Bianca Baykara on VOYAGERS: A NEW MUSICAL

It all started with a song.

In 2015, Wagga Wagga Civic Theatre commissioned a 2 person show with Andrew Strano and Loclan Mackenzie-Spencer at the helm. The pair took a song they had previously written, “Something’s Wrong,” and began to construct a full musical around it. The song in question revolves around topics of mental health and suicide, issues that Andrew and Loclan believe need to be urgently discussed, and was originally written in response to a friend’s brother taking his life. Thus, they began their journey of Voyagers, exploring themes of grief, isolation, and loss through the brilliant storytelling form of music theatre.

Bianca Baykara

Voyagers was initially intended to be presented in August 2021, but as a result of the COVID-induced shutdowns, was pushed to later in the year. Now, it will be presented as a staged reading at La Mama theatre in just a few weeks’ time. Actor Bianca Baykara was initially part of the show’s first workshop, and will now be rejoining the cast for the reading.

Bianca is a graduate of the National Institute of Dramatic Art, where she was the recipient of the Robertson Family Trust scholarship. Past credits include Chess (StoreyBoard Entertainment) Mrs Hathaway and u/s Patty Di Marco in School Of Rock (GWB Entertainment), Phantom and u/s Janet and Magenta in The Rocky Horror Show (GFO/GWB Entertainment/Howard Panter), Cynthia in Priscilla Queen of the Desert (NCL), Vanessa in In The Heights (StageArt), Marta in Company (Watch This), Rosalia/Somewhere Soloist in West Side Story (The Prod Co), u/s Seegar in An Officer & A Gentleman (GFO), La Niña in crossXroads, The King & I (Opera Australia/GFO), Singin’ In The Rain (The Prod Co), Nine (Manilla St) and Pacific Overtures (Watch This/Manilla St).

Can you tell me a bit about your background with performing?

Bianca: I started singing when I was 5 in the Australian Girls Choir and developed a love for music there. I started a Bachelor of Science before deciding to give drama school a try, and got accepted into NIDA when I was 20. Music theatre feels like the perfect medium for me to express my creativity and talents, and I definitely think you can start ‘late’ like I did!

How is Voyagers different to other shows you have been a part of?

Bianca: I was in the first ever reading of Voyagers and came in with no preconceived notions of what the expect. I’ve never worked on anything that early in the process and it’s an exciting challenge to dig in to the script and mine for information to bring the character to life.

What has been the most challenging part of working on a new Australian musical?

Bianca: The most challenging part is working hard in a short time to hone the performance to give the most clarity to the work for the audience.

And what about the most exciting?

Bianca: That’s also the most exciting part! The opportunity to ‘flex’ your skills and see how far you can work and develop your character. It’s very rare to have that flexibility when you are rehearsing a role already portrayed by another actor abroad for example.

If you had to pick a favourite space-themed movie, what would it be and why?

Bianca: Space Jam – the original! I was a huge tomboy growing up and loved basketball. Gravity is still on my ‘to watch’ list though!

What can audiences expect from Voyagers?

Bianca: A modern, moving story about an Australian family with a fantastic script and songs. (No spoilers!) I’m so proud to be in the cast.

Voyagers: A New Musical will be presented at the La Mama Courthouse from November 26 to 28.
For tickets and more information, visit the La Mama website.

Gabi Bergman

Gabi Bergman is a Melbourne-based performer and educator. She holds a Double Arts degree in Theatre Studies and Film/Screen Studies and a Master of Teaching (Secondary Education). Gabi has always been an avid lover of theatre, specifically musicals, and spends way too much money than she’d like to admit on tickets. Her most prized possession is her crate of theatre programs.

Gabi Bergman

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