By SHELLEY TOPP
Performing arts tutor Briar Patrick steps into the spotlight this month in the role of Emma Carew in North Canterbury Musicals’ production of Jekyll and Hyde.
Briar says she is passionate about the musical for two reasons. “Performing with North Canterbury Musicals is very special to me because I’ve been going to the society’s shows since I was about seven-years-old,” she says.
“I’ve been involved with every North Canterbury Musicals show in some capacity since 2012, and I have been a fan of the music in Jekyll and Hyde for years, so I was really excited when I heard this was what the society was planning on doing this year.
“After doing everything from playing second keyboard in the orchestra of Aida to alternating the lead role of Maria in The Sound of Music, Briar was ready for another challenge in North Canterbury Musicals’ latest production.
Working with director Paul Johnson and musical director Leanne O’Mahony has enabled Briar to find her character’s inner strength.
“I think Emma is a very strong woman for her time, who is very aware of the limits society places on her, but does her best to override these when she can,” Briar says.
“She’s a romantic, but not in the sense that she doesn’t think things through, which I think is important. One of the first things Emma does in the show is turn down a man, which is huge in defining her character, particularly as that’s not something audiences will typically expect from a female romantic lead,” she says. “She’s not in this story just to support Jekyll; she’s there as a fully fledged character of her own.”
Playing Emma is not the only big role Briar is tackling this year.
After five years of teaching drama and singing at Rangiora’s Hartley School of Performing Arts, she is now studying for a Masters degree in teaching and learning at Canterbury University.