Production Arts students from Havant & South Downs College (HSDC) have spoken about how they are preparing for their first large-scale production. 

The Level 3 students have been researching and practicing their make-up and wig skills for the past few months in preparation for Ferneham Hall’s production of Cats.

Stage One Youth Theatre performers will take to the stage on 21, 22 and 23 February with make up and wigs applied by HSDC’s own students.

Speaking about the experience of preparing for Cats, student Charlotte Moore said: “We have never done the makeup and wigs for a production of this scale before, it’s really exciting.

“We have been practicing a lot of the looks and making sure we know what we have got to do on the day and taking pictures of the looks.

“It’s been difficult making them look like actual cats and creating looks that are completely new and fresh – they can’t be the same as any previous Cats shows.

“I’ve definitely learnt a lot from preparing for the show – such as making sure the make up is bold enough to be seen on stage. I’m looking forward to seeing it all come together now.”

Students Katie Green added: “We have been practicing make up every week to prepare for the actual show.

“Doing a production like this definitely prepares you for what is to come in the real world – you have to be a lot more independent.”

Liv Thompson: “We’ve been researching different Cats then putting our own twist on it. It’s really given us a chance to be creative. The biggest challenge now will be doing the whole cast but I’m excited for it now.”

The students will cover a variety of units on their two-year course, from planning a look, creating a stage make up for theatre, special effects and wig making.

Lecturer Dawn Richardson said: “The Cats production has certainly created a new challenge for the students. It has not only encouraged them to research into past productions but also watch and recreate each look whilst working with the production team closely, ensuring the character has been portrayed for their role.

“They have also been busy with other opportunities throughout the year, working for the UN creating SFX for the emergency forces and carrying out Pantomime makeup for Petersfield Theatre. They have worked for also worked with the Kings Theatre in Southsea in the past.

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“The importance of work experience such as this gives our students employability skills, it develops communication, interactive skills and a good portfolio in order that they can either go onto higher education or straight into industry.”

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