Acclaimed Australian performer, Queenie Van de Zandt, helps young people achieve their dreams…
With 24 young girls in the cast of Annie, several casts of children in Mary Poppins, Love Never Dies and kids still to be auditioned for the upcoming productions of The Addams Family and Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, there have never been more roles for young people in Australia’s major musicals.
Luckily for Australian producers, there are thousands of talented young musical-obsessed performers, growing up on Glee and High School Musical, all wanting the chance to strut their stuff on stage.
Helping young people stand out from the crowd and get their foot in that elusive stage door is Australian star of theatre and cabaret, Queenie van de Zandt.
“About ten years ago, when they were casting The Sound of Music, I was teaching privately,” Queenie said. “I found that I was teaching the same songs from The Sound of Music over and over again to every child that came to me. It was driving me a little bit bananas.”
“It suddenly occurred to me if they’re all doing the same thing, I should just do it on a big scale, for a whole day and invite all my students and others,” she said.
Since then, Queenie has regularly run workshops in audition technique for both children and adults with great success.
With so many shows currently requiring children, Queenie is about to run a week-long intensive course for called Audition Bootcamp, which will take place in Sydney in January.
A group of industry professionals, including Max Lambert, Garry Scale, Mitchell Butel, Wayne Scott-Kermond, Jack Chambers, Darren Yap, Stephen Colyer and Margi de Ferranti will join Queenie in lending their expertise to young performers.
“All of our teachers who are teaching at Audition Bootcamp are actually working at the moment in musical theatre, and some of them are the people who are actually casting these types of shows,” she said.
Queenie’s previous workshops have been incredibly successful, with five of the 24 young girls in Annie, several of the Janes and Michaels in Mary Poppins and one of the Gustaves in Love Never Dies having attended her workshops.
Ky Baldwin, who will play Gustave in the Sydney season of Love Never Dies, says that he’s not sure that he could have landed the role without having attended Queenie’s workshop.
“It was my first audition for musical theatre,” he said. “It really prepared me and because I knew what to expect, everything in the audition just went really well.”
Ky’s Mum, Sally, says that most parents, and a lot of teachers don’t know how to prepare kids for auditions, and that while a lot of children have the ability to play these roles, things can fall apart on audition day.
“I think what they really need is this proper preparation, and because Ky went to the workshop, he was just comfortable, calm and confident the whole way,” she said.
Another of Queenie’s success stories is Natasha Mills, who impressed the audition panel for the upcoming production of Annie so much she was cast as the swing for the orphans. She is in her final rehearsals, undertaking the mammoth task of learning the part of every orphan in the show (except Annie).
A lot of Natasha’s friends from her dance school auditioned and were cut early on in the process. Natasha thinks that despite having the talent to get the role, the fact that they didn’t know what to expect worked against them.
“The workshop was really helpful, because I learnt lots of little things that helped me prepare,” she said.
Queenie maintains that success in an audition is only 10% talent but 90% preparation.
“There are so many opportunities for kids out there at the moment, everything from the major musicals to the new Young Talent Time,” Queenie said. “There’s so much talent producers are just spoiled for choice. What I want to do with this course is make sure these great young people know how to show an audition panel just how fabulous they are.”
Queenie van de Zandt presents :
A week-long course for performers aged 7-15
Dates: Monday 16th – Friday 20th January
Closing date for enrolments 9th January 2012