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Footloose at Don Russell Performing Arts Centre

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Music, romance and dance as everybody cuts Footloose
Footloose, musical, Don Russell Performing Arts Centre, Art in Motion Theatre Company, performing arts, dance, dancing, singing, Kenny Loggins, 1980s
Tiana Schwinkowski, left, Kate Sisley, Cortni Cooper, Mayarn Little-Bell, Sophie David, Keri-Rose Baker and Niamh Nichols are appearing in Footloose.


Kick off your Sunday shoes! The musical Footloose is set to dance up a storm at the Don Russell Performing Arts Centre next month. Directed by Lys Tickner for the Art in Motion Theatre Company, the show is based on the hit 1984 film of the same name and was nominated for four Tony Awards in 1999.

Footloose is based on a true story where a town put a ban on dancing – the passion from local youths ultimately proved to the adults that it didn't put them in danger either morally or physically.

Footloose, musical, Don Russell Performing Arts Centre, Art in Motion Theatre Company, performing arts, dance, dancing, singing, Kenny Loggins, 1980s
Footloose features Liam Tickner, left, Terence Smith, Sophie David, Micheal Carroll and Matthew Walford in a story of a town banned from dancing.


The soundtrack album, which features the songs Footloose, Let's Hear It For The Boy and Holding Out For A Hero, reached number one on the Billboard charts and sold more than 15 million copies. Eric Carmen, Sammy Hagar, Kenny Loggins and Jim Steinman provided additional music for the stage production.

"Music is good for the soul and this musical is full of number one hits from the mid-80s," Lys said. "The biggest difference between the musical and the movie is the complexity of the music. The score is full of harmonies that give the songs a beautiful essence but are not the radio versions the audience would be more familiar with."

Footloose, musical, Don Russell Performing Arts Centre, Art in Motion Theatre Company, performing arts, dance, dancing, singing, Kenny Loggins, 1980s
Teenage girls hanging out together in Footloose, played by Keri-Rose Baker, left, Cortni Cooper, Sophie David, Tiana Schwinkowski, Kate Sisley, Mayarn Little-Bell, Niamh Nichols.


A member of Roleystone Theatre since 1989, Lys directed her first play – The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe – as a 20-year-old in 1993. She has gone on to direct Alice in Wonderland, Little Women, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Little Shop of Horrors, High School Musical, The Snow Queen, Grease and Puffs and has been involved in a plethora of productions, either singing, dancing, acting or stage-managing.

In 2018, Lys established the Art in Motion Theatre Company with a group of like-minded people who wanted to put the fun back into theatre. Last year, she co-directed The Last Five Years at Fringe World, picking up a weekly award in the music and musicals category. "I wanted to direct Footloose because it's a fun show with some of the best music around that everyone can – and will – sing along to," Lys said.

Footloose, musical, Don Russell Performing Arts Centre, Art in Motion Theatre Company, performing arts, dance, dancing, singing, Kenny Loggins, 1980s
Ren (Matthew Walford, left) and Ariel (Mayarn Little-Bell) are the main couple in Footloose.


Mayarn Little-Bell plays Ariel Moore, a teenage girl misunderstood by most people around her, especially her father Reverend Moore. "She comes across as the bad girl in town, who has a rebellious edge and a closed-off personality," she said.

"But, on a deeper level, Ariel is extremely intelligent and sensitive who cares immensely about fixing the broken relationship with her father, as well as what people around her think. At times, the role can be quite physically challenging because of the high-intensity dancing and singing.

Footloose, musical, Don Russell Performing Arts Centre, Art in Motion Theatre Company, performing arts, dance, dancing, singing, Kenny Loggins, 1980s
Friend (Tiana Schwinkowski, left), Wendy-Jo (Keri-Rose Baker), Rusty (Kate Sisley), Ariel (Mayarn Little-Bell), Urleen (Niamh Nichols), Bickle (Sophie David) and friend (Cortni Cooper) in Footloose.

"Combining the two elements together has been something I have been working on throughout this experience, attempting to build up my stamina and strength while performing. It's also hard to find the balance between Ariel's sensitive side and her tough side, which is something I really want to convey."

Involved in the performing arts from a young age, Mayarn started acting classes with Queensland's BC Music Education before moving to WA and discovering her passion for musical theatre at the Acting Up Drama School in Busselton. After being accepted into the gifted and talented musical theatre program at John Curtin College of the Arts, she went on to play lead roles in Bring it On, The Addams Family and Fiddler on the Roof.

Footloose, musical, Don Russell Performing Arts Centre, Art in Motion Theatre Company, performing arts, dance, dancing, singing, Kenny Loggins, 1980s
Mayarn Little-Bell, left, and Matthew Walford as Ariel and Ren.


In 2018, Mayarn performed in the musical Big Fish with the Midnite Youth Theatre Company and then worked on make-up for The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui the following year. "I discovered this production of Footloose through a Facebook auditions page earlier this year," she said. "I had been looking for musicals to audition for since graduating high school at the end of 2020.

Footloose, musical, Don Russell Performing Arts Centre, Art in Motion Theatre Company, performing arts, dance, dancing, singing, Kenny Loggins, 1980s
Chuck (Terence Smith, left) with Ariel (Mayarn Little-Bell) in Footloose.

"As soon as I saw the Footloose auditions, I instantly knew it would be a high-energy and exciting show to be in – and I haven't been proven wrong! Having seen the original movie, I remembered how incredible the dancing looked and how great the songs were, and I really wanted to experience the stage version of this classic 80s film."

Footloose plays at 8pm June 11, 12, 17, 18 and 19; 2pm June 12 and 19 and 6pm June 13. Tickets are $30, $25 concession – book at tinyurl.com/2021footloose. The Don Russell Performing Arts Centre is at Lot 13, Murdoch Road, Thornlie.

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Why? It’s one of the most energetic and thrilling shows around with dance numbers that really zing!
When: 8pm June 11, 12, 17, 18 & 19; 2pm June 12 & 19; 6pm June 13
Where: Don Russell Performing Arts Centre, Lot 13 Murdoch Road, Thornlie
Cost: $30, $25 concession
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