Anna’s backstage baptism

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By DAVID HILL

Anna Brandt has gone from a leading role on-stage to running the show backstage.

After taking on the lead role of Will Scarlett for last year’s Hartley School of Performing Arts’ senior production of Robin Hood, Anna has taken on the role of stage manager for next week’s performances of Beauty and the Beast in the Rangiora Town Hall.

“I’m really excited because all my friends are in it. I know what it’s like to be a performer and I want it to be special for them.

“I prefer the stage, but I feel it’s very important for all actors to have a go backstage because they get to see it from a different perspective.”

Anna is enjoying her role and looks forward to director Briar Patrick handing over the reins of this year’s production after Sunday’s final dress rehearsal.

“The director goes through so much I can’t imagine how hard it is to give it up. It must be so sad. But they are going to do great.”

While the cast had 10 weeks of rehearsals, Anna says the backstage crew has had just two weeks to pull it off.

The stage manager is always the first to arrive before each performance and the last to leave, which will mean long days when the performances are being staged.

“But it’s so worth it and it’s so rewarding,” she says. “I think everyone gets that show buzz, but it’s a different kinds of intensity to being on-stage.”

Anna says it was “hilarious” playing Will Scarlett in last year’s production, as she is good friends with Logan McAllister, who played the title role of Robin Hood.

“He said, ‘why didn’t they just call it Will Scarlett’? The banter we had was so much fun.”

Having Will Scarlett as the lead role rather than Robin Hood was an added twist by script writer and director Paul Johnson, who also directed Anna’s first senior production with the Hartley school, Jungle Book

“Paul Johnson is great. I was afraid of him at first, but he’s played a big role in a lot of things for me and he’s so passionate.”

Anna is taking a gap year this year while she considers her future options and says she is enjoying taking every opportunity to be on stage.

Her other commitments this year have included appearing in North Canterbury Musicals’ production of Jekyll and Hyde