STAGES with Peter Eyers
Summary: STAGES is the podcast that accesses a variety of people whose professional life is about connecting with an audience. A host of creative artists and practitioners reflect on their career, their process and what matters - to them. Some have made the arts a lifetime pursuit, some explain how their career became a happy accident ... but all describe the challenges and demands - and ultimately celebrate why there's no business like show business! STAGES talks to talent from front of house and backstage - directors, designers, drag artists and doormen ... performers, producers and publicists ... teachers, technicians and talent! Whatever stages it takes to engage and affect an audience - or whatever it takes to carve out a career in the arts - we'll examine it in STAGES. STAGES is the recipient of the Best New Podcaster Award at The Australian Podcast Awards in 2019.
Liz Pascoe has been a singer, pianist and teacher for more years than she cares to remember. She practices immense dedication to her work and adopts enormous responsibility in delivering the best tuition possible. Liz originally trained as a secondary English and Music teacher, working for some years in secondary schools, where she honed her skills as a writer, vocal coach and musical director. Since 1990 she has been a part-time lecturer in singing in the Acting and Music theatre Departments at the Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts. The students value the committed guidance from Liz. Her work has contributed to many of them enjoying extensive careers on the Australian and International stage. Liz's performing and creative experience includes opera, theatre restaurant performance, musicals, music direction and composing for youth theatre, accompanying and vocal coaching. She shares with Stages her great knowledge of the voice as an instrument and tool for communication and art. I have certainly benefitted from Liz's guidance and it was a joy catching up with an old friend. Stages is available from iTunes, Spotify and Whooshkaa.
Robin Pascoe has recently retired from his role guiding and nurturing young teachers in the discipline of Drama. He recognises that an immersion in arts subjects is a crucial experience to equip a child in a vast skills set that will contribute to their humanity for life. Robin has had an extensive career in arts education with the Education Department of Western Australia where he was the Superintendent for the Arts with responsibility for Arts in schools K-12, Consultant for Performing Arts K-12 and District Manager for Curriculum. Robin is a Past President of Drama Australia and has held positions on the Drama Australia Executive as well as DramaWest. In July 2013 he was elected President of IDEA - the International Drama/Theatre and Education Association. It is a huge and satisfying role that allows him to observe and guide Arts education across a range of cultures. In July 2020, the IDEA 10th World Congress for Drama/Theatre and Education will be conducted in Beijing, China. Robin is a much respected and celebrated member of the Drama Education community. He is never lacking in his support and mentorship of teachers and maintains constant investigation and research into the effectiveness of the arts in the curriculum. This is an essential conversation that will enlighten, affirm and celebrate the work of the Drama teacher. Robin invests his knowledge with passion, statistics and his engaging dry wit. I was delighted to examine the role of the arts in the curriculum with Robin in an absorbing episode of Stages. The Stages podcast is available in iTunes, Spotify and Whooshkaa.
The Yirra Yaakin Theatre Company is Australia's leading Aboriginal theatre company, based in Perth, WA, in the heart of the Nyoongar Nation. Formed in 1993, Yirra Yaakin provides the means and environment to assist the nurturing of Aboriginal community cultural development. Yirra Yaakin means 'stand tall' in the Nyoongar language. At the commencement of 2019, Yamaji woman, Eva Grace Mullaley was appointed as Artistic Director. Eva Grace grew up predominantly in the South West of Western Australia and moved to Perth in 2002. She is a graduate of the Aboriginal Theatre course at WAAPA. She soon joined Yirra Yaakin as an actor performing in Whaloo is That You?, and with Black Swan in the production, Tear From a Glass Eye. In 2005 Eva Grace lectured the Aboriginal students at WAAPA on script writing and directed the collaborative piece Black Tracks. She assisted David Milroy during the Windmill Baby creative development for Yirra Yaakin and was Stage Manager during its first public season. She has keenly embraced the extensive roles existing in the theatre. Such work has included roles as a tour manager, producer, event manager, dramaturge, actor and served extensive time in administration - essential experiences that have informed her work as a director. Eva Grace looks forward "to continuing such an inspirational legacy and building on the shoulders of those that came before (her) to lead Yirra Yaakin to a new era." The Stages podcast is available in iTunes, Spotify and Whooshkaa.
