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A NEW AND EXCITING DOCUMENTARY IN THE MAKING
We spoke to producer Mark Dooley to find out a bit more about the project:
How did the idea come about to bring this documentary to life?
I was talking to a friend that works on Priscilla in the West End, and I asked her to tell me some fan stories. I have always been fascinated by this side of the theatre world, and wanted to know what her experiences were on this show. Wanting to protect the identity of the fans mentioned, let’s just say, that I was inspired to make a documentary about these people. I decided I needed to tell these stories. I went home, and started researching. That was 2 years ago.
Can you give us an example of the kinds of people that are involved in the film?
Without giving too much away, I have some amazing characters that have agreed to share their passion for musical theatre. I have fans from London, New York, Los Angeles and Germany. The fans you will see are at the extreme end of the fan world, with some having seen the same show over 1,000 times, and others collecting thousands of pieces of costumes from productions all over the world.
What has been the most surprising element of being part of the fans lives?
They live very normal lives. They have regular jobs, families, friends, they just happen to have an interesting hobby. A lot of the fans love the connection they have with the actors and other fans. Most of them are very respectful, and courteous, of course, with anything, there are exceptions, and being a documentary, we have to show balance between the two.
What have been the biggest challenges so far?
Getting people to talk on camera has been the easiest part. Financing the project, like anything, has been the biggest (and continuing) challenge. To date, all the shoots have been self-funded, which takes a lot longer to make things happen. Having said that, I have been blown away by the support that the industry has already given to date. Producers and production companies, Equity and SOLT have been very supportive of the film. I am constantly reminded of the strong community aspect of theatre. The fans have their own separate community (online and at the stage doors), but they are also part of the bigger theatre family. Without them and their financial support, and keeping a buzz around some shows, some productions would have closed a lot earlier.
What is your involvement with TheatreMAD and The Make a Difference Trust?
Being a lover of theatre my whole life, I wanted to put something back into the industry, and couldn’t think of a better charity to be connected with. My wish is that this project takes full flight, which would mean the charity will benefit in a bigger way financially from the film.
What have you filmed already, and what is next?
Max and I (the Director) have been to Bochum in Germany to shoot Starlight Express. The production was amazing in allowing access to the cast and production, as they really see the benefit of highlighting the fact that these fans dedicate their lives (and money) to the production. This production is huge. The Starlight Express Theatre was built especially for the production 23 years ago and it is still running strong, with full houses weekly. We were there for the annual fan open day, where fans get to do backstage tours, enter talent competitions, dress up as their favourite starlight characters, and get their photos with the stars of the show. We were there shooting for a week, and filmed two amazing fans. I can’t wait to share their stories. Shooting in London will happen next year, followed by New York and LA in September.
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