Cats finally prowl the boards

January 20, 2022 BY

Spotlight: Taylor Chisholm plays Grizabella in Tribe Youth Theatre’s production of Cats. Photos: BRENDAN MCCARTHY

AFTER being originally slated for September last year, Tribe Youth Theatre’s production of Cats finally hit the stage last Sunday.

Cast members were eager to perform the show, which was announced way back in 2019.

Taylah Chisholm, who plays Grizabella, said the musical has been a long time coming.

“The original cast was announced in 2020, but after being postponed a couple times it’s great to be in costume, under the lights, on stage and performing for an audience,” she said.

“It’s been a long process and the rehearsals have been very choppy. With COVID we’ve been very stop-start, we could only have a certain amount of people in a rehearsal space at once, but it’s been good.

Erin Tinker as Rumpleteazer (centre).

Having been cast in early 2020, Chisholm said it’s definitely the longest time she’s spent in a role.

“It’s been good to be able to research the character a little bit more and focus on her material so it’s not always bad,” she said.

Chisholm described Grizabella as an older, fragile cat, ostracized from the group of jellicles but eager to regain her respect and be selected to go to the Heaviside Layer, a heavenly place where cats are reborn.

“She gets the big song Memory at the end of act two, which is amazing for me to sing,” she said. “The audience begins not liking her and as the story progresses, I feel they start to love her.”

“To be able to do a show written by Andrew Lloyd-Weber is a privilege. Not many people get this opportunity to perform this in-depth and well-known show, so you’ve just got to take it as it comes and enjoy every moment.”

First performing with Bendigo Theatre Company in 2017, Chisholm most recently played the lead in BTC’s We Will Rock You.

Cats will be the 19-year-old’s last show on Bendigo stages for a while, after being accepted into the Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts at Edith Cowan University.

Katie McGregor as Pouncival and Gemma Chisholm as Etcetera pounce.

“I’ve been accepted into the diploma of musical theatre,” she said. “WAAPA is such a highly rated musical theatre school in Australia, I’m still very overwhelmed with my acceptance.

“It’s a year worth of full-on material, full-on works and then we’ll assess at the end of the year what I decide to do after that.”

However, Chisholm said her time on the local performing arts scene has been the perfect platform to start her musical theatre career.

“Bendigo Theatre Company has taught me all of my skills pretty much,” she said.

“Gaining confidence, how to interact with one another and just how to really read into the material you’re learning, I’ll take that with me definitely.”

Cats is on at the Girton Black Box with one show tomorrow night and two on Saturday. For ticketing information head to bit.ly/33fhDXh.