Collins ready to take it all

Sam Heskett (Rosie), Sophie Collins (Donna) and Narelle Bonnicci (Tanya)

By Natalee Kerr

A Geelong theatre company is set to bring its “unique” take on popular musical Mamma Mia to the local stage next month.

Newtown actress, Sophie Collins, who stars as the lead role of Donna Sheridan, said the local production will be “different” from previous interpretations of the show.

“We’re not just another production of Mamma Mia – we’re putting our own spin on it,” she said.

Told through the iconic music of ABBA, Mamma Mia centres around Donna’s daughter Sophie, a young bride-to-be.

On the eve of her wedding, Sophie’s quest to discover the identity of her father brings three men from her mother’s past back to the island they last visited twenty years ago.

Collins said the “feel-good” two-hour musical would leave audiences “with a big smile on their face”.

“There is so much going on, they’ll be entertained the whole time,” she said.

“People will be up out of their seats, their legs will be sore from dancing, their hands sore from clapping and their mouth sore from smiling.”

Collins, who grew up in Geelong, has had a “life-long” passion for performing.

She landed a lead role at age 12 in 1986 playing Annie before playing a small role in Neighbours.

“I set out to have a career in musical theatre, I studied opera, but then it went in a different path,” she said.

Collins now performs as a “hobby” and recently received a nomination for best female lead at this years’ Music Theatre of Victoria Guild Awards.

A self-confessed “massive” Mamma Mia fan, Collins has seen the production multiple times including versions in Ireland and London.

Collins said she feels a “personal connection” to the play.

“I lived in London for two and a half years, and when I arrived I was desperate to work in the industry,” she said.

“Mamma Mia was playing in the first theatre I stood foot inside on the West End, so it’s a pretty special thing to be given this role and have the opportunity to bring it to life.”

The actress and singer said the production will be her first jukebox-style musical.

“I’ll be performing 13 songs – it’s definitely a vocal challenge, but I love it,” she said.

“There’s lot of dancing too, so this is a new experience for me as a non-dancer, but I’m finding my groove.”

Collins said she “can’t wait” to perform again in her hometown when Mamma Mia comes to Geelong Arts Centre for two weeks starting on 17 January.

“I love doing shows down here because everybody rallies all their friends to come along,” she said.

“The Geelong audience are really supportive and loyal.”

Your first stop before buying a home. View the whole picture.