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Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Barber of Barkerville in The Pique


Cathryn Atkinson from The Pique recently interviewed Melissa Tsang about the Vancouver Opera In Schools tour. See her article here: Retooled Rossini relocates Barber of Seville to Barkerville.

Julia Rooney, who plays Rosie in The Barber of Barkerville, also answered some of Cathryn's questions about VOIS and touring.

How has the tour gone so far? What has the experience been like in terms of touring around B.C. compared to staying in the same theatre in a big city?
JR: The tour has been going quite well. It seems that with each show at a different school, the VOIS team gets more efficient with the set-handling and better equipped to react to the various children audiences.

I think what strikes me the most about the experience of touring this show is the importance of flexibility in order to accommodate variables that are more prevalent with a school tour than a normal production. Every performance space is completely new when we arrive, the size and ages of the audience varies drastically, and each school has children with differing levels of experience watching live theatre. These factors combined with unloading and assembling the set prior to each show make VOIS a unique experience for a performer.


I assume a lot of the adults and kids don't have a lot of experience with opera. How do they respond to the big sound? To the story and performance?
JR: I feel like the response to the big sound is very positive for the most part. There's usually a bit of an adjustment period for the kids during the first 10 minutes of the show. I think some of that is shock and awe at the volume we produce without using microphones. Once they get a feel for what we sound like and the dramatic style of the play, there are hundreds of captivated faces fixated on us.

What has been a favourite memory of this tour so far?
JR: I'm from Calgary, so for me getting to tour to various parts of BC was a wonderful bonus. Touring also allowed the company to spend time doing activities we wouldn't normally do together such as cooking meals, visiting hot springs, going to a dairy farm, hiking, and my personal favourite, canoeing. These unique experiences brought us closer together as a company and fostered a more comfortable dynamic in performance.

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