John Taylor is a composer and lyricist with a life long career in musical theatre. He is the composer of the joyous Charlie Girl, a show that played 2,202 performances in London's West End and enjoyed a celebrated Australian production starring John Farnham, Anna Neagle, Geraldine Morrow and Derek Nimmo. The show was revived in London in 1986 starring Paul Nicholas, Dora Bryan and Cyd Charisse. Drawing from the Cinderella narrative, the class system and the inheritance tax, the musical was one of the most successful theatre shows of the sixties. Further musical compositions by John Taylor include Doddy's Here, Mr & Mrs and The Royalty Follies. For several years he worked for Richard Rodgers, as Musical Supervisor for London and touring productions of The King and I with Yul Brynner and Virginia McKenna, and revivals of The Sound of Music at The Apollo Theatre starring Petula Clark. John possesses an encyclopaedic knowledge of the Musical form and offers marvellous insights into the process of composition, and shares anecdotes from a thrilling career in the theatre. The Stages podcast is available in iTunes, Spotify and Whooshkaa.
Enda Markey was born in Dublin, Ireland. He trained on a scholarship to Laine Theatre Arts in London, studying musical theatre. Upon graduation he worked as a singer and actor in Ireland and the U.K. He appeared in the Irish premiere of Stephen Sondheim's Follies alongside Lorna Luft, Mary Millar, Dave Willetts and Millicent Martin. Subsequent work included the role of Rick in the cult musical A Slice of Saturday Night in London and Dublin. In 2002, Enda moved to Australia and worked extensively around the country in theatre, television, concerts and cabaret. His first foray into theatre producing arrived in 2011 with a celebrated production of Side By Side By Sondheim. 'Enda Markey Presents' was quickly formed and the company has proceeded to develop and present works on the local and international stages, working with some of the world's leading practitioners of musical theatre. Among the works he has presented are Do You Hear The People Sing? - a celebration of the work of Boublil and Schönberg, Defying Gravity - a concert honouring the extensive work of Stephen Schwartz, the musical Blood Brothers and cabaret and concert performances by stars of musical theatre - Ruthie Henshall, Geraldine Turner and Bobby Fox. Enda Markey joined Stages to discuss both vantage points; working on stage and behind-the-scenes, seemingly pulling together the impossible .... great entertainments featuring enormous talents on vast stages. And to share some exciting news regarding the projects he has heading our way in 2020. Stages is available from iTunes, Spotify and Whooshkaa.
Sound has been used to evoke emotion, reflect mood and underscore action in the arts since time began. The contribution of the Sound Designer in the theatre, provides a further dimension in which to elicit the world of the play. Nate Edmondson is an international, multi-award winning composer, sound designer and occasional musical director. His work crosses all mediums - film, television, radio, advertising and stage. Originally from Western Australia, Nate grew up amongst the remote red dirt and spinifex of the Pilbara region, before moving to Perth. There he trained as both a classical and jazz trombonist, in addition to fronting several local bands as a multi-instrumentalist singer/songwriter and arranger. Nate is a graduate of the National Institute of Dramatic Art, where he trained under the mentorship of some of Australia's finest musicians and sound designers. He has worked extensively in the theatre and live events industries; his detailed sound designs and music scores can be heard on stages around the world. In 2015, Nate's sound design work made international headlines when a social media campaign petitioning pop star, Taylor Swift, for the use of one of her hits for the Belvoir production of Seventeen, was successful, with Swift personally granting approval via Twitter, in an unprecedented move. He creates designs in intimate spaces and large auditoriums; all with enormous detail providing audiences with a powerful aural hypnosis that transports them directly to the world of the play. He is a passionate advocate for the artistry of sound design and how it extends our theatre experience. He is also incredibly fascinating and eloquent detailing how the youngest of all production disciplines evolved. Nate Edmondson's next sound design can be heard in Kate Gaul's production of HMS Pinafore, playing The Hayes Theatre from November 8th to December 14th. The Stages podcast is available in iTunes, Spotify and Whooshkaa.
