Ravensthorpe local to take centre stage

Former Ravensthorpe resident Nicole George will take to the stage next month to perform in the Tony Award-winning musical 'The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee'.

The musical comedy, directed by Stephen Carr, follows a group of mid-pubescents as they compete for the top spot in the spelling bee championship.

The musical is one Mrs George has described as a sweet and heartwarming snapshot of a pivot time in life.

Born in Ravensthorpe to a local sheep shearer, Mrs George spent much of her childhood on the family's farm.

Upon returning to WA after living overseas, Mrs George moved to the city and joined the Roleystone Theatre in 2007 - a move that drove her to pursue theatre.

"My grandparents owned the Ravensthorpe hotel and we had a farm between Ravensthorpe and Hopetoun," she said.

"I still go back there and I get that weird pang of nostalgia.

"I can't go through that part of the country without that whole body feeling, that feeling that I'm home.

"Growing up in smaller regional towns, the theatre scene was almost nonexistent.

"I did feel like a bit of a fish out of water.

"Moving to a new city, it was this incredible tribe and I really feel like I kind of found my people.

"I wanted to find like-minded people, people that loved music and storytelling - these were those people.

"Now, we live in a world that is far more connected than it was and it would be easier and more accessible for youth in regional centres to find their tribe with the internet."

The last decade with community theatre has presented Mrs George with a plethora of opportunities.

In 2018, Mrs George was awarded the Junior Theatre Ambassadorship for Australia, embarking on a 'lifechanging' summer travelling in the United States to mingle with composers and those in the theatre scene in New York and LA.

Mrs George became involved with the musical after returning from her trip, working alongside award-winning director Stephen Carr.

With more than two decades in the industry, Mr Carr has worked in theatres across the state and was awarded the Finley Award for best director and best show for his production of Sweeney Todd in 2009.

Mr Carr said his production was about challenging the audience and encouraging them to take a look back at their childhood.

"The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee relies on audience participation so choreographing a show with four new people each night does present a few challenges," he said.

"I want them [the audience] to walk away, having had a good night and knowing our theatre group is still going strong and in good hands.

"I get to teach and pass on my knowledge to the next batch of theatre professionals and have three of my current students in this latest show.

"We also have to dive back into our own childhood and remember what a large and scary world it was."

The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee will be presented by The Roleystone Theatre at the Armadale District Hall from May 3 to 11.

To purchase tickets, or find out more information, visit www.roleystonetheatre.com.au.