Hard work has paid off for Ian Castle who has been required to extend his vocal range to portray the charismatic student leader Enjolras in Taree Arts Council production of Les Misérables.
“I’m getting the flow of the character now. It’s crazy high compared to the usual range I sing.”
It was a challenge Ian would be more than capable of achieving.
A singing and piano teacher from Port Macquarie, he started piano lessons at four and singing lessons at 17.
His interest in musical theatre began when he saw a production of Phantom of the Opera and decided it was something he’d like to pursue.
Two years after beginning lessons he started a Bachelor of Music in Voice at the Queensland Conservatorium and then went on to work with the Opera Queensland company.
Between gigs he started teaching back in his hometown of Port Macquarie, something that eventually became full time.
“I teach singing and piano. I have a recording studio and an online vocal coaching business and upload videos to YouTube and teach people overseas on Skype.
“Music and singing is what I do on and off the stage.”
Performing for the past 20 years, Ian’s musical theatre roles include Peter Allan in The Boy from Oz, Curly in Oklahoma, Sky in Guys and Dolls, Mickey in Blood Brothers and the Pirate King in The Pirates of Penzance. He has been involved in about 10 musicals with the The Players Theatre in Port Macquarie.
Enjolras is motivated and an idealist, probably to the detriment of everyone in the end.Ian Castle
Ian was familiar with Taree Arts Council’s work and was in the audience for Miss Saigon (at the time he was coaching Tim Gibbs who was playing the leading role of Chris) and Cats.
Les Misérables is his first performance with the company.
While he had originally auditioned for Javert, he was approached to play Enjolras and said it is a role he’s liked since he saw a performance by Anthony Warlow.
“I always get inspired by his version of it.”
He sees Enjolras as someone who is fearless and willing to die for a cause.
“His heart is with Paris and he’s fighting for a cause. He’s motivated and an idealist, probably to the detriment of everyone in the end. He leads the student revolution.”
Coming from Port Macquarie, the role meant the added commitment of driving to and from Taree two to three times a week for rehearsals – and even more now as the show gets closer.
“It had to be a good show for the travel time and the time away from my family.
“The drive can feel a little long but once I’m there the cast is great to work with and the directors (Gayle Cameron and Don Secomb) are very professional.”
The biggest challenge he’s had throughout his preparation has been extending his vocal range.
“I’ve had to basically step up a vocal type to get those notes.”
It didn’t help that he lost some preparation time when he was sick for a couple of months leading into rehearsals.
I’ve had to basically step up a vocal type to get those notes.Ian Castle
“There’s a fair bit of conditioning and strength to sustain those scenes.
“I was learning on the job. I put myself out there to fail half the time on the notes but I’m at a point now where I’m pretty confident and not worried about the notes and more focused on the character, emotionally and physically.”
“There’s a fearlessness to the process now and really going for it.”
Les Misérables is on at the Manning Entertainment Centre from November 2 to 18. Tickets are available from www.themec.com.au, by phoning 6592 5466 or at the customer service desk at Stockland Forster.
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