Featuring an all-local cast, including some of New Zealand’s most talented child performers, Showbiz Christchurch promises Matilda will be THE show to see in Christchurch 2022!
Based on the book by Roald Dahl, Matilda tells the story of a little girl with astonishing wit, intelligence and psychokinetic powers. She’s unloved by her cruel parents (The Wormwoods) but impresses her schoolteacher, the loveable Miss Honey.
During the first term of school, Matilda and Miss Honey have a profound effect on each other’s lives, as Miss Honey begins not only to recognise but also to appreciate Matilda’s extraordinary personality.
Matilda’s school life isn’t completely smooth sailing. However, the school’s mean headmistress, Miss Trunchbull, hates children and just loves thinking up new punishments for those who don’t abide by her rules. But Matilda has courage and cleverness in equal amounts and could be the school pupils’ saving grace!
Packed with high-energy dance numbers, catchy songs and an unforgettable star turn for a young actress, Matilda is a joyous girl power romp.
Children and adults alike will be thrilled and delighted by the story of the special little girl with an extraordinary imagination.
Showbiz Christchurch – The Musical Theatre People of Christchurch.
Over the past eight decades, Showbiz has entertained more than 2 million Cantabrians and visitors in the Canterbury region and engaged more than 30,000 Christchurch residents as volunteers participating in productions, onstage, backstage, in the orchestra pit or on the management team.
Casting and the audition process
Matilda has attracted more auditionees than almost any other previous Showbiz Christchurch production.
“This is an extremely demanding show for child performers,” says Craig Ogilvie, General Manager of Showbiz Christchurch. The young auditionees went through a stringent multi-level audition process over several weeks to find the 19 performers who will feature in the show. The first round was a group dance workshop audition. “This would be one of the most challenging musicals featuring children that requires dancing,” says Ogilvie. “Auditionees had to be able to dance well and pick up steps quickly in order to be in the show. That’s why dance auditions happened first.”
The following weekend, successful dancers were then asked to sing solo. From there, auditionees who passed this round were called back the final weekend for speaking auditions for various roles. “Though it was a highly competitive environment, we were incredibly impressed at how supportive the children were towards their peers,” says Ogilvie.
Matilda has two casts of children, each featuring four boys and four girls, aged between 8 and 11 years of age. Each cast of eight children will play alternate performances, and the season has been scheduled to take place over the April school holiday break, ideal for both the cast and families coming to see the show. Three girls will play the title role of Matilda, and each performance will have one Matilda on stage and one who follows the action backstage and goes through all costume changes in case she is required to step in as understudy at any time. The Matildas, like the rest of the child cast, will also alternate the lead role throughout the season.
The three Matildas
The lead role of Matilda will be played by EVA THOMPSON (St Albans School), CARLA LADSTAETTER (Burnside Primary) and MILLIE HUTCHISON (Cashmere Primary). ANNA SCAIFE caught up with the girls to chat about rehearsals and the upcoming show.
Congratulations on getting the role after all those auditions. What was that like to come back each week and wait for the phone call to see if you got through?
Eva: At first, I was so worried that I wouldn’t get a callback. But by the time we got to the last audition it was really fun because we made new friends, and some of those friends have ended up being in the show.
Millie: At the start I was quite nervous, but once we got into it, I was really excited, and we had a lot of fun.
Carla: I was a bit nervous, but it was so nice to meet all the other people.
Do you all study singing and dancing?
Eva: Yes. I did ballet when I was younger and then hip-hop and jazz after that. I’ve been dancing most of my life. I love to sing. When I was younger, I played Chicken Little when my school did that show.
Millie: I do all kinds of dancing – except for tap. I do eleven hours of dancing each week.
Carla: I have been singing since I was little. I do lots of concerts with my mum because she’s a really good piano player. I go to Impact Dance School, and I do tap, hip-hop and modern dancing.
What are you most excited about?
Eva: I am most excited about performing at the Isaac Theatre Royal.
Millie: I am so excited to perform. I just love to perform on stage. It’s my thing.
Carla: I am really excited to be on stage and make people happy. And make people laugh.
What are you most nervous about?
Eva: I am always nervous about messing up my lines on stage.
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