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History and theatre collide for Adam Stafford

Adam Stafford (left) as John & David Irvine (right) as Chris.

Adam Stafford (left) as John & David Irvine (right) as Chris.

Dual interests are colliding for Adam Stafford in his portrayal of John in Footlight Productions’ upcoming staging of the epic musical Miss Saigon. An avid follower of war history and a talented musical theatre performer, Adam is taking much pleasure in preparing for next week’s opening of the Geelong premiere of this iconic Schönberg and Boublil musical.

A graduate of both NIDA’s acting program and the Ballarat Arts Academy’s music theatre degree, Adam brings a vast range of experience to the Footlight company. Professional credits include the musicals Flowerchildren, Dancing Around Our Lives and Children of Eden, and a recent tour of China as a lead vocalist in a Four Seasons themed concert.

Adam’s history with Miss Saigon goes back some way, and finally having the opportunity to perform in this production has been a dream come true.

“This is one of my favourite musicals,” said Adam. “I actually ushered on the professional production six or seven years ago at Her Majesty’s Theatre in Melbourne. So I’ve seen the show many times, and always wanted to be in it and play one of the male leads.

“Both the roles of Chris and John are really masculine, yet they get to display a lot of emotion. Playing John has been an amazing experience – it’s a great high-baritone sing and a really strong character. It’s great to have these kinds of roles in musical theatre.”

Adam particularly appreciates the deep subject matter of the piece and is hoping Geelong audiences will think about the meaning of the show’s narrative and its lasting relevancy today.

“I like musicals where the subject matter gets you thinking,” said Adam, explaining that Miss Saigon has that in spades. “The piece is still extremely topical even today with so many conflicts happening overseas.”

Taking on a role in a musical with such historical importance and potency carries its fair share of responsibilities.

“I delve heavily into research and character development, but once you hit the rehearsal room you leave that at the door and you explore the piece itself,” said Adam.

“This kind of role has been great as it has allowed me to further explore my interest in war history and mateship. It’s exciting for me to combine singing and acting with my pre-existing historical knowledge of the Vietnam War, and also learn some new things as well.”

When questioned on how his interest in war history came about, Adam explained he is fascinated by the varying ways in which people respond to the challenges of transnational conflict.

“I’ve watched a lot of war films, I’ve also written my own war screenplay,” said Adam. “War really brings out the best and worst in people. It tears apart people and it tears apart nations. It highlights the worst in them, it galvanises them to take all forms of action.”

Footlight Productions’ Miss Saigon opens January 23, 2015 at the Geelong Performing Arts Centre for a limited three-week season. Bookings at http://www.gpac.org.au or phone the box office on 5225 1200.

Adam Stafford was interviewed by Jacob Petkovic, a Professional Communications graduate of RMIT University and a member of the Footlight Productions Marketing Team.

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