Tara Donnell (January 2016). With some 80 cast members, Oliver! is a huge show, Tara Donnell, assistant director for youths, talks about her involvement and interest in theatre.
What is your first memory of theatre?
My first memory of theatre was in our tiny, isolated village of about 50 people. We had some passionate amateur thespians who put on at least one play per year for as long as I can remember. I didn't see a professional theatre production till I was well into adulthood.
When did you first become involved in theatre work?
In our village school we did plays every year, and then I got to go to a high school with a big focus on music and theatre, so I did plays and performed with a chamber choir, and I loved every minute of it! We also put on plays at our church.
What has been your involvement in theatre since arriving in Luxembourg?
When I arrived to Luxembourg, I made the decision to get back into acting and singing, as I had really missed it over the years of working and having kids and moving countries. I looked for acting workshops, and found Giles Foreman. Within 6 months I was organizing regular training for actors and directors, through GFCA and I love it (www.gfcalux.com)! I also got my first role with Pirates shortly after moving here, and managed to learn to tap dance and did rehearsals while I was still pregnant! Since then I have done a number of shows and films, and I continue to offer training.
What inspires you when you work?
I love being involved at any part of the creative process, but my favourite parts are working with fellow actors to create reality and truth in a scene, and coaching other actors to help them find the right mix of characteristics to really embody a new character. In my work as a casting director, I really enjoy the creative process of imagining just the perfect person to fit each role, and working with directors to help them fulfil their vision.
Oliver! is a big show! For you, what is the most challenging aspect?
The most challenging thing about Oliver is the sheer number of children. It has taken me ages to remember their names!
What do you enjoy most about working on a project such as Oliver! and shows generally?
Oliver was my favourite musical (the film) since I was little, so to be able to help stage it is so exciting for me! Learning from Neil, who is a fantastic musical theatre director, has been a highlight for me, and watching the kids as they master their songs and dance moves brings me incredible joy. My favourite aspect of putting on a show is working with the actors, either as an actor myself or as a director. The rehearsal process can be painful or amazing, depending on the day - but nothing beats stepping on that stage and becoming the character I have been preparing to be!
Hard to think about now, but what would you like to do after Oliver!?
After Oliver I would like to do some straight theatre acting. I am also hoping to do more film - I love doing both for different reasons! Theatre means regular rehearsals and then immediate responses from an audience, and I love the buzz and excitement of the film set. I am falling more and more in love with directing, as there are several projects that I am itching to do!