Annie comes full circle for Nisbet

Jackson Lavell-LeeBusselton Dunsborough Times
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Emma Louise Nisbet, Jess Broughton, Terry Thompson, Natasha Passmore and Liam McKay get into character ahead of Annie at the Weld Theatre.
Camera IconEmma Louise Nisbet, Jess Broughton, Terry Thompson, Natasha Passmore and Liam McKay get into character ahead of Annie at the Weld Theatre. Credit: Jackson Lavell-Lee

Acting Up’s production of Annie is a full circle moment for drama and musical theatre teacher Emma Louise Nisbet.

At the tender age of four, Nisbet was introduced to theatre and by 11 she was acting in her first play. Both of those shows were Annie.

Nisbet has been caught up in the nostalgia as she prepares her students for opening night at the Weld Theatre.

“It was my first taste of musical theatre and now as a director I can’t wait to see the smiling faces on all the kids during their first applause,” she said.

The play will star Dunsborough’s Anouk Siegrist and first-time actress Isabella Bidesi as Annie with 14 performances over three weeks.

“They have been working so hard and I’m already so proud of them, it’s the biggest part a kid will play in musical theatre,” Nisbet said.

“It’s great to see the new people getting into theatre and finding that buzz. I think it’s one of the best shows, it’s funny, it’s sad and it involves all age groups.”

Besides teaching students about the theatre, Acting Up aims to inspire youth and improve their self-esteem.

Two casts have been created for the group’s season of Annie, with 26 children involved in total.

Several adults round out the cast, including Terry Thompson playing President Roosevelt, Natasha Passmore as Miss Hannigan, Liam McKay as Harold Ickes and Jess Broughton as a Boylan sister.

The production is directed by Stephen Lee, with Nisbet taking on the role of musical director and choreographer.

Nisbet’s first passion was performing but she said her appetite for directing grew with every play and the nerves were high ahead of the first show on Friday night.

“Directing is something that I’ve come into over the past few years and I wasn’t sure how much I would love it but the feeling is actually more exciting than performing,” she said.

“Seeing it all come together, something you’ve created on stage, is just so magical.

“I hope audience members will be inspired by the play, Annie is such an optimistic character, and we can find some perspective on our lives through the hardship she faces.”

Nisbet will also play a minor role as the “star to be” who is swept up in the magical appeal of Broadway.

Acting Up’s production of Annie will run from Friday, July 5, to Sunday, July 21, with evening and matinee performances. Tickets are $20 for children, $25 for adults and $80 for a family.

See actingup.com.au

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