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Interview with Avenue Q Director Candace Baldwin: Auditions This Weekend!

Are you located in the southern end of the Gold Coast, Tweed Shire, or Northern Rivers area? If you're looking for an opportunity to be part of an unconventional kind of musical, then you're in luck!

Auditions for Avenue Q are taking place this Friday and Saturday at Ballina Theatre. This Tony Award-winning show combines puppetry and live actors to tell a heartwarming, humorous story about growing up and finding purpose in life. It features catchy tunes, clever lyrics, and relatable characters that will appeal to audiences of all ages.

GCTAI reached out to director Candace Baldwin with some questions to discover more about the upcoming production and bring you more information to perk your interest in auditioning!

Q: Tell us about yourself:

A: My name is Candace, I’ve been a very active member of Ballina Players for the last 8 years , both on stage (The Marvellous Wonderettes, Boy from Oz, HMS Pinafore, Girls Weekend, Clue on stage) and behind the scenes. In the past 1-2 years I have been very busy at Ballina Players being Assistant Director of Clue on stage (2022) & Play On! (2023) Choreographer of the sell out season of Mamma Mia (2022) and I am currently Choreographing Priscilla Queen of the Desert (2023)

Avenue Q is my first time taking the lead as Director, something I have been ready for, for a long time. It’s honestly the perfect show that captures my sense of humour, outlook on the world and of course puppets! I am very grateful to have this opportunity.

Q: Tell us about your production team:

A: I have an amazing team, all incredibly talented and distinguished In their own right.

Leanne Broadley is my Music and Vocal director. We have worked on many shows together as Choreographer and Music Director, making this the next natural step. Most recently I got to help guide Leanne through playing the lead “Donna” - in Mamma Mia (2022)

Liz Dargin is production manager. Liz is one of Ballina Players You can find Liz on stage performing, running the sound desk and mics, stage managing, prompting, designing programs etc.

Most recently Liz starred in Play On! As “Aggie” the shows stage manager.

Peter Harding (Vice President of BP) is set design and lighting. Having won awards for his set design and lighting, I know Avenue Q is in the best hands possible.

Luke Mulder on Sound and Mics. Trevor Stone and Brook Lacy as Stage Managers

Q: Are you looking for any extra to help behind the scenes?

A: We can always use more hands with behind the scenes and backstage. I encourage anyone wanting to be apart of the theatre to get in contact. You don’t need to have experience, just a positivity attitude and lots of free time!

Q: Tell us a little about the play

A: Avenue Q is a musical set in a heightened reality where puppets (monsters) and humans try to navigate the ups and downs of everyday life. I like to say it’s a cross between Sesame Street and South Park for adults.

Q: Why did you choose to do this production, what drew you to it:

A: I was approached by a few members of Ballina Players and was asked if I was interested in submitting and directing it. There was no hesitation, I knew I wanted to bring something different to our stage. I am not afraid of approaching topics that may be considered a little taboo with respect, an open mind and a lot of humour. There is no shortage of that in Avenue Q and of course the puppets!

Q: What kind of challenges / experiences will the performers look forward to if successful in audition.

A: Avenue Q is a unique musical, the cast is mostly puppets, meaning not only do the actors have to learn the dialogue, music and choreography. They need to bring these puppets to life. Some cast may also play multiple puppet roles.

Q: What sort of availability should those successful in auditions have for rehearsals?

A: We will be running rehearsals on Mondays through May and June then add in additional weekly rehearsals from July (once the current production of Priscilla Queen of the Desert finishes). We are using a backing music instead of a live band too. This will allow the cast to independently rehearse with the music right from the start.

Q: What are you looking in during auditions?

A: Pretty much we are looking for anyone with a positive attitude, some over the top characters, can carry a tune, sense of humour and comedic timing. I am very open to casting any gender in any roll. If you think you can do it, go for it!

Q: When are auditions taking place and how can people apply.

A: Friday 5th May and Saturday 6th at Ballina Players Theatre – 24 Swift St, Ballina

Video auditions are also accepted. Contact production manager Liz Dargin on 0402419985 to book a time.

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