been the hardest part of working with a big team of students?
Some people are really quick at picking up choreography and some people have never danced before, so I have to try and find a balance between going quick enough so that people aren’t bored but also slow enough to make sure everyone is comfortable.
What was your favourite number to choreograph?
Sunday Morning Fever was the most fun to do as I had so many ideas for it straight away, but Spread The Love Around could potentially look the best – the night before we had to set it with the cast, I only had half done, so I think that pressure made something come about that will look really good onstage.
Sascha Cornelius – Producer
What are your responsibilities as a producer?
I’m one of two producers, so I do cast management and oversee rehearsals as well as sourcing in props. Nathan then does more of the technical side with the lighting. We have a good balance between us.
Is this your first time producing a show?
Yes – I’ve wanted to do this since my first year and I’m now in my fifth year. I started off as Head of Costuming for Musicality’s Phantom of the Opera in my first year, and watching the producers just ‘get stuff done’ made me realize that this was what I wanted to do as well. I’ve worked my way up from there.
Do you prefer the backstage side over performing?
I like both. I started doing backstage as I couldn’t commit the time to rehearsals in first year, but I’m now finally doing what I’d always been aiming for. I love organizing things and I know it’ll give me a lot of skills for the future.
Have there been any challenges in producing this show?
Honestly I was expecting it to be a lot more stressful than it has been after talking to friends and hearing their past experiences with the role. The most challenging point is right now though as we had a big break over Christmas and the exam period, so people forget a lot and standards slip, but we’re getting there.
What’s it like balancing this with your degree?
I feel like I’m doing a full time job plus a full time degree! I come into rehearsals from 11:30-6 every weekend, sorting things out for the show followed by a team meeting until about 8pm. Everyday is at least 2-3 hours of work just for this show – but it’s worth it.
Do you think you’ll do musical theatre after university?
I’d like to go back to performing as I have really missed it this year and often I just want to get up and dance, so I’ll probably get into the Nottingham Amateur Theatre scene. However I think producing is over for me after this. I’m very proud of the show we’ve got but it’s a once in a lifetime project for me.
Musicality’s Sister Act is showing at Nottingham Arts Theatre February 14th-17th. Tickets are £12.50 for adults and £10 for students and concessions.
Visit www.nottingham-theatre.co.uk for tickets