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Dahl’s works – alive on stage

Dahl’s works – alive on stage

WATERFALL resident Wendy Henstock’s creativity will “own the stage” in the latest Kickstart production, James and the Giant Peach, penned by Roald Dahl. The performance runs from July 5 to 23 at the Elizabeth Sneddon Theatre.

As a scenic artist and props maker for James and the Giant Peach, Henstock has been creating puppets and creating props that will bring this fantastical world of Roald Dahl alive.

According to Henstock she gets her artistic nature from her family.

“My family has a strong creative flair, and I have always had a passion for the arts. I studied both fine art and entertainment technology at the Natal Technikon, and love my fine art painting and scenic artwork. Growing up I was exposed to all forms of theatre as my family loved seeing anything – be it musical, drama, dance, even opera.”

She said that she loves working in a team of creative, hard-working people.

“Greg King [set designer and show director] is an amazing designer and work colleague, and the local theatre industry is full of inspiring, creative people.

“There are many artists and people who inspire me, especially people who have been an amazing support through the years, most especially my family. My mom is an amazing role model of a mom for me.”

Henstock is inspired by the varied, creative and exciting work that theatre allows her to do.

“I have been working in this industry for 15 years and love what I do. I am inspired by the theatre projects I work on.

“Much my work is aimed at family entertainment, which is often fun and vibrant, so quite light-hearted, but I have worked on a range of things, from serious drama to large scale musicals, pantomimes, industrial theatre and puppet shows. I never know what I’m going to be working on next.”

When asked to elaborate on scenic art, Henstock said: “This art covers a wide range of backstage work and can include set design, set construction, painting, set dressing, prop making, puppet making as well as hat and costume making, stage make up and in general anything that is needed visually to complete a show.

“A love for the arts, theatre and entertainment as well as a hard-working attitude is vital as most people in the theatre industry are self-employed.

“While there are some tertiary courses available, there are also many opportunities to get involved at school level by being exposed to as many different forms of theatre and entertainment as possible,” she said.

Henstock said that the best part of the job is when you see the finished product.

“We work on a show for a few weeks up to a few months – it is always rewarding to see a design finished, but the real moment is on stage on opening night when all the parts, which is the true magic of theatre, work together to come alive.

James and the Giant Peach, based on the book by Roald Dahl, is a story for the whole family with its quirky characters and offbeat story. There are also many visual surprises in store which is sure to delight its audience. From a giant octopus puppet, talking insects, and a scary shark, not to mention an enormous peach and a good many other surprises – there is something for everyone,” she added.

Kalisha Naicker

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