TWENTY year-old Tanya Malouf has spent the past month away from home each night, racing after children.
Many people would not envy her job as a “kid wrangler” for the current Brisbane Lyric Theatre production of Annie, but the ex-Loreto College, Coorparoo student says she loves it.
Being a “kid wrangler”, or child chaperone, is part of Tanya’s climb through the theatrical ranks after studying for a Bachelor of Drama, majoring in Technical Production at the Queensland University of Technology (QUT).
Her main interest is stage management. Working on Annie gives her an inside look into the mechanics of stage work.
Looking after the 17 girls playing the orphans and three Annies is not an easy task.
“At first the kids were a bit of a handful but you’ve got to start thinking like a child,” she said.
“The youngest one is seven and the eldest is 14 and they all have different personalities.”
Tanya said there had been no real bouts of stage fright.
“They’re more excited than anything,” she said.
“On opening night, we couldn’t calm them down. They were jumping up and down on the beds and running around being incredibly hyperactive.”
About three of the orphans have performed in a big production before. Tanya is rostered on with one other kid wrangler each night.
“We collect the children from the parents, take them into the dressing rooms, mike them up, get them dressed and have their make-up and hair done,” she said.
Our main job is to look after them and make sure they don’t wander off. The kids are on stage for the first 20 minutes and they have about a half an hour break at the beginning of the second act so we keep them quietly occupied, like making things like friendship bracelets in the dressing rooms.
“They can’t make a lot of noise or the sound travels through the orchestra pit and up into the auditorium.”
It’s also a chance of seeing musical theatre from behind the scenes. I’m seeing how it works without going straight into it.”
Since graduating from QUT last year, Tanya has had no trouble landing jobs but some of her friends haven’t been so lucky.
“It’s really who you know and who they know,” she said, “and you’ve obviously got to be able to do the work well.”
Tanya has worked with the Brisbane River Festival, QUT theatre productions, the Woodford Folk Festival, La Boite Theatre, the River of Light Festival and the Centenary of Federation production Queensland Sings in March.
Annie runs until June 24 and then Tanya has work lined up until September.
“First, I’m doing Rigoletto with Opera Queensland, which is running from July 19 to August 4,” she said.
“I will be the assistant stage manager on that, and also assistant stage manager on the Queensland Theatre Company production of Buried Child which runs from August 23 to September 22.”
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