The much lauded Rob Guest Endowment annual concert will take place on Monday 25 November 25, where six finalists — emerging stars of Australian musical theatre — will take the stage to show their skills and compete for a prize package that, this year, is worth around $25,000.
AussieTheatre’s Cassie Tongue asked ten questions of each finalist, in the lead-up to the concert, to find out about their lives, careers, and how they’re preparing for the high-calibre event.
Today we chat with Rob Mallett, a 2012 WAAPA graduate who started performing as an Irish dancer at the age of 6 and who was recently seen in the national tour of Hot Shoe Shuffle as brother Buck.
When did you know you wanted to become a performer?
I’ve always had a performing streak given I’ve been dancing from a very young age and been involved in drama at school, but it wasn’t until half way through my final year at school I decided to consider it as a career. Prior to that I was about to join the Defence Force.
What made you apply for the Rob Guest Endowment?
I’d seen some other friends go through the competition and seen how much of a thrill they had. Also some encouragement from my singing teacher and agent helped.
What would becoming the recipient of the endowment mean to you?
Not only would it be a great honour and privilege to receive the award but the financial support would provide the means for me to continue studying and developing into a truly first class performer in all facets of performing. It would help me to travel to places like NYC and London to work with and draw from some internationally renowned mentors.
How are you preparing for the upcoming concert? Any new rituals or routines?
No new rituals (the old ones seem to be working at the moment). It’s a fine balance between practicing the songs too much or just enough to keep them fresh and exciting for you.
You studied at WAAPA. What was the most valuable lesson you learned there?
“Don’t be late….or lazy!”
“Life’s unfair…get used to it!”
“You’ve got two eyes, two ears, and one mouth; use them in those proportions.”
What’s your dream role?
Any male role is Sweeney Todd would be a treat. In fact I’d make a pretty good Mrs Lovett too…
You’ve done film, TV, and theatre. Which one do you enjoy the most?
Each have their pros and cons and, as with anything in life, a varied career is the most exciting. Do any one thing for too long and it can get boring. There is nothing that compares to the roar of the crowd, and in TV (and most other professions) people don’t often give you a standing ovation as you knock off work.
You were in Hot Shoe Shuffle this year. Describe that experience in just three words.
Fan bloody tastic.
This is a tough industry. What keeps you going?
Recognising that so few people get the chance to do what I do. Those in the industry are lucky that their passions and skill sets align. There are so so many other people out there that would like to be doing this job, so it’s motivating to think I’m one of only a select few that get to perform often, in such a professional environment, and for so many people.
What’s your go-to, belt-it-out-in-the-shower song?
Anything Book of Mormon.