The Academy of Musical Theatre takes us from orphans to fairy tales in one evening

The cast of Into The Woods Jr by the Academy of Musical Theatre
The cast of Into The Woods Jr by the Academy of Musical Theatre
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Tired of all the football?

The Academy of Musical Theatre is putting on a very different sort of game of two halves.

Students from the Portsmouth-based performing arts school are putting on junior versions of two musicals in one evening – Annie and Into The Woods.

Co-director of the school Andrew Harrison says: ‘It’s two shows for the price of one.

‘It’s the highlight of our annual calendar, but it’s quite a major undertaking. We’re in and out of the Kings in a day, we’re in at eight o’clock in the morning and we’re out again by the end of the day.’

And just because they’re doubling up and the performers are young, doesn’t mean they’ll be skimping on the production values.

‘We take great pride in the production of our performances,’ adds Andrew.

‘We have professional production managers and lighting designers working on the project with us. We have on average something like 200-250 lighting cues for the two shows and we have to take time to tech that, rig the lights, get the set in, so it’s something we take very seriously because we place a lot of importance upon performance experience for the students.

‘Of course technique is important and we do work on that a lot of the time.

We regularly work on intricate pieces of musical theatre, like Stephen Sondheim’s Into The Woods, which is perhaps one of the trickiest pieces we’ve ever tried because it is so episodic and the music is so challenging.’

The school’s younger students will be tackling the tale of the little orphan, while the older half will be putting on the reimagining of all your favourite fairy tales.

Andrew sums up the school’s ethos: ‘When some of our students reach 18 they will go on to other performing arts institutions, or they take it as something they do for fun. And that’s our tagline; for fun or for future.

‘We want to do it properly, but we don’t want to make it exclusive.’

The Kings Theatre, Southsea

Sunday, July 17