Drama queens: Ipswich women join forces on stage

CLASS REUNION: Former Ipswich Girls’ Grammar students Alison Rogers and Alison St Ledger have reunited in a production of Boadicea - The Celtic Rock Opera.
CLASS REUNION: Former Ipswich Girls’ Grammar students Alison Rogers and Alison St Ledger have reunited in a production of Boadicea - The Celtic Rock Opera. Claudia Baxter
Former Ipswich Girls Grammar students, Alison Rogers and Alison St Ledger are about to reunite in Boadicea-The Celtic Rock Opera which opens at La Boite s Roundhouse Theatre, Brisbane 27 May until 7 June. Photo: Mark Sykes
Former Ipswich Girls Grammar students, Alison Rogers and Alison St Ledger are about to reunite in Boadicea-The Celtic Rock Opera which opens at La Boite s Roundhouse Theatre, Brisbane 27 May until 7 June. Photo: Mark Sykes Contributed

ASIDE from their names, Alison St Ledger and Alison Rogers have a lot of similarities.

Both women have gone on to pursue successful careers in music and the performing arts.

Both share the same age.

They even attended the same classes at Ipswich Girls' Grammar School 30 years ago.

So it might come as no surprise that their career paths have intertwined on more than one occasion.

Each time they do though, the result is something special; like their most recent collaboration on an upcoming production titled 'Boadicea: The Celtic Rock Opera'.

After the pair graduated together in 1984, both women have followed their passions to define their own successes in life.

Ms St Ledger is now one of Queensland's finest and most versatile performers.

She is perhaps best known for her involvement in the iconic music series Women in Voice, a powerful female vocal showcase, now in its 20th year of production.

The talented singer has also produced an album of her own compositions and given critically acclaimed performances at the Brisbane Cabaret Festival.

She's appeared numerous times as a guest vocalist with legendary Australian band Powderfinger, and has been appointed as co-artistic director for the Queensland Cabaret Festival.

Ms Rogers is the founder and director of Vocal Manoeuvres - a nationally recognised provider of vocal, choral services and programs.

As a dedicated chorus master, she has pioneered many innovative choral programs throughout Queensland and in the international arena.

Some of the programs include the Ailan Kores Choir in the Torres Strait Islands, the Singapore Festival Chorus and the QPAC Choir based at the Queensland Performing Arts Complex.

She has also co-ordinated and trained backing vocalists for artists such as Michael Bublé, Neil and Tim Finn, and Mariah Carey.

Both women said their time at Ipswich Girls' Grammar played a significant role in influencing them to pursue careers in the performing arts.

"We had some of the most formidable, highly skilled teachers," Ms Rogers said.

"I don't think we'd be doing what we're doing if it wasn't for their guidance.

"We had one particular music teacher named Bernard Lanskey who was brought in as an artist-in-residence, who later became the assistant director of music at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama in London.

"That's the calibre of artist we had access to at high school."

On the drama side of things, the ladies also received a lot of encouragement from their high school drama teacher, Helen Pullar.

"Helen was one of those teachers who just lived for the subject and aimed to inspire others to excel in drama," Ms Rogers said.

"You could tell she wanted to impart to us what a beautiful world theatre was.

"We had the opportunity to write musicals, design sets and costumes, arrange music - which laid a solid foundation for future performing arts experience."

Since their high school days, the two ladies have found themselves working together on numerous occasions.

They teamed up on a schools program called Creative Generations and again on a production called Presidentsland which was staged during the 2009 Queensland Music Festival.

Ms St Ledger said she relished each opportunity to work with her former classmate and catch up - like a mini school reunion.

In 'Boadicea: The Celtic Rock Opera', which opens this month, Ms St Ledger heads the cast as Boadicea, the fiery female legend of the Celtic Empire.

In the same production, Ms Rogers takes on the role of choir director, using her Vocal Manoeuvres choir to add to the spectacle of the rock opera.

"It'll be like old times at high school," Ms St Ledger said.

"Except back then, I was always playing the lead male roles."

The production tells a mythical and modernised tale of Boadicea and her quest to conquer vindictive Roman emperor Nero.

"She was able to unite all these different Celtic tribes and she pretty much slaughtered everybody - which was hideous," Ms St Ledger said.

She said the highly entertaining production told an epic tale of rebellion and revenge set in 60AD.

It features a 50-plus strong ensemble and six-piece band and will be held at La Boite's Roundhouse Theatre in Brisbane from May 27 to June 7.

Tickets cost between $25 to $45 and can be booked at qtix.com.au.

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