Interview: Hannah Limb and Astrom Club

Astrom Club is an upcoming coming-of-age LGBTQ+ musical, currently in planning as an animated film (with artwork by Canadian artist Call Me Bug).

It is the creation of twenty-year-old Hannah Limb, who told me a bit more about it in a recent chat.

For more, including images and detail about the project, including the recent casting call, please check out the Astrom Club on Instagram.

Hannah Limb
Hannah Limb

It’s great to hear about a new musical right now! What makes this one different?

HL: I believe Astrom Club is different compared to both current and upcoming musicals since it primarily focuses on telling the story of five individuals often underrepresented in the media.

When creating this musical my main goal was to give those under-represented a voice; as part of my research for this project I conducted a survey and 80% of the participants felt as if they had not seen adequate representation of their sexuality on stage/screen.

So in summary I feel that what makes this musical different is that there has been so much collaboration to ensure this is ethical and educational and further, gives those silenced by the media hope. 

You’re in your final year at university, so this is your key project. As you are using animation, would you class this more as film than theatre?

HL: So my original plan for this project was to have it produced with a live cast, however due to COVID this was no longer possible. I was desperate to complete this project and not have to do something else like producing an album so when I began brainstorming alternatives, the idea of an animated musical came to me.

You’re completely right, it can be argued that this is more of a film than theatre and I believe that’s something that remains open to individual interpretation.

Lockdown has obviously affected your plans for Astrom Club in terms of production, but are you hoping for a future life for it on stage?

HL: Yes! After COVID, I would love nothing more than to begin thinking about transferring this to the stage. In fact, we have actually been in contact with an individual who owns a theatre who was interested in our project-so who knows? Maybe one day Astrom Club will take to the stage with a live cast.

So what is the musical about, and where did the idea come from?

HL: The musical focuses on telling the story of five high-schoolers from a small, rural and bigoted town. Mostly, it focuses on two characters; Florence (Floss) and Juniper.

Floss has been transferred from another school for reasons later discussed in the musical and Juniper is what could be considered a social outcast; wanting to make this academic year one to remember both girls join their schools Astronomy Club and discover an environment where they can unapologetically themselves in a world that isn’t so accepting.

This musical will deal with topics such as sexuality, mental health and suicide. 

Characters from Astrom Club
Characters from Astrom Club

I love the idea of characters being from across the LGBTQIA+ spectrum. How important was this to you?

HL: Having characters who are LGBTQIA+ was incredibly important to me as a bisexual woman. Although the discussion of sexuality is becoming more open and accepted, it is undeniable that there is still discrimination to those who are not straight; linking back to the survey I mentioned previously, 65% of participants felt that they had experienced such discrimination first-hand.

Further, I personally believe that although musicals revolving around sexuality are becoming popular there still isn’t enough representation for those who don’t fall into either Gay/Lesbian. That’s why Astrom Club discusses sexualities such as asexuality, bisexuality etc. 

Tell me a bit about the musical’s songs and influences.

HL: We are currently getting ready to release a demo version of one of the songs from our soundtrack! So keep an eye out for that on our instagram.

However in relation to influences, our main influences when producing the music for Astrom Club mostly came from past shows such as Dear Evan Hansen, Waitress and The Prom.

With this being said, Astrom Club is extremely unique and toys with several different genres in the duration of the show. There’s something for everybody!

What do you hope Astrom Club will add to the current digital theatre scene  and new musical scene?

HL: Education primarily, I want to raise and bring about awareness about topics not otherwise covered in the media. I want to open up discussions and create a safe-space for LGBTQIA+ individuals who may be questioning their sexuality and ensure them that who they are is completely okay, that they are loved and validated. 

What has been the most positive thing to come out of this strange period affecting the arts?

HL: Personally, the most positive thing that came from COVID-19 was how much time I had all of a sudden.

I was no longer at University, I had completed all modules and therefore I had all the time in the world to begin researching and creating a project I’m truly passionate about. There was so much time to be creative and do what I want without the fear of looming deadlines etc. 

My thanks to Hannah.