Strictly Ballroom searches for a star: Fran auditions continue

Despite extensive auditions in Sydney and Melbourne, the creative team behind Strictly Ballroom have still not found the right actress to play the coveted lead female role of Fran in their upcoming world premiere of Baz Luhrmann’s new musical spectacular in Sydney next year.

Dancers at the Strictly Ballroom Launch with Baz Luhrmann. Image by James Morgan
Dancers at the Strictly Ballroom Launch with Baz Luhrmann. Image by James Morgan for Global Creatures

General auditions for the role of Fran have been called for Saturday 21 and Sunday 22 September in Melbourne and Sydney respectively and hundreds are expected to turn out for the open call. Auditionees are requested to register between 9 and 10 am at either  Revolt Theatre in Melbourne (12 Elizabeth St, Kensington) or Bangarra Dance Theatre in Sydney (Pier 4, 15 Hickson Rd, Walsh Bay).

Based on the 1992 film of the same name (which was in turn based on a play written by Luhrmann for NIDA students in 1984), the story of Strictly Ballroom is iconic both in Australia and worldwide. Set to open at Sydney’s Lyric Theatre in March 2014, Strictly Ballroom will be directed by Baz Luhrmann, designed by Catherine Martin, Choreographed by John “Cha Cha” O’Connell and will feature a new score plus adapted favourites from the film including Love is in the AirPerhaps Perhaps Perhaps, and Time After Time.

The role of Fran is the ultimate ugly duckling – a young girl in her early 20s who blossoms from an ugly, awkward ballroom student to a beautiful and passionate dancer. She is a character who undergoes a real transformation, as Fran and Scott (played by Paul Mercurio in the film) become dance partners, fall in love and stand up for what they believe in. She is truthful, can be very direct and is strong and proud.

All actresses are invited to audition but it must be noted that certain skills are required for the role. Strong vocal technique and acting ability with dance training is essential for all applicants. Ballroom training is a bonus but not essential. However, at this stage, no vocal range is specified, suggesting that the role is still in development.

The casting director (Lynne Ruthven) has requested that all auditionees bring sheet music for a song of their choice in the right key. Ideally, auditionees should prepare the Cyndi Lauper song ‘Time After Time’ or another 80s ballad. 

Each auditionee must bring a headshot and full resume of their training in singing, acting and dance and any performance work they have done. If they are called back to dance on the day they will need to wear character/ballroom shoes. As with any audition process, there will be a lot of waiting and waiting and waiting.

Any successful auditionees will be required to attend another audition call in either Sydney (Monday 23 September) or Melbourne (Thursday 26 September).

If you think you have what it takes to win the role of Fran in Strictly Ballroom visit for more information.


Saturday 21 September from 9am

Revolt Theatre, 12 Elizabeth St, Kensington 3031


Sunday 22 September from 9am

Bangarra Dance Theatre, Pier 4, 15 Hickson Rd, Walsh Bay 2000

Erin James

Erin James is's former Editor in Chief and a performer on both stage and screen. Credits include My Fair Lady, South Pacific and The King and I (Opera Australia), Love Never Dies and Cats (Really Useful Group), Blood Brothers (Enda Markey Presents), A Place To Call Home (Foxtel/Channel 7) and the feature film The Little Death (written and directed by Josh Lawson).

Erin James

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