Our arts community has had precious little to giggle about recently, but the Frankston Arts Centre’s latest initiative to help the industry get through COVID-19 promises to be a real hoot. Jimmy Rees, of Giggle and Hoot fame, and his brother Nick are helping stage a musical spectacular that will be live streamed in a bid to raise some much-needed cash.
It’s called Raise the Curtain, it takes place on Thursday, July 30, at 7.30pm, and in lieu of ticket sales, those who tune in are being asked to donate whatever they can afford. All proceeds will go to the show’s performers and the two Peninsula amateur theatre companies that also helped create the project, PLOS Musical Productions and Panorama Theatre Company.
Both companies are credited with giving many successful performers their start in the industry, including the show’s host, who landed his breakout gig as Jimmy Giggle just months after finishing Panorama’s season of Guys and Dolls.
“Our industry is doing it tough at the moment and we wanted to give back to the amateur theatre community who provided us such an awesome pathway to start our careers,” Jimmy said. “We’re all so keen to get back on the stage, and the Frankston Arts Centre has enabled us to do that by hosting this brilliant production for such a good cause.”
Raise the Curtain will be live streamed via the FAC’s Facebook page and YouTube channel. It will feature rock, pop and musical theatre classics performed by Bella Paige (The Voice 2018 runner-up), Euan Doidge (Priscilla: Queen of the Desert), Kala Gare (Six the Musical), Simon Gleeson (Les Misérables), Samm Hagen (Legally Blonde), Nigel Huckle (The Ten Tenors), Joseph Naim (Beautiful: The Carole King Story), Nat O’Donnell (Mamma Mia!) and Angela Scundi (Thoroughly Modern Millie), accompanied by Sam Loomes on piano.
Producer Nick said he came up with the idea for Raise the Curtain during the first round of COVID-19 isolation because the performing arts industry had been hit hard by the pandemic. “It is going to take a long time for everyone to get back on their feet,” he said. “I’ve seen online performances organised to help the industry but nothing on stage or with the level of performers involved in Raise the Curtain.”