This week on drama on the waterfront, Lyndee-Jane Rutherford and a selection of the students from Whitireia School of Performing Arts spill the beans on their experience rehearsing the joyfully boisterous murder mystery musical, The Mystery of Edwin Drood.
Q: What is it like working on a professional show for Circa?
Charli Gatrell (Ensemble): It’s intense! I’ve done a lot of theatre, but this is six days of rehearsal a week, it’s not like anything I’ve done before. It’s a full time job, and I love it!
Auburn Crombie (Ensemble): It’s incredible. I didn’t expect to work on a professional show as a first year. Coming in, I didn’t think it would start straight away, it’s honestly like nothing I’ve done before!
Vanessa Immink (Ensemble): Well, it’s full-time. All the other shows we’ve done apart from school shows, have been part-time. This is pretty much nine to five every single day. Sometimes we’re needed and sometimes we’re not, but it’s just so cool being in the Circa environment, working alongside professionals and having the Box Office just downstairs. It’s very… real!
Q: What do you love about Musical Theatre?
Ben Patterson (Neville Landless): For me, it sounds silly, but it’s what I love doing. It’s good, because I don’t think I could do anything else, but it’s lucky I got forced to audition for Musical Theatre in high school, which has lead me down this crazy path that I love.
Q: Is this something you expected you would get the chance to do during your time training at Whitireia?
Flora Lloyd (Helena Landless): When they announced they were doing The Mystery of Edwin Drood, and they were getting the students to be involved I was super excited! It’s my third year studying musical theatre, and it’s just a great opportunity. I am getting to put on my “Body of Work” and be in a professional Circa show. It’s a great experience!
Q: What’s the best part about rehearsals?
Flora Lloyd (Helena Landless): I’m a huge observer of the professionals working. It’s thrilling to see them in their element and learn from them.
Bronte Fitzgibbon (Ensemble): It has to be getting to know everyone. Usually the third year students are a little segregated due to their work load and timetable, but now we are right there with everyone working and bonding together on The Mystery Of Edwin Drood.
Auburn Crombie (Ensemble): I couldn’t pick who was second year or third year. They were all so welcoming to us first years and it felt like a big family from day one. It has only been a few weeks and we’re all very close friends!
Q: What’s it like to work with Lyndee-Jane?
Vanessa Immink (Ensemble): She is so expressive and enthusiastic! She is like an ever-ready battery that just keeps going, it’s amazing! She is incredibly invested and is making sure everyone is having a good time and is involved. She is so detailed about her work but she makes it so fun, you forget you’ve been working for hours!
Q: How did this project come about?
Lyndee-Jane Rutherford (Director): I’ve worked at Whitireia before with our amazing Musical Director, Michael Nicholas Williams, and our stunning Choreographer, Leigh Evans. We decided to pitch The Mystery Of Edwin Drood to Circa, never for a second thinking they would take it. Michael threw the comment away that we could use the students for the ensemble. Next minute, Circa has said yes and we have the entire three years of performing arts students in the show!
Q: How do you feel to be directing this massive show at Circa?
Lyndee-Jane Rutherford (Director): This is possibly one of the biggest productions Circa has ever done. I have moments of absolute terror, times of sheer joy and that grateful feeling – “how lucky am I” – that I have all these people supporting me. Everyone has been hugely positive, energized and excited by this massive undertaking!