So Popera Productions’ latest musical offering to keep families entertained is Disney’s The Little Mermaid at the Illawarra Performing Art Centre from Friday.
The company – formed by theatre enthusiast family the Copelands of Albion Park – has brought many musical favourites to the Wollongong stage (Beauty and the Beast, The Producers, Chicago) and each year created bigger and bolder productions.
“It’s been a lot of fun spending time as a family,” Amy Copeland said of hanging with her brother and parents creating sets and rehearsing for the past six months.
Ms Copeland said the special effects will “blow people away” when they see it and admitted to “bawling her eyes out” when she watched the dramatic storm scene play out during a dress rehearsal.
“The shows haven’t really changed so much since we’ve started them, we’ve just tried to find ways that we can push our own boundaries,” Amy Copeland said.
“Last year for Beauty and the Beast we had an automated castle that drove itself … so this time we have a fully-flown automated ship that the cast will travel on.”
There are 29 – predominantly Illawarra – performers in the cast plus a full orchestra.
The story follows the mishaps of lovable mermaid Ariel as she attempts to walk on land like a human.
The show officially opens on Friday though a special group of KidzWish children who missed out on attending the charity’s Christmas party were first to get a glimpse on Thursday night.
Disney’s Little Mermaid runs until January 20 at IPAC. Running time approximately 2.5 hours. www.merrigong.com.au