COMING SOON: Liam Pratt waves a red flag on one of the many sets for the Playhouse Theatre's Les Mis production.
COMING SOON: Liam Pratt waves a red flag on one of the many sets for the Playhouse Theatre's Les Mis production. Mikayla Haupt

Behind the scenes look of Bundy's Les Mis show

MANY hands make light work, and at the Bundaberg Playhouse Theatre it's the work of more than 100 people bringing to life 19th century France.

Les Miserables will be the Bundaberg Playhouse Theatre's 471st production, with more than 200 costumes, 300 costume changes, 35 wigs, one massive barricade, a live orchestra - and it's just a few weeks away.

The grandeur of the story and the music is only met by the passion of the local cast and crew - all of which are volunteers.

The NewsMail had a behind the scenes look at one of the Playhouse's rehearsals and neither the heat in the shed, nor the sporadic rain would keep the smiles from those involved.

Costume co-ordinator Bernadette Spink has been at the Playhouse for 10 years, but this was her first time in the costume department.

She said they started planning costumes months before auditions.

With the 1832 period set, the next step was colour palettes; Ms Spink said where some scenes which required bright and light colours, while others took on an autumn feel with the use of velvet.

She said this was an iconic show and costuming was important, which is why they researched the time period.

There is a combination of hired costumes and the Bundaberg Playhouse Theatre's stored costumes.

Ms Spink said a colour-based show gives a clear direction and thanks to the handful of dedicated volunteers, who are "here for the love of it”, the show is set to come alive.

BEHIND THE SCENES: Heather Shailer has been working on the wigs for Les Miserables by the Bundaberg Playhouse Theatre.
BEHIND THE SCENES: Heather Shailer has been working on the wigs for Les Miserables by the Bundaberg Playhouse Theatre. Mikayla Haupt

No stranger to the Bundaberg stage or the role of Inspector Javert, Nigel Dick is looking forward to bringing the character back to life for his 100th production.

Mr Dick played Javert in the Playhouse's production of Les Mis in 1994, and said it was an "absolute joy” to play the meaty role once more.

He said with some of Bundaberg's best musicians working with them and a plethora of cast and crew, it was an exciting production to be a part of.

COMING SOON: Liam Pratt waves a red flag on one of the many sets for the Playhouse Theatre's Les Mis production.
COMING SOON: Liam Pratt waves a red flag on one of the many sets for the Playhouse Theatre's Les Mis production. Mikayla Haupt

One dedicated actress, Linda Davis said she grew up on the Bundaberg theatre and despite moving to Maryborough after the floods, this was one show she couldn't miss.

Working full-time and studying part-time, Ms Davis said she travelled to Bundaberg up to three times a week, a price she was happy to pay to be part of her "bucket list musical”.

Performing has been a long-love of Ms Davis and this production is no different.

"I just enjoy it,” she said.

"(I) love the confidence it's given me.”

Ms Davis said the reaction from the audience of a comical show was likewise a thrill.

And she isn't the only cast member eager to get on stage, Michael Dart, Jennifer Ritchie and Ken Peterson are all similarly excited for the show.

Ms Ritchie, playing Eponine, has loved the rehearsal process and said seeing it all come together had been a treat.

Mr Dick isn't the only person who performed in the '94 production. Robyn Edgar is returning as a vocal coach.

Having been one of the conductors 25 years ago, Ms Edgar said the music was "quite challenging” and her first priority was ensuring the cast sang with vocal safety.

"I think it's going to be a great show,” she said.

Director for the show, Rebecca Hutchins said it was beautiful to see how the arts could bring people from a vast range of vocations together and how the business community had supported the local theatre.

Praising the talent of the entire cast and crew, Ms Hutchins said the show was authentic in appearance, but also fresh.

There will be six performances of Les Miserables, to be held on March 29, 30, April 5 and 6 at 7.30pm, with matinees on Saturday March 30 and Saturday April 6 at 2pm.

For tickets visit www.moncrieff-bundaberg.com.au.



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