AFTER fourteen weeks of rehearsal, Emma Short admitted to a few tears on hearing the opening notes of the overture last weekend at the Maclean Civic Hall.
"The musicians make an incredible sound, and then the first scene comes on and it's fantastic."
Miss Short is the director of the Clarence Coast Theatrical Society's production of Annie, and she says the musical play based on the original production has brought the best out in the cast of 22 children and 20 adults.
"I think the audience will be blown away by the cast; the kids in particular," she said. "For many of them, this is their stage debut, and they've worked really hard".
"All the roles are quite demanding. There's a lot of singing, dancing and acting involved, and most of the cast don't have have formal training in all three areas."
The production is unique as many roles in the show are doubled, with the different casts playing different nights of the production - something that was a challenge for the first time director.
"At the beginning it was a bit tricky learning who does what and when" she laughed.
"But our two groups of "orphans" have definitely fed off each other. Most of the time they watch the direction the other group gets, so they have a fair idea of what to do when it is their turn to run the scene"
"The cast have done so well. They have come in twice a week for rehearsals, worked hard and now it has all paid off. They should be extremely proud of what they have achieved"
And as for her decision to make her directorial debut with such a large scale show, Miss Short laughs.
"At times it's been madness, it's been a lot of work and quite a steep learning curve but I have loved the experience" she said.
"I've had an incredible group of helpers. My entire creative team have been a godsend and I can't thank them all enough."
"In general the mood has been really positive and encouraging and the whole team have pulled together to create a great show."
The show opens this Friday night at the Maclean Civic Hall at 7pm and has Maclean performances this week on Friday, Saturday and a Sunday matinee at 2pm. Next week it will run Thursday-Saturday evenings at Maclean with a Sunday matinee at the Yamba Bowling Club.
Tickets are $15 for adults and $10 for children and are available from The Maclean Flower Box for all the Maclean shows, and from the Yamba Bowling Club for the Yamba matinee.