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Theatre set for emerging talent

HANNAH FLEMING
Last updated 08:00 26/02/2013

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It's a place which has allowed budding Taranaki musicians to perform their songs live for the past eight years.

Before that, several composers and singers remained hidden from the public eye, either having nowhere to play, or some too nervous to reveal their talent.

Cue Anand Rose, an Irishman with an idea.

"I used to attend Singer Songwriters in Dublin and thought it was a great evening.

"What I liked about it was that the room was quiet when musicians were playing their song. Everyone got to play one song, so everyone got a fair hearing," he said.

When he returned he spoke to friend Dave Smith about staging a similar event in New Plymouth.

In June it will be eight years, and Mr Rose said he had witnessed a lengthy string of talent emerge from Taranaki in that time.

Along with Mr Rose, Musicworks, Access Radio, Cruise FM and Freeze Frame Photography all play a part in creating a event that is both welcoming and professional.

Mr Rose said many a first-timer had made their debut on the Singer Songwriter stage.

"That's the really important underlying value. The stage is there for a person who wants to do it for the first time, as well as a person who is experienced, because everybody's always looking to get better.

"No matter how good you are you're always wanting the experience of playing on stage in a theatre."

The very first night in 2005 saw now veteran Singer Songwriter Missy Moffat make her debut. "She's still coming along almost eight years later," Mr Rose said.

The event which is held monthly, attracts about 20 performers a night, and Mr Rose said hundreds of musicians had passed through the door.

"We just provide the space for them to play and they come and go."

A notable attender was successful Auckland musician Andrew Keoghan.

"He says there is nothing like Singer Songwriters in Auckland. He really admires the value that people are quiet when music's being played, and that the production values are high in terms of the sound, visuals and the environment."

It's also a good night out for the crowd, Mr Rose said.

"People come along for pleasure and enjoy the environment, it's very much a show. We have some women who make it their monthly get- together. They get a bottle of wine and a table and that's their night out together which they enjoy."

An album is also produced each year which gave musicians a chance to play live in the theatre, as well as experience the recording studio process, Mr Rose said.

Voted in Venture Taranaki's Top 50 Must Dos in Taranaki last year, Mr Rose hoped to be re-elected this year after voting closed yesterday.

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"It would be a real honour and a privilege to make the Top 50 again."

To anyone who had not yet taken the plunge to head along and share their skills with the province, Mr Rose was not short of encouragement.

"Encouragement is what you get lots of when you come to the Little Theatre. Everybody there is with you, you'll feel that."

- Taranaki Daily News

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