Young actor-director challenges herself


Blue Mountain College year 13 pupil Sophie Stuart is preparing for her big debut as director, lead actress and co-choreographer of a new show called Popstar, about a music competition.

When this year’s school production was first floated, Sophie put her name forward to take on the challenge of directing.

“It’s been full on,” she said. “We’ve had six weeks to put the show together, but everyone has been very supportive.”

Shannon, the main character, is a popular girl who breaks up with her boyfriend in order to launch her music career and get a shot at fame. It does not go according to plan.

“It’s a strange feeling playing her, because she’s the complete opposite of me,” Sophie said.

“She’s very rude and thinks she’s better than everyone else. I wanted to challenge myself.”

The young actor-director needs to split her time between the two roles.

“I already know my lines, which helps a lot .. I do my acting practice at home, and my directing when I’m at school.”

She spends her lunchtimes with different groups of people involved in the show, liaising with costume, fellow choreographer and lighting and sound people.

Sophie has acting in her blood. Her father began acting many years ago and much of her family has been involved with the West Otago Theatrical Society.

However, this was her first time in the director’s chair.

“It’s a little more challenging than I expected. It’s a big thing to put on a show and it was eye-opening to find out what a director actually does.”

And it was lucky for her cast and crew that she was not like her character.

She said everybody was doing a good job.

“Everyone is doing really awesome. They’re all working hard and are supportive of each other.”

Opening night is April 9 at the Tapanui Community Centre.