Shrek the Musical is a production, by St Andrew’s Players, opening in Harrogate on Wednesday 26 October 2022.
It will then run until Saturday, and also heralds a return to Harrogate Theatre, following its maintenance work.
We headed down to photograph their last full run-through rehearsal, that’s before the dress rehearsal at the Theatre, and to talk about the production.
How does it feel to be back at HG Theatre, does it make a difference to the performers ?
For us at HSAP it feels wonderful to be back at the theatre, it’s almost like coming back after a really extended holiday. Although we we so pleased to put on a show last October in a different venue, there is nothing like returning to a full stage musical. HSAP are always quite a close-knit cast, but think the show with all its individual and small group characters have added to the fantastic to be back in a full show performance feel.
How have the rehearsals gone, you are only a few days away from opening ?
Rehearsals have come with there challenges, it’s a very complex character based show with so many different sections with completely different feel to them. The fairytale sections have been really fun for cast to get in to there improv and characterisations really embodying the myths and well known nature to our beloved story characters. It’s been amazing to sit back and watch the growth of the little character units like the Bear Family, Three Pigs, Three blind mice as well as the unique pairings.
For some of our principal characters it’s been interesting rehearsing knowing you will look very different and have a different physical appearance show week. Our Shrek realising they will be much bigger in a padded suit, Donkey having to rehearsal different type of use of hands with Hoofs.
The show involves some puppetry with a Dragon and we haven’t had a puppet in a HSAP show since Little Shop of Horrors so it is nice to expand our theatrical styles.
This week will see the stage being put together, with the scenery, is that a big undertaking ?
The “Get In” of set and the technical rehearsal can be some of the most challenging times particularly for us as community theatre, often in a professional show you would have a tech week, whereas this is mostly completed in one day. For this show there are a lot of technical moments with scene changes, puppetry and also lots of speed costume changes so it’s a larger undertaking. There is a bit of magic you see during the technical and dress rehearsal as a cast or crew member of joy seeing all the wonderful story come together in look and performance.
Who do you think it will appeal to ?
The show is based on the Oscar winning Dream Works film, Shrek the Musical is a fun filled and hilarious musical comedy with a cast of vibrant characters and a ‘shrek-tackular score, including smash hit song “I’m a Believer”. I think old to young would enjoy this upbeat and comedic piece of musical theatre.
When we went to rehearsals, we couldn’t help but notice that shrek didn’t wear any clothes, will that be different for the full performance ?
Shrek has been rehearsing for the last few sessions in part of the costume, that supports increasing our lovely actor to a more ogre stature. It’s been a source of entertainment for the cast seeing small additions of props and costume transformations. We promise our ogre will be fully dressed and truly green for opening night!!
Is Shrek genuinely Scottish as he has really nailed the accent ?
Our Shrek is well and truly Yorkshire, but has really been working on his Scottish! The cast have really enjoyed embodying there characters and playing around with voice styles that match.
What are the main challenges in putting a production on like this, going to the rehearsals you get a feel of just how many people are involved, and the time put to it ?
It truly is a huge undertaking, there is an army of people involved from a hard working committee of members who support the production in all areas from selecting the show through to production week. The production team inspiring a creative vision for the show. The cast who rehearse along side their day jobs for the love of theatre. The cast and crew often also end up showing us there special talents, who is a budding Make up artist, costumier, hair stylist, prop designer. Our fantastic crew who often volunteer their time for the week. Our additional members, non performing members and life members as well as family and friend volunteers who help support the technical get in and often front of house for the week of the production. Community theatre is a passion and often that adds to the magic of the whole production.
Why have HSAP chosen to produce a matinee relaxed performance?
The committee really wanted to support theatre access for all particularly in such a friendly show. We are so thrilled to be able to offer a relaxed perforce which will have lower levels for sensory stimulus, some low level auditorium light and also a BSL interpreter. We hope that we can embody the true message of the show and support individuality and inclusivity.
Tickets are becoming limited now, with over 80% already sold, but some are still available:
Wednesday to Thursday evenings 7:30
Friday 2:30 Relaxed, BSL performance
Saturday 12pm and 5pm
Tickets 🎟 from Harrogate Theatre Box Office