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In 2017 the team produced Starlight Express which is an Andrew Lloyd Webber musical performed on roller skates! As Samantha Reilly commented “It was great, but scary to say the least...48 people on stage, on skates, at one time!”. In the months leading up to the production the tcast fully committed to the skating challenge and regularly attended The Rink in Portadown to learn & perfect their skating “everyone, including our choreographer, got a pair of skates”.
There is a very short, informal audition at which the Fusion production team asks potential performers to sing a short piece of music. But as Samantha Reilly highlighted, there’s very little pressure “that’s just to make sure they can hold a note!”.
Space for everyone
Fusion Theatre is a cross community organisation and prides itself on being completely all-inclusive, with people from all backgrounds involved in each production. A key focus area for Fusion Theatre is the inclusion of people from low socioeconomic backgrounds, who are typically excluded from participating in other theatre companies, because of their expense.
The Fusion team is very thankful to the Black Santa appeal for the funding provided “Money from the Black Santa Appeal means a huge amount to us, to keep our fees really low”. This funding is vital to ensuring the fees stay as low as possible & therefore the continued participation of the young people wanting to be involved, no matter their background. The fees are £10 a month for each cast member. This covers 2-3 hrs of rehearsals every week and the full productions, including costumes.
Fusion Theatre was started back in 2000 by a lady called Roz McCleary. She recognised the lack of youth theatre companies for young people to be part of in Northern Ireland, especially in Lisburn.
Getting the Fusion show on the road
Initially Roz got a group together & successfully produced two pantos before moving across to musical theatre. This move was based on what people really wanted to do.
Typically Fusion Theatre productions have a cast of between 50 and 60 young people. Each production takes around 6 months to produce, from first rehearsal to opening night.