Backstage at Dramacube
Stephen Leslie, Artistic Director at Dramacube Productions invites us ‘backstage’ as he talks about the highs and lows of directing youth musicals.
What is the best & worst part about directing a show?
Production week is my favourite time. It can be stressful but when the cast come bouncing through the stage door, the excitement on their faces is clear for all to see and I know we are all going to have a great time. There is such a buzz around the theatre and it is lovely to witness the hard work of the past three months paying off.
Announcing the casting can be hard. Inevitably someone will not get the role they wanted but this is an important part of being an actor. We offer feedback and extra support with audition technique to those who want it. This has helped many of our students to develop further as performers and go on to play leading roles.
With so many casts, how do you keep everything running smoothly?
We have an amazing backstage team. They are brilliant at what they do and create an exciting and professional environment for the children to work in at the theatre.
Do you get nervous before the show?
Yes!!! I sit nervously, at the back, rooting for my team, terrified that someone will forget a line, or miss an entrance, but the kids are fearless and just go for it.
How does Dramacube differ from other performing arts companies?
Students embark on a journey, from auditioning for a role on day one, to reaching the final performance and playing to a packed house. They work with a director, choreographer and musical director. They meet the costume designer who takes measurements and explains her ideas for their character. They work in a professional/purpose built theatre. They see the set being built, participate in a technical rehearsal where they learn about stage lighting and using microphones. We treat our casts as professional actors and they return the compliment with outstanding performances every time. There is huge value in taking acting classes but we offer a different experience.
What has been the highlight of this academic year for you?
Receiving seven Richmond Arts Swan award nominations and picking up two awards was a proud moment for me. (I was nervous that night!). It was brilliant to see so many of our young actors recognized for their talent and hard work.
What is next for you?
Alice in Wonderland JR at the Watermans Art Centre, swiftly followed by our Easter holiday workshop production. As always it will be a busy few months, but that is the way we like it!