Michael Loney has accumulated an extensive repertoire of roles having appeared in over 150 stage productions, ranging from the classics to contemporary Australian and international fare. It was at school that a teacher identified emerging talent and encouraged him to pursue acting. He grew up in Perth, and as a young man ventured to the UK to study at the Bristol Old Vic. WAAPA wasn't even a thought yet! Upon graduation, roles in Coronation Street and Howard's Way came Michael's way. He returned to Perth in 1988 and acted in a variety of shows at the Playhouse, Black Swan and the Hole in the Wall Theatre. These included Sweeney Todd: the Demon Barber of Fleet Street, A Midsummer Night's Dream, The Seagull, Heartbreak House, Noel and Gertie, Speaking in Tongues, The Club and The Goat, or Who is Sylvia? His film and television work has embraced WA production in the series' Ship to Shore, Minty, Cloudstreet and The Great Mint Swindle. He has relished the experiences of working with Perth Directors Edgar Metcalfe, John Milson and Ray Omedei. Passionate practitioners with individual and informed directing styles, who all contributed to a vital theatre scene in Perth. It is a treat to celebrate them in this episode through shared reminiscence. As an actor Michael is incredibly engaging and intelligent, on-stage and off. He is incredibly charming and eloquent; and in this episode he reflects on considerable experiences in the theatre and the immense contribution, that Perth based actors like himself, have made to the community. The Stages podcast is available in iTunes, Spotify and Whooshkaa.
In this companion episode Stages continues the conversation with our preeminent story-teller and acclaimed Director, Gale Edwards. In part 1 she shared with us her early life in Adelaide with an interrupted childhood, her forays into theatre-making with her company Energy Connection, time at NIDA, her early career as a director working with State Theatre Companies and a breadth of repertoire, and the arrival of Les Miserables in Australia. In Part 2, we learn about her extensive international career and the challenges presented to an artist as they navigate a precarious industry. Her American productions include:The White Devil, Don Carlos (Brooklyn Academy of Music); Hamlet, Richard 3, Titus Andronicus, Edward 2 (Shakespeare Theatre Company); Macbeth (Oregon Shakespeare Festival); and Jesus Christ Superstar (Broadway). UK productions include; The Taming of the Shrew, The Duchess of Malfi, Don Carlos, The White Devil (Royal Shakespeare Company); Fortune's Fool, A Midsummer Night's Dream, The Merchant of Venice (Chichester Festival); The Far Pavillions, Saint Joan (West End), Maria Stuarda (The English National Opera); and Andrew Lloyd Webber's Whistle Down the Wind, Jesus Christ Superstar and Aspects of Love (West End and UK tours). Australian productions include God of Carnage, Arcadia, Coriolanus, Saint Joan (STC); King Lear, The Winter's Tale, The Glass Menagerie (SATC); The Tempest, Uncle Vanya (MTC), Nixon in China (Adelaide Festival) and The Magic Flute and Sweeney Todd (Australian opera). Gale Edwards is frank, astute, intuitive and possesses an infectious sense of humour. It is evident that she adores her role as a story-teller and is most reverential in her respect for the texts to which she gives life. The incredible joy she experiences in being in a rehearsal room is palpable. Hers is a fascinating story and it was a privilege to spend time with Gale as she shared insight, assessment and anecdotes of a celebrated and trailblazing career. The Stages podcast is available in iTunes, Spotify and Whooshkaa.
There are very few Australian directors who can lay claim to have conquered the stages of the world. This accolade belongs to the trailblazing Gale Edwards; one of our most acclaimed directors. In a career spanning more than 30 years she has rewarded audiences with visceral and vibrant story-telling. Gale is incredibly charming, candid and passionate. She speaks freely and insightfully about her craft as one of our most celebrated artists. As a preeminent story-teller she is the first Australian to have opened large commercial musicals on Broadway and in the West End. She is the only Australian to have directed at The Royal Shakespeare Company in Stratford-on-Avon - and the only woman to have directed on their main-stage. Born and raised in Adelaide her early life was impacted by family tragedy and trauma. This galvanised the young Gale to invest in her academic study and due to necessity; surprisingly realise an early training in direction in boundless visits to the cinema; often seeing individual films numerous times. She started her career in 1981 as the founding Artistic Director of the Adelaide-based Theatre company, Energy Connection, an innovative company that created and performed original, devised works with young performers. After graduating from NIDA, she remained on the staff there for four years teaching young actors and directing plays. It was here that she developed her love of the Classics and Shakespeare in particular. Gale has directed all genres of theatre and opera nationally and internationally. She has directed for all Australia's State Theatre Companies, Opera Australia, Victoria State Opera, South Australian Opera Company, New Zealand International Festival of the Arts, English National Opera, Royal Shakespeare Company and the Chichester Festival. Her vast musical theatre output has seen her direct the original production of The Boy From Oz, Jerry Springer the Opera for the Sydney Opera House and a new production of The Rocky Horror Show. Internationally she has worked on musicals for Andrew Lloyd Webber and Cameron Mackintosh. Gale Edwards is frank, astute, intuitive and possesses an infectious sense of humour. It is evident that she adores her role as a story-teller and is most reverential in her respect for the texts to which she gives life. The incredible joy she experiences in being in a rehearsal room is palpable. Hers is a fascinating story and it was a privilege to spend time with Gale as she shared insight, assessment and anecdotes of a celebrated and trailblazing career. The Stages podcast is available in iTunes, Spotify and Whooshkaa.
