Make your own memories

I am writing this column from outback Queensland and as my trip through some of the remotest parts of Eastern Australia continues, the memories that have been created will exist forever. Wonderful people, sensational little towns, proud histories and  about 1,000 photos – most of them of me at the pub.

I am writing this column from outback Queensland and as my trip through some of the remotest parts of Eastern Australia continues, the memories that have been created will exist forever. Wonderful people, sensational little towns, proud histories and  about 1,000 photos – most of them of me at the pub.

You know, you can read about these kinds of places (such as Cameron’s Corner and the Dig Tree) in books and online, and you even learn about them at school, but until you confront it for yourself you really don’t understand the words on the page.

It got me thinking about the time I’ve spent so far on this Earth and the many memories I have. Memories in so many different facets of life including the theatre world.

I’m only 27 years of age and of course, I cannot go back to the 1960’s or 1970’s when talking about iconic musical stars and shows. Unlike some of the sights I have seen travelling across the outback, it is impossible to re-live history in most cases.

However, despite my young years I have some terrific memories of my time in this industry and while I am sure there are still many more memories to create, I thought I would share a few of them now.

My first foray into this world was when I produced Belinda Wollaston’s first cabaret show. We were both 18 years old, I didn’t have a clue what I was doing and I can remember sitting in David Hawkins’ Sydney apartment trying to broker a deal that would see Belinda perform at his venue, Kabarett Junction.

There were concerns from different arenas but Belinda took the bull by the horns and the debut show was a terrific entree into a career that is going in leaps and bounds – she is currently starring in the lead female role in Jekyll And Hyde internationally.

I remember sitting in that cabaret venue in Bondi that night (with a vacuum downstairs drowning out some of the music) and falling in love with that intimate style of performance. Before then, I didn’t really know cabaret existed and it was a fantastic first step in this industry.

Later I would produce Belinda’s second and third cabaret shows, and then produced Erin James’ show at the Statement Cabaret Lounge – another great highlight and it was fantastic to see her thrive in such an environment.

In terms of shows, there are many highlights.

A little play at the Darlinghurst Theatre called Blue Surge, the stunning production of the musical Hedwig and the Angry Inch and watching the emergence of performers like Hayden Tee are amongst those highlights.

The opening night of Wicked in Melbourne saw this country take a step forward in terms of ‘events’ when it comes to theatre, and that was a major highlight. I have loved, in particular, introducing new people to theatre and doing it on opening nights, which can be a real hoot for those first-timers.

Perhaps the best memory I have is the time I spent working on The Muf-Tee Show in 2003 and 2004, a late night cabaret concept at the SBW Stables Theatre. It was probably the catalyst for me staying in this industry because the amount of wonderful people I met over those two years ensured theatre was always going to be in my blood.

Highlights continue – the Australian premiere of The Hatpin, Kookaburra’s stunning production of Little Women and the little-seen but well put together Titanic at the Theatre Royal.

My point here is that you can’t go back in time. DVDs and videos are rarely made public and hence, once a show has come in to town, it is gone – usually forever.  You can’t go back years later and take photos, read plaques and preserve the memories.

The only way you can make memories in theatre is to get out there, buy tickets and experience this industry first hand. Get others involved – and help keep theatre working.

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