Do you hear the people sing?

Audiences will get the chance to hear Australia’s rising musical theatre stars in full voice, when the curtains go up on Griffith’s epic new production of Les Misérables tonight.

The blockbuster mainstage showfeatures a cast of 80 students, two orchestras and more than 300 costumes over 12 epic performances.

Hailed as ‘the greatest musical of all time’, Boublil and Schönberg’s retelling of Victor Hugo’s novel includes hits like I Dreamed a Dream, Castle On A Cloudand Master of the House.

The Queensland Conservatorium production features a triple cast, comprising the entire musical theatre cohort, accompanied by the Queensland Conservatorium Symphony Orchestra. The production is helmed by Melbourne-based theatre director Alister Smith.

‘I’ve never been part of anything this big before’

Bachelor of Musical Theatre student Gabby Parkin, who plays Fantine

Final year Bachelor of Musical Theatre student Gabby Parkin is one of three students playing the lead role of Fantine.

Gabby Parkin as Fantine

“This is a role that I didn’t expect to play for another 20 years or so and knowing the kind of performers that have played Fantine, there is a lot to live up to,” she said.

“This is such an iconic show – I’ve never been part of anything this big before.”

Gabby comes from a musical family: her father Robbie Parkin founded local theatre company, Harvest Rain.

“I have been dancing since I was three years old, and my Dad ran a community theatre company, so it runs in the family,” she said.

“I did all the school musicals, and hung around my Dad’s company getting involved where I could.

“I knew that this is what I wanted to do – I love performing and making the story come alive for the audience.”

No ‘Empty Chairs’ in sell-out season

Associate Professor Paul Sabey

Queensland Conservatorium Head of Performing Arts Associate Professor Paul Sabey said audiences were in for a treat, with most performances sold out.

“We have an incredibly talented group of young performers who are tackling one of the most iconic shows in the musical theatre canon,” he said.

Associate Professor Sabey said a mainstage production was one of many opportunities provided to students throughout their degree at the Queensland Conservatorium.

“It’s vital they leave us with the skill set that will enable them to tackle any role, on any stage,” he said.

‘Addressing the issues of our time’

Professor Gemma Carey

Queensland Conservatorium Acting Director Professor Gemma Carey said the show explored universal themes that resonated with modern audiences.

“Productions at the Conservatorium such as Les Misérables address the issues of our time through performance,” she said.

“The arts have the potential to bridge different perspectives and encourage people to think about the challenges facing our society.”

Les Misérables runs at the Queensland Conservatorium Theatre, South Bank from 8 — 17 August. Tickets are available at the Queensland Conservatorium website.

Queensland Conservatorium Griffith University’s new production of Boublil and Schönberg’s Les Misérables is licensed exclusively by Music Theatre International (Australasia) and Cameron Mackintosh. All performance materials are supplied by Hal Leonard Australia.