Oamaru woman Claire Gilchrist will be choreographing Musical Theatre Oamaru’s production of Mamma Mia!. She talks to Tyson Young about her passion for performing.
Q: Can you tell me a bit about yourself?
I’ve been dancing since I was 12. I’m quite passionate about dancing and performing. I haven’t done a lot of choreography before. I did a few things when I was in high school, really low-key things. Last year, I did the dancing that was in the theatre restaurant for Four Weddings And A Divorce. That was also pretty low-key but it was something that got me started.
Q: Do you come from Oamaru originally?
Yes. Well, sort of. I was born in Dunedin but my parents are from Oamaru. I spent the first 12 years of my life here. Then we moved to Timaru – I did high school in Timaru – and then did the university thing and lived in various places. I spent some time in the North Island and some time in Australia.
Q: What brought you back to Oamaru?
History. I had my grandparents still here. It was a familiar place and I didn’t want to go to a brand new place and start all over again. I didn’t intend to stay this long. I intended to stay for two or three years and then move on. As it happens, my parents moved back here and I got married, so we’re all here, ha ha.
Q: What do you do for a living?
I’m an accountant.
Q: Is the role a step up from what you’ve done in the past?
Oh yeah, it’s massive. I’ve never choreographed for a real show and this is one of the most popular shows around. I’m very nervous but I’m also starting to get very excited.
Q: What’s the biggest challenge you will face?
Probably trying to portray in the dancing the story behind the scene of the music. The music is well known, but the music in the show is chosen to carry the story.
Q: How long has it taken to come up with the dances?
The audition piece took me three or four hours, and it’s only 42 seconds long. You don’t want to make it too hard but you don’t want to make it too easy, either.
Q: Will you be busier closer to the production?
I imagine, after auditions, I’ll be doing something every day – whether I’m in the workshop choreographing or whether I’m at home researching on the internet for ideas. I’ve got to make sure I know the show inside and out.