Iain Grandage is a composer, conductor and Festival Director. He has previously been at the helm of the Port Fairy Music Festival and in 2020 will launch his first program as Artistic Director at The Perth Festival. Born and bred in Perth, his excitement at steering the festival is palpable and contagious. He knows his audience and the responsibility of celebrating local and indigenous art forms, whilst also delivering unique and stimulating experiences drawn from an international canvas. Iain was musical director and arranger for the national tour of Jimmy Chi's multi award winning Corrugation Road, and his involvement with indigenous musicians has continued through his collaborations with the Spinifex people of Central Australia, initially on the theatre work Career Highlights of the Mamu, and subsequently with concert works in collaboration with WASO and Topology. Iain's concert works have been performed by the ACO, Brodsky String Quartet, Australian String Quartet, Australian Brass Quintet and choirs and orchestras around Australia. As music director he has won Helpmann and Green Room Awards. He has conducted orchestras for Kate Miller-Heidke, Katie Noonan and Tim Minchin, and led the London Philharmonic Orchestra. Guiding young audiences he has conducted and presented the Sydney Symphony Orchestra Education program. His scores have covered a broad range of genres and cover diverse subjects; Opera with The Rabbits and The Riders, Theatre with Cloudstreet and The Secret River, Dance with When Time Stops and Film with Satan Jawa. Iain greeted me armed with a block of chocolate and a peppermint tea, eager to generously share his vision for the 2020 festival and an insight into his incredible instinct and ethos as an artist. The Perth Festival runs February 7th to March 1st, 2020. The program is out now and available from perthfestival.com.au The Stages podcast is available in iTunes, Spotify and Whooshkaa.
Tania Chambers always loved the arts but never thought she'd have a career in them. She speaks with much enthusiasm and an intellect peppered with engaging humour and incredible insight of the local film industry. As the founder and Managing Director of Feisty Dame Productions Pty Ltd. she has produced the comedy feature A Few Less Men directed by Mark Lamprell and the comedic thriller Kill Me Three Times directed by Kriv Stenders She believes that each of us can strengthen our community and enrich our lives through our experience of the arts. "It is time that we truly valued creativity and the courageous people who inspire, entertain and challenge us. Our culture and economy benefit immensely from the creative industries." Her list of credentials is extensive - chief executive of Screen NSW and ScreenWest, Screen Producers Australia councillor and board member of Perth International Arts Festival, AusFilm and the Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts. Impressive accomplishments for someone who almost didn't have a career in the arts! She knows how the screen industry works from the inside, the deals and the deal-makers, and how to get ahead in the screen industry. Tania is well known for her mentoring and generosity with new and emerging filmmakers. She was very generous with Stages, offering her terrific knowledge of the film industry and drawing a vivid portrait of the art, of making art. The Stages podcast is available from iTunes, Spotify and Whooshkaa.
