My Mum’s love of film and theatre stretches back for as long as I can remember. She would take me and my sister Tracy to whatever was going really. A wide range of films from “Beautiful People” to the “Elephant man” and theatre productions like “The Lion, Witch and the Wardrobe” to “A Midsummer Night’s Dream”. I was entranced immediately and found myself auditioning for local theatre companies from about the age of 9. She certainly wasn’t a ‘stage Mum’ but she was encouraging, and being a needlework teacher made me the most wonderful costumes whenever required, even for school plays in the years before I joined theatre companies.
I got to perform in productions like “The Wizard of Oz”, “The Queen of Hearts” and “Hans Christian Anderson” as well as a bunch of variety shows with G.S.O.D.A (The Geelong Society of Operatic and Dramatic Art), “Fiddler on the roof” and “The King and I” for G.M.C.C (The Geelong Musical Comedy Company) and the opera “Amahl and the Night Visitors” for G.A.M.A (The Geelong Association of Music and Art), as well as Geelong College school productions, the choir, the school jazz band, school concert band and The Geelong Regional Concert Band - playing Saxophone and Clarinet. (In case you’re wondering, I grew up in Geelong) It was a wonderfully fulfilling period of my life. Singing, acting, dancing (although that was never my strong suit), making music on our ‘Yamaha Electone’ organ at home and just being allowed to escape into creativity and imagination. I never ‘officially’ trained as an actor but these years from about 9 to 17 were really my training ground of sorts. I have such great memories of that time and feel so grateful for Mum’s interest in the arts. To this day she’s deep in my consciousness whenever I play a role – wondering what she might think. I thought you might like to see some scrapbook memories from those early days. I’ve also found a recording of the opera I did when I was 12. Quality’s not great but you get the idea. There’s something about the childlike nature and freedom of performance that still exists for me today. It enables a nice balance amongst all those grown up things we have to do in life. I should also mention my Dad was a pretty cool piano player, he had a wonderful ‘ear’ and he too was a great inspiration. He was from New Zealand and so for me to record the first part of the album “Broken Bones” in Auckland felt like a nice way to reconnect with him.
Here's me at 12 years of age performing in the opera “Amahl and the Night Visitors”