Voices were laid bare for the soft opening of the Australian Musical Theatre Festival.
Launceston College students and performer Abbey Hansson took to the Brisbane Street Mall on Saturday to share some musical theatre love before the festival opens on May 19.
Hansson, known for her leading roles in musical theatre including Elphaba in Wicked, said it was exciting to have the Australian Musical Theatre Festival in Tasmania.
"Especially through everything that has happened over the last year and a bit, I think theatre's the one thing that's really struggled, not just performers but audience members as well," she said.
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"[Audiences] really enjoy coming out and being able to watch that sort of stuff, and having that taken away has been really tricky.
"We get to feel that love for theatre again, and I am so thankful I can be a part of it this year."
Hansson said the festival was important for all those who needed some extra encouragement to enter the world of theatre.
"One thing leads to another and you are addicted, obsessed with it," she said.
Hansson's talents will be able to be enjoyed during Once in a Blue Moon and Ghostlight.
However, she will be just one of many talents included in the festival, with renowned director Roger Hodgman also making several program appearances.
Hodgman has a long list of credentials that accompany his name, and will bring his experiences to share with others at the festival.
The Hobart-born director always had an interest in drama and school plays, which led to him falling in love with the idea of theatre.
"I did my first directing gig when I was about 15," he said.
During his career, Hodgman spent time as artistic director at Vancouver Playhouse where undertook two productions with acclaimed playwright Tennessee Williams, a career highlight he said.
"There are a number of productions I look back on with great fondness," Hodgman said.
"But it's hard to pick particular ones."
Hodgman has worked on over 125 productions but he didn't stop there, adding TV shows such as Wentworth, A Place to Call Home, and Packed to the Rafters to his list too.
Hodgman was asked by the Australian Musical Theatre Festival's executive producer Tyran Parke to bring his experience to the event, after the two had known each other for "quite awhile".
"I'm very impressed with Tyran's ambitions with the festival. I think he's determined to make it a really important part of the Australian musical theatre scene," Hodgman said.
"[The festival will be] a great opportunity for people to share ideas, get their feet wet again, and start working again."
The director will teach directing, assist in development of a new musical, host a panel on auditioning and be interviewed on his career during the festival.
"There's no way you can really teach people to direct, it's something you have in you or not," he said.
"But, you can get experiences that help you develop. I hope to pass on some of the good and bad things [from] over the years."
Hodgman said although directing was at times "a strange and lonely place", he found immense joy in the planning and rehearsal stages.
With many of the festival's guests on their way now and into next week, things are starting to ramp up for the official opening on Wednesday night.
Mr Parke said he was thrilled with the 2021 program and noted that a year ago, the event would not have been possible.
"Next week, the best of Broadway and the West End arrive in this amazing city to deliver a vibrant and energised program," he said.
"At the centre of that are our local performers, who will mingle and learn from the world's best and maybe even be discovered themselves.
"This weekend's performance and costume display starts off our celebration in the heart of the city, bringing a bit of theatre magic to the centre of Launceston."
Mr Parke said it was great to finally see the festival come alive after months of talking, planning and conversations.
The festival will be held May 19-23. For more information visit amtf.org.au.
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