This week, for TW Talks Tuesday, we chat to Sarahlouise Younger and Ashley Taylor from Salty Theatre.
SL: Hello my name is Sarahlouise Younger. I am the co-founding artistic director of Salty Theatre and the director of Voldemort and the Teenage Hogwarts Musical Parody.
AT: Hi I’m Ashley Taylor I’m one of the co-founders of Salty Theatre and I also play the role of Myrtle Warren in Voldemort and the Teenage Hogwarts Musical Parody.
TW: How did you start collaborating on Salty Theatre?
SL: So Ashley and I met doing a show together in 2018 and during the rehearsal process we didn’t really have that much to do with each other but during production we were sharing a dressing station together. Ash just has a really cool vibe and she’s just a dream to work with in a show. At some point very briefly during wig changes and costume changes and all sorts of things, she expressed that she really wanted to start a theatre company, very similar to the ones that she had worked with in Canada – or her goal was to create something like that. And the more I got talking to her I realised she had worked for Stratford and Shaw and I was pretty starstruck.
I think a lot of actors have had that conversation with another actor where they have expressed that they want to start a theatre company and then you kinda go on your merry way. It’s sort of something you do before you get booked for the next gig you know. Whereas it’s something that I’ve actually always wanted to do and finding someone who is willing to put in the hard work for that is rare. And so I said to Ashley you know I’ve had this conversation before but if you’re in I’m in, like I wanna do this. And about a month later, we had a meeting over a couple of wines.
We just kind of laid it all on the table about all our artistic woes and things that we wish would change and two months later, we put on a show and it was exhilarating, scary, we made a bunch of mistakes but we just knew that we were onto something and the rest as they say is history.
TW: How did you discover ‘Voldemort and the Teenage Hogwarts’?
AT: I discovered ‘Voldemort and the Teenage Hogwarts Musical Parody’ on one of my many google rabbit holes that I fall into when I’m looking up musicals and trying to find shows that I would like to bring here as part of Salty Theatre. I was looking at shows that were being done at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival and I came across this golden nugget or golden snitch, as it were!
I just fell in love with the whole concept behind it, just the idea of this musical parody, this world – I’m a self-professed Potterhead- so being able to bring that world here and just kind of spin it on it’s head. It was a really exciting concept. I know audiences from overseas really enjoyed it and knowing that there’s such a fan base here in Australia we thought it would be a great show but also it speaks to audiences that are not really familiar with harry potter as well. We fell in love with the whole idea of Voldemort coming to Australia. We got in touch with the team there and snatched it up and we’re very very excited and very grateful.
TW: What has been a highlight from your time developing ‘Voldemort’?
SL: One of the biggest highlights has been the fact that this script is so funny. When we were in the first read through I felt like I could just put microphones in front of the cast and put them on a bare stage and just let them go and it would have still been an amazing show. That’s also because we’ve just been blessed with the cast that we have assembled they’re so talented, driven, no fear, great instincts, they’re invested in the characters, they’re invested in the script, they’re invested in the world that we’re creating, being very sensitive to the needs of the fans of Harry Potter and the Potter world but also willing to push the envelope just that little bit so we’re creating something new and fresh for now.
I think also for Salty Theatre in general this has felt like a bit of an evolutionary experience – if that’s the right term, I don’t think it is but i’m gonna go with it. We’ve gone from Ash and I kind of doing everything, not kind of but doing everything, to the cast and crew and creatives combined we have 14 people on board who believe in us and believe in the vision we have for this show and that creative network that has happened is just – I think a lot of performers and actors and people in the industry know that moment where you just find your tribe and I feel like we found the Salty tribe.
TW: What are you most excited for audiences to see?
SL: What I am most excited for audiences to see is a fresh take on a very familiar world and also being introduced to new characters and for Slytherin to finally have its time to shine front and centre. I think it’s gonna be a real treat for when audiences come and visit us at Theatre Works.
TW: Is this just a show for Potterheads?
SL: This show is not just for Potterheads. It is pretty much for everybody. You could be someone who’s all about that life, waiting for your Hogwarts letter, written your own Hogwarts letter, to the other side where you’re like “I couldn’t care less about that kid under the stairs”. If you love to laugh, if you like your jokes a little bit dirty and cheap then this show is for you.
TW: What Hogwarts house do you belong to?
SL: Slytherin. No one’s surprised.
AT: I am a proud member of Gryffindor house. I have taken the Wizarding World test a number of times and yeah, I think I am a Gryffindor through and through.
I thought maybe I would be a Hufflepuff but I’m not. Gryffindor. So yeah Sarahlouise and I get along really well, no, but we actually do, we love each other.
TW: Any final messages?
AT: For all of our audience members out there, our ticket holders and the Harry Potter fans out there, all we have to say is sit tight, we are coming, the show is coming back. Hold onto your tickets and just know that magic will be coming to you soon and we’re so excited. It’s gonna be worth the wait we promise!
SL: To all the people who have purchased tickets to Voldemort, to everyone who has supported us, to all of our fans of Salty Theatre who continue to engage with us on Instagram and on Facebook and who visit our website, Ash and I wanna give you a big heartfelt thank you! Your support means the world to us, especially now and we hope to see you soon. Please hold onto your tickets. Voldemort is gonna happen and we cannot wait to see you and have a drink in the theatre and the foyer afterwards because we’re gonna need it!
If you’re new and have just found out who we are, welcome! You can visit us on Instagram @Saltytheatre and on our Facebook which is also Saltytheatre or you can visit our website at www.saltytheatre.com.au Mwah! Thank you!