WHILE most mums-to-be are juggling baby preparations and choosing colour schemes for the nursery, Sarah Whitty was busy rehearsing for the main role in an upcoming stage production.
The 30-year-old auditioned for the crucial part of Casilda in Gilbert and Sullivan’s The Gondoliers before she knew she was pregnant, and gave birth to baby Flora early last month – just 31 days before the show’s opening night.
Now she is preparing to balance the stresses of early motherhood with a five-day run at the King’s Theatre.
But the new mum, who lives in Morningside and is a long-time member of the Edinburgh Gilbert and Sullivan Society (EDGAS), insists it hasn’t been as tough as it sounds.
She said: “It was not as difficult as you might expect. When I was pregnant, there were times when I was a bit out of breath when singing or a bit forgetful of my lines, but everyone was very supportive and understanding.
“The hardest part was singing, as my lungs were obviously being a bit squeezed.
“But I had a very straight-forward pregnancy, so that probably helped as well – there were no complications.
“EDGAS is full of lovely people. It’s great to have the opportunity to perform in big theatres like the King’s as part of a 60-strong cast, with full costume, set and an incredible orchestra.”
She also said the unique, two-stranded story of The Gondoliers had helped allow her and husband Farlane – who is also in the show – to take care of Flora in between scenes.
“We are never on stage at the same time apart from at the finale,” she said. “We’ve brought her along to a few rehearsals now and she’s really not bothered by the noise. I wonder if it’s because she recognises the music.
“I love The Gondoliers. It was the first show I did in Edinburgh so I have lots of fond memories from that. The music is brilliant, with some lovely stuff for the chorus – the opening is a great song.”
Flora has even become something of a cast mascot and honorary member of the company – as well as a welcome distraction during long rehearsals.
Sarah said her mum would fly over from Northern Ireland to take care of the baby as she performs at the King’s every night from March 8 to 12. An additional matinee performance will take place on the Saturday.
Alan Borthwick, artistic director of the show, promised it would brighten up the chilly nights of early Spring.
He said: “It’s been a real pleasure escaping from the miserable winter weather in Edinburgh to work with so many talented individuals on The Gondoliers.
“Spanish dances meet Italian romances in Sullivan’s brightest score, which simply sweeps you off your feet.
“Attendance at a performance of The Gondoliers should be prescribed for everyone who needs a pick-me-up or simply wants to enjoy an evening of unbridled fun.”