Fly My Pretties celebrate restoration
After a year off gigs following the arrival of her first child, Lauren Anne (LA) Barus cannot think of a better place to get back on stage than the restored Isaac Theatre Royal.
The diminutive songwriter and singer, who lives in Addington with husband and fellow musician Matt Barus, is part of the 15-strong cast of Kiwi collaboration Fly My Pretties bringing a three-hour show to Christchurch on February 20. The night commemorates the theatre's reopening in November after nearly four years closed because of earthquake damage.
"Keeping the theatre in Christchurch is a great triumph. The experience you can have in a theatre like that is different to other venues and not just for the audience - it's a beautiful thing from the stage front, as well," Lauren says.
Her last gig was a Lazy Sunday concert in Hagley Park when she was eight and a half months pregnant with daughter Serafina, who was born in March last year.
"When I heard that Fly My Pretties was coming to Christchurch, I was totally in. I was so super-excited. This is a great chance to get back into it, in my own city, without having to be away from my wee girl for too long."
Although Lauren hasn't been doing live gigs lately, she has been recording with Matt for their band Terrible Sons, working at Christchurch Polytechnic about four hours a week teaching second-year students contemporary and jazz singing, taking lyric-writing classes and reinvigorating her own writing by taking an online course through Berkeley University in San Francisco.
Lauren believes having a child has mellowed her.
"I do think differently. I'm not anywhere near as serious as I used to be about music. It's not the biggest thing in my universe any more."
Having said that, music is still a huge part of her life. Terrible Sons will release a single and video later this year, having worked with producer Ben Edwards from Lyttelton Records.
Serafina has also taught Lauren to focus intensely on her writing when she has the chance.
"Before, I needed to be solely focused on my writing, and trying to balance that with looking after a baby was hard. Some days they may only sleep 40 minutes or, if they are having a good day, maybe an hour and a half, if you're lucky, so you need to work intensely while you can. It's been a good skill to work on."
Lauren is looking forward to being back on a stage with old friends and she expects more live gigs to follow the Isaac Theatre Royal restoration celebration show.