With less than a week to go until auditions start, we have a quick chat with Director Aimee Fraser (right) and Musical Director Ian Nisbet about the exciting project ahead…



This is the first time you've worked with WATERDALE, tell us a little bit about yourself!

Ian- I'm a 26-year-old ex-motorcyclist that is currently trying to sell a classic Mini whilst writing a Master's thesis on Jason Robert Brown and running Theatre People while simultaneously trying to stop my girlfriend from leaving me because I'm always too busy doing musical theatre stuff!! 

Aimee- I have been a secondary school teacher for 3 years. I teach Dance, Drama, Visual Arts and Science. I am also the year 8 Coordinator and responsible for all of the performances at the school. I have worked on the committee for another Community Theatre Company where I performed; stage managed and ran summer drama workshops. I completed an Undergraduate Degree in Performing Arts and a Diploma of Education at Monash University, Majoring in Drama and Theatre Studies and a Minor in Visual Culture. My most recent achievements are playing Cinderella in ACU's Into the Woods and winning gold in the Victorian Teachers Games for Ultimate Frisbee. 

Where did you first come across Parade?

Aimee- I was in Monash University's 2005 Production of Parade.

Ian- Not entirely sure, but I remember having trouble getting in to the cast recording without first seeing the show on stage. Once I'd seen it I was totally in ♥.

Parade is definitely a lesser known show, what’s it about? Why is it such a great show?

Ian- Parade tells the true, tragic story of the Leo Frank case. Hit up Wikipedia for HEAPS of info. It's an important production for me as it's not one of those airy-fairy shows we're seeing more and more on Broadway these days but it has real meat and a clear political agenda.

 Where is it set? 

Ian- Parade is set in 1913 Atlanta Georgia and Alfred Uhry, who wrote the book of the show, is both Jewish and Southern (something that he says has "always been conflicted in [him]") which lends a real honesty to his telling of the story.

Other than the more well-known favourites of "All the Wasted Time” and "Old Red Hills," what other songs of note are in the show?

Aimee- I'm sure Ian would give you a list but I like "Leo at Work/What Am I Waiting For" and "This Is Not Over Yet."

Ian- "Real Big News" is a knock-out but then I've always had a soft spot for "My Child Will Forgive Me" and "Come Up to My Office." Actually it's all good.

What are you planning to do with the show?

Ian- I think Aimee and I are both looking at highlighting the strong theme of injustice that runs through the show but, musically, I always try my hardest to help the performers find their own interpretations of the characters, rather than simply reproducing someone else's. 

Aimee- Staying really true to the reality of this story. If you want to know more you'll need to audition!!

Why was WATERDALE the right company to make this show with?

Aimee- I am only new to working with WATERDALE but I have been extremely impressed with the organisation, commitment, and passion of the Committee already!

Ian- I've had a good feeling about WATERDALE for a while but I'm particularly excited about the production team that's been assembled as well as the ideas we've been throwing around at meetings. Now we just need a fantastic cast to help us realise them…

The audition criteria are a little different to past shows (Check them out here). What are you looking for in auditions?

Ian- We wanted to make sure that people had really thought about the show and the characters before the came in to the audition. We're specifically looking for people who understand the strong themes of the show and are willing to work with them (and us) for the greatest possible dramatic effect. 

Aimee- I'm not familiar with past show audition criteria, but I think it's important to have an open mind when casting. If I am set on what I want for a show and don't find it in the auditions then that can be disappointing. In saying this I think an element of typecasting goes on in every show. I like to think that I will know what I am looking for in the audition when I see it.

What do you enjoy most about the audition process?

Aimee- Watching and listening to someone connect with their songs and fit in with our idea for a particular character.

Ian- I love meeting new people and experiencing new talent but there's also a real buzz on our side of the table when you start seeing aspects of performers/hints of chemistry that you can tell will develop into something really special throughout the rehearsal process.

Do you have any specific audition tips?

Aimee- I want auditionees to perform their songs and be open to direction that they may be asked to apply to their songs.

Ian- I wrote an article for Theatre People following JRB's master class/concert tour of Australia that outlines his approach to auditions (here) but we won't be anything like that! My biggest suggestions would be, be confident – we're not scary and we all know what auditioning is like. Be loud and be proud 'cos you've only got 10 minutes to convince us that we want you. 😉

The show is quite vocally demanding and requires a very diverse cast, Have you pre-cast any roles? 

Both- Nope. 🙂 

Final Plug, Why should people call and book and audition?

Aimee- This will undoubtedly be the best community production of 2012 and I feel very privileged to be directing this show. I believe that everyone in musical theatre needs to be in a production of Parade at least once.

Ian You know it's a great show and I know we've got a great team. Let's make some magic. 😉

*                *                *               *               *                  *

Vocal auditions will take place on: 
Monday 3rd, Tuesday 4th and Wednesday 5th October 6:30 – 10:00pm

Dance/movement auditions will be compulsory for all applicants and will take place in two sessions. Movement auditions will take place on: 
Thursday 6th October 6:00pm – 7:00pm and Thursday 6th October 7:15pm – 8:15pm 
(Please note that some dancers may be asked to stay back for a more difficult dance audition beginning at 8:30pm.) 

Callbacks will take place on Monday 10th of October.

All auditions and callbacks will take place at the Yarangabee Centre, Parade College 1436 Plenty Road, Bundoora 3083.

Please call our Auditions Secretary Laura Ghiotti on 0402 517 515 to book an audition time.

Further details, including an Audition Information Sheet and Form, are available on our website www.waterdaleplayers.com