Janet Holmes à Court grew up in a household infused with the arts. Her parents instilled in her an enduring love of art, music and theatre. She is charming, astute and informed; recognising the supreme necessity for us all to celebrate and embrace the arts across all genres. She studied chemistry at the University of Western Australia and subsequently worked as a science teacher; relishing her time in the classroom. Long-time patronage across all artistic disciplines has provided her with immense appreciation and respect for all art forms and the practitioners who craft them. Ms Holmes à Court is recognised as a leading philanthropist and a major collector of indigenous art, which contributes to an extensive Art collection, much of which is loaned to public galleries around the world. She has chaired the West Australian Symphony Orchestra, the Art Gallery of Western Australia and The Black Swan Theatre Company; and currently serves as Chair of the Australian Children's Television Foundation. She is a Board Member of the Australian National Academy of Music (ANAM) and the Australian Major Performing Arts Group (AMPAG). Hers is a career of vast artistic governance and leadership. Ms Holmes à Court was a founding patron and chairperson of Western Australia's Black Swan Theatre Company, recognising the enormous benefit of a state theatre company to traverse local and indigenous stories, and to champion a repertoire of classic, and international works. She speaks with enormous passion and a keen awareness of the many artistic expressions being celebrated in Western Australia. The Stages podcast is available from iTunes, Spotify and Whooshkaa.
Henry Boston is the inaugural Executive Director of the Chamber of Arts and Culture in Western Australia; a peak advocacy body for immersion, expansion and celebration of such content in the West. The organisation's vision is to develop Western Australia as a leader in arts and culture. Retirement from this position has not dimmed Henry's fervour as a passionate supporter of what the Arts can accomplish. Western Australia has a rich creative output and reach, boasting their own orchestras and galleries; opera, ballet, and theatre companies, in addition to an annual festival that receives world recognition. Henry spent a good deal of his career as a proponent of all that is artistic in various roles at the Festival of Perth, where he graduated from Stage Manager to General Manager. Not bad for a young bloke from the UK, travelling to Australia in search of adventure and along the way embracing the many facets of the theatre - technician, lighting designer, production manager, performer and director. His many skills have been informed by a life-long submergence in the theatre, making and presenting art, while also championing it as an avid audience member. In this episode of Stages, Henry reflects on the essential need for the arts in a community; and the many experiences and personalities that he has encountered, in an extensive career. The Stages podcast is available in iTunes, Spotify and Whooshkaa.
As an actor, teacher and writer, Nigel Rideout has been involved in professional theatre, film and television for the past 50 years in the UK, USA and Australia. From 1972-80, Nigel was Deputy Principal and Director of Studies at the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art (LAMDA). In 1981 he was invited to create the highly successful theatre department of the newly-formed Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts (WAAPA). He has been Head of Theatre and Voice at the Central School of Speech and Drama, and Head of Voice at the Mountview Academy of Theatre Arts in London. Returning to Australia in 2002, Nigel set up the official archives for WAAPA as well as continuing to teach and direct at the Academy, as well as at The National Theatre Drama School in Melbourne. His many successful graduates in the UK include Jane Seymour, Martin Clunes, Nigel Planer, Amy Irving and Dame Harriet Walter. And from WAAPA: Hugh Jackman, Frances O'Connor, Dominic Purcell and Lisa McCune. Amazingly Nigel still receives annual repeat fees for a role in the first series of Dad's Army recorded in 1968. Join us for a riveting conversation where he describes the evolution of Acting training and the emergence of WAAPA; the triumphant training ground for artists, built on the West Coast of Australia. The Stages podcast is available from iTunes, Spotify and Whooshkaa.
Dr. Richard Walley is an artist of many disciplines - a musician, dancer, painter, writer, indigenous activist and educator. He has spent over 40 years educating Australia and the world on Nyoongar culture and identity through the arts. A role model for Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people alike, Richard continues to push boundaries, continually developing personally whilst always focussed on the bigger 'community' picture of the Arts, Culture and Environment. In 1978, Richard formed the Middar Aboriginal Theatre which subsequently has taken Nyoongar culture to 32 countries, celebrating and affirming indigenous culture and narrative. A former Australia Council Board member, he was named a State Living Treasure in 2015 for his lifetime contribution to arts and culture in Western Australia. Richard became involved with Aboriginal politics at an early age, having active involvement in the formation and operation of the Aboriginal Housing Board, the Aboriginal Medical Service, Legal Service and the New Era Aboriginal Fellowship. Through his involvement, Richard first became aware of the potential of Aboriginal culture to give the Nyoongar people a sense of pride and identity. This awareness grew throughout the years, as Richard 'learned' about his own culture, moving into the world of Theatre and the Arts. It was a privilege to sit down with Richard as he shared his proud Nyoongar heritage and the power of arts to transform and teach and extend our humanity. The Stages podcast is available from iTunes, Spotify and Whooshkaa.