3 April 2021

Astrom Club Interview

Astrom Club, a brand new LGBTQIA+ animated short musical will premiere online later this year. 

The musical has been written by Hannah Jessica Limb and Hannah Belle McAleer and follows the coming of age story of five teenagers at Maple Ridge Academy. Wanting to make their academic year one to remember, all five take a risk and sign up for the academy's astronomy club. Quickly the five discover they're more alike than they originally thought.  

I had the pleasure of speaking to the writers about the project. 

Can you please give an introduction to the piece for those who haven't heard about it?

"Astrom club is a new coming of age animated musical following a group of queer students from various walks of life, and how they tackle issues in their community, friendships, and families. We wanted to tell genuine stories and provide a platform for creatives all over the world to share their experiences, shedding a new light on a younger generation that is never wholly explored."

Where did the inspiration for the musical come from?

"This project originally started as a final University project for Hannah Limb’s music degree, but quickly spiralled into a worldwide passion project. Everyone on our various teams is here of their own volition and has provided immeasurable input on what it really means to be a part of the queer community in its many forms. Ultimately, the story’s message grew with our team: we wanted to be real. We won’t solve prejudice in a matter of scenes, but we can take a look at what kids are doing realistically to better their interpersonal and community relationships. That won’t stop us from having fun, though. These characters deserve to have fun, be goofy, have outlandish musical numbers, and explore tones less grounded in reality. Our message is realistic, but stories involving minorities can’t just focus on their minority status. They’re kids. Everyone else has fun, and they should too."

The characters in the musical come from LGBTQIA+ backgrounds. How important was that to you?

"Including multiple facets of the LGBTQ+ community has been an important part of Astrom Club’s foundation from the beginning. Sexual and Gender Identity can take many different forms, and a lot of them are overshadowed or forgotten in media. There are people out there that don’t know that what they’re feeling is normal, or have no positive influence around them to make them feel safe. We won’t go around claiming we’re some grand beacon of light, the saviour of media culture, but we do want to open the door for more representation, with both impactful stories and more casual narratives."

The show is being developed as an aminated musical, what has the process been for that and how did that affect the development?

"We have a wonderful team of artists, animators, press, musicians, and our lovely cast. Making Astrom Club an animated endeavour has led to meeting and working with all these wonderful people, though scheduling over all our scattered time zones has become an innermost circle of hell. We try to work with our artists’ pace and provide everything we can to smooth productivity, but it can come with its fair share of challenges."

What musical styles can we expect from the show?

"We’re experimenting with a lot of different musical styles. Expect to see some inspiration straight out of modern musical theatre: you’re classic Mean Girls and Heathers and a touch of Sondheim. We also get random inspiration out of nowhere... Disco, a spare 19th century Russian Waltz, compositions from old children’s cartoons... it’ll all come together, we swear!"

How has the COVID pandemic affected the work on the show?

"Hannah Limb can probably speak to this a bit better, but I personally was quarantined at home with a lot of time on my hands, looking to do more creatively than I had allowed myself previously. School or work always came first but now I had much less of an excuse to not be doing what I always wanted to. I reached out to Hannah in Early November after her TikTok found its way to my for you page, and the rest is history!"

What are the future plans for the show?

"Our present goals are to release a soundtrack this spring and go from there. A lot could happen in just a few months if we met the right people. We’re always looking for more artists and animators to increase our output and provide the care and quality these characters deserve."

To discover more about Astrom Club visit https://astromclub.squarespace.com/. You can follow the show on social media for further updates and  you can view a trailer below.

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