After months of waiting in the wings due to the coronavirus pandemic, Emma Powell is preparing to step back on the stage in Melbourne musical Come From Away.
Powell, who spent her formative years in Echuca, is excited for a face-to-face reunion with her cast mates and to be able to perform for audiences again.
"Rod, our producer, worked hard to get it up and going again and we are pleased to come back," she said. "Shows around Australia have just started to start or come back. We shut up shop in March and everything is still there. Our sets and the front-of-house stuff, is all still there."
Come From Away tells the true story of a small Canadian that welcome passengers from 38 planes and 6600 passengers that were diverted away from New York in the wake of the September 11 attacks in 2001. The show returns to the Comedy Theatre in Melbourne on January 19.
Powell said it was amazing how much of the production had stuck with the cast during lockdown.
"When we got the news we were coming back again, we all touched base on zoom and messenger to see how we were going and if we remember anything," she said.
"It's amazing how much is still there. We have five new people with us who started rehearsing five weeks ago and and original cast join (at the beginning of January)."
Powell has been performing theatre in Melbourne for decades.
She grew up in Echuca during the 1970s and 1980s and left for Melbourne aged 16.
"I was about six when I arrived," she said. "To be honest, the only thing I did in Echuca that was dramatic was the high school musicals we did. Moving to Melbourne created more opportunities and back then, for me, there weren't a lot of training opportunities for musical theatre at all."
A friend introduced Powell to amateur theatre in Melbourne. From there opportunities began presenting themselves.
"In Melbourne I did an amateur production of Les Mis and someone asked me to audition for Pirates of Penzance with Jon English," she said.
"Working with younger people today in shows, there's so much they are able to do. I did a bit of ballet in Echuca but (performing arts careers) weren't on everyone's radar like it is now."
Come From Away is at Melbourne's Comedy Theatre from January 19.