Ashlea Pyke: Rob Guest Endowment Finalist 2011

Ashlea PykeIn less that a week, the 2011 Rob Guest Endowment will take place at Her Majesty’s Theatre Melbourne (Monday 10 October). In the lead up to the gala concert, will feature a short interview with each of the 6 finalists.

So far we have caught up with Gretel Scarlett and Jamie Ward, today we speak to Ashlea Pyke.’s Cassie Tongue asks each finalist 10 quick questions about life, the industry and their pre-performance rituals!

1. When did you know you wanted to be a performer?
When I was 3, my auntie flew me to sydney with her to see 42nd Street. I can’t remember ever being so excited and sure as I was in that moment when the curtain came up and all I could see were tapping feet. AMAZING!

2. What do you hope to achieve from the Rob Guest Endowment process?
I got my first job in theatre at 17 and now, at 25, I feel like the RGE is giving me the opportunity to step up and showcase myself as a soloist to my friends, family and peers.

3. When you found out you were a finalist, what was the first thing you did?
Call my mum of course, she is the first to hear everything! Then celebrated with a beer and some amazing friends.

4. What is the most exciting thing about music theatre in Australia?
The standard of production and calibre of talent is something you hear people talking about all over the world. We are just so lucky to be part of an industry that is succesful and thriving here in Australia!

5. If you could play any role (regardless of criteria such as age, gender, etc) what would it be?
Any role in Les Mis!! Infact when I was a kid travelling from Ballarat to Melbourne my family would have to suffer the entire show from start to finish, no character voice ever spared!

6. What’s your go-to, belt-it-out-in-the-shower song?
Ok, honestly… I almost NEVER sing at home unless I am preparing for an audition but if I do its humming along to something like Neil Young or The Flaming Lips, no show tunes in our house.

7. How are you preparing for the upcoming concert?
With Hairspray sadly finishing only a few weeks ago, I have been given the unexpected luxury of time, so I’ve really just been able to put my head down and make sure I’m ready to have a great night.

8. Do you have any pre-performance rituals that you follow?
Not for me.  I generally just try to relax and let whatever happens happen!

9. What’s the best piece of theatrical advice that you have been given?
I have been lucky enough to work with buckets of inspiring creatives and peers, all of whom have shaped and nurtured the way I approach work as a performer. Most of all they have all taught me to just be Ash Pyke, if I’m being myself it makes everything so much easier to tackle.

10. Where do you hope to be in 5 years time?
5 Years away seems like a very long time, I don’t even know what I’m cooking for dinner tonight!? But I put 110% into everything I do and If I keep applying myself in the present who knows what the future has in store!

More about Ashlea:

Ashlea trained from an early age at the Ballarat Ballet Centre and with the Barbara Lynch Dancers. She was vocally trained by Constance Coward-Lemke. Ashlea began her professional career at age 17 when she joined the Australian cast of We Will Rock You. Ashlea then played the lead role in Gary Ginivan’s original Australian children’s musical, My Grandma Lived In Gooligulch. Other theatre credits include the Production Company’s Oklahoma! and TML’s SHOUT! Ashlea was also lucky enough to perform in the original cast of Eddie Perfect’s Shane Warne the Musical. After giving birth to her first child, Otis, in 2009, Ashlea has spent the last year with her amazing Hairspray family, understudying the role of Penny. Ashlea is honoured and extremely excited to be a given the opportunity to be a part of this year’s Rob Guest Endowment.

More information on the Rob Guest Endowment: Triple Threat? Be our guest Gretel Scarlett: Rob Guest Endowment Finalist 2011 Jamie Ward: Rob Guest Endowment Finalist 2011  2011 Rob Guest Endowment Finalists Announced 

Cassie Tongue

Cassie is a theatre critic and arts writer in Sydney, and is the deputy editor of AussieTheatre. She has written for The Guardian, Time Out Sydney, Daily Review, and BroadwayWorld Australia. She is a voter for the Sydney Theatre Awards.

Cassie Tongue

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