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From West Side Story to The Factory

5 March 2013

From West Side Story to The Factory

With her operatic training beginning at the age of two, dance classes at seven and acting at 15, Milly Grant has always been destined for a career in the performing arts.

The Otara resident has been cast in the starring role of The Factory, New Zealand’s first Pasifika musical now showing at Q Theatre in Auckland.

The Factory is proving so successful, it is about to be taken on the road around the country and to Australia later in the year.

Milly stars as Losa, a young Samoan woman, who immigrates to New Zealand with big dreams of a better life. She is immediately set to work in a south Auckland textile factory, facing challenges and questions, interspersed with music and a lot of laughter.

A final year Bachelor of Creative Arts student at Manukau Institute of Technology, Milly says she was asked to audition after starring as Maria in MIT’s production of West Side Story.

“I got a phone call, dropped everything and was there within 30 minutes. I performed, sang a verse of a song, and got it,” Milly says.

Created by the Kila Kokonut Krew, The Factory initially was staged to sell out performances at the Mangere Arts Centre in 2011.

This year the show, which Milly describes as a true story many Samoan immigrants will be able to relate to, is part of the Auckland Arts Festival.

“It’s the first time I’ve ever worked with an entirely Pasifika cast and crew. We’ve had four solid weeks of rehearsals and the shows are almost sold out. It’s exciting to be taking it on the road next,” Milly says.

The Factory runs at the Q Theatre on Queen Street from Wednesday 6 March to Saturday 9 March at 7.30pm; Sunday 10 March at 5pm; and Monday 11 March at 6.30pm.


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