WHEN rising Ipswich opera star Sophie Salvesani heard the Empire Theatre in Toowoomba was taking on the challenge of swashbuckling Gilbert and Sullivan classic, EssGee's Pirates of Penzance, she knew she had no choice but to audition.
After landing lead roles in Ipswich Musical Theatre Company's productions of Les Misérables and The Phantom of the Opera, she jumped at the opportunity to audition for the role of Mabel in Pirates of Penzance.
Since then, Miss Salvesani has been hard at work to ensure she does the character justice on stage.
"Mabel has always been a role I have wanted the opportunity to bring to the stage," she said.
"A very sentimental reason behind this is that Mabel's aria Poor Wandering One was the first I received after making the decision to change from modern to classical singing in 2011, at a time when I was considering the idea of giving singing up completely.
"Apart from really wanting to play the role of Mabel, I saw the Empire Theatre's production of Pirates of Penzance as a way to reach out and become involved with another community and theatre professionals.
"Considering that I am an Ipswich girl essentially invading Toowoomba, I expected to feel a little alienated. However, I have felt nothing but welcomed and supported by all.
"So this, combined with the actual talent of the cast and having the opportunity to work with and bounce off my talented co-stars is what makes this production so enjoyable for me."
Ms Salvesani's co-stars include internationally successful musical theatre performer Michael Cormick in the iconic role of the Pirate King, Brisbane based actor Alex Woodward as Mabel's love interest Frederic and host of other performers from Toowoomba and the surrounding areas.
But the Ipswich local is also making a name for herself in the theatre industry.
"Most recently, I have received a full scholarship for Pacific Opera's Young Artist Program in Sydney," Miss Salvesani said.
"This program involves artistic training, numerous performance opportunities, and professional skills development.
"Through this, I am given the chance to develop the vocal and performance skills required to advance into the international opera scene."
Miss Salvesani is encouraging her community to make the drive up to Toowoomba to see the production, on stage now until March 17.
Through catchy songs and entertaining characters this endearing story will leave you wanting to set sail on your own pirate adventure.
Pirates of Penzance is proudly sponsored by Heritage Bank.
Tickets for Pirates of Penzance are on sale now. For more information or to book your tickets, contact the Empire Theatre on 1300 655 299 or visit www.empiretheatre.com.au.
The Empire Theatre is located at 54-56 Neil Street, Toowoomba.