AussieTheatre’s Editor in Chief and co-director Erin James shines the spotlight on Jeremy Youett, Producer of the 10th Annual Australian Cabaret Showcase…
The first time I ever lived out of home, it was in a share house with Jeremy Youett. Currently working as General Manager for the New York Music Theatre Festival, a job which sees him managing the finances, legals and production of what we believe is the largest Festival in this genre in the world, I always knew Jeremy was destined for greatness.
In 2003, we were embarking on a drama school journey that would change our lives ‘For Good’ as the song goes, and now nearly ten years later, I look back on the career of my friend with amazement, happiness and most of all, pride.
After graduating from WAAPA with a Bachelor of Arts (Music Theatre) in 2005, Jeremy went on to perform professionally in musicals across the country, including Priscilla – Queen of the Desert. Not content with simply using part of his brain, he completed a Post Graduate Diploma of Arts Management (Australian Institute of Music/Sydney Opera House), founded Your Enterprises (an events management and production company now with offices in Australia and New York) moved to New York, made connections in the most illustrious of circles, and has been producing the Australian Cabaret Showcase for six years running.
One of the most talented, driven and intelligent people I know, I spoke with Jeremy recently about the Australian Cabaret Showcase’s 10th Anniversary season and his passionate involvement since 2006.
“The Showcase has built a reputation as great place for artists to gain vital industry exposure” he said.
“There’s great diversity in the entrants that have taken part over the years and also a huge variety of ideas and concepts that have been presented and I feel that it’s important to keep artists engaged in the art form of cabaret, so that audiences also continue to be engaged in it. It also now provides a significant and career advancing opportunity to the winner, with a prize that really is incomparable.”
For the last 10 years, winners of the showcase have been receiving wonderful prize packages (which just seem to get better and better!) and this year, the winner will receive the biggest and most exciting prize offered by an independent competition in the country including an invitation to perform at The Adelaide Cabaret Festival, The Noosa Longweekend Festival, The Brisbane Cabaret Festival, The Melbourne Cabaret Festival and The Ballarat Cabaret Festival, plus a performance at the 10th Annual New York Musical Theatre Festival (NYMF), a $1000 cash prize courtesy the Ron and Margaret Dobell Foundation, a photographic and design package courtesy of Blueprint Studios, as well as publicity for their tour courtesy of I.P Publicity.
But aside from the winner, Jeremy explained, other entrants into the showcase often secure other gigs and are picked up by agents as a result of their appearance. Some have even gone on to develop and perform their own solo shows.
Living in New York hasn’t hindered Jeremy’s involvement as producer in the event. Although challenges are an inevitability (like time difference and sheer distance), he wouldn’t change it for the world.
“Despite the challenges of continuing to produce the event when I’m based overseas, the Showcase is something I continue to develop because I strongly believe in it as a platform for developing and supporting Australian talent and the art form”, he says.
“This will be the 6th year I have produced the event in the 10 years it has been running. I look at it as a bit of a pet project because it’s the first thing I ever produced before moving into a career as a producer. I was also an entrant and finalist in the event immediately after leaving drama school, so I connect with it on a few levels.”
Jeremy feels that the Australian Cabaret Showcase initiative has two significant goals: to provide a platform for Australian artists to develop and hone their skills in a very challenging and exposing art form; and to continue to create awareness of the genre both for artists and for audiences.
And if he has anything to do with it, the event will continue to do just that for a long time to come.
[pull_left]In the next year or two we will see expansion of heats in to additional territories, the Grand Final will be relocated to a larger venue and all going well there will be further development of the New York element of the winners prize[/pull_left]
“In the next year or two we will see expansion of heats in to additional territories, the Grand Final will be relocated to a larger venue [currently held at The Basement] and all going well there will be further development of the New York element of the winners prize” he said.
“On a more long term basis I’d like to secure a broadcasting partnership, as well as some additional funding to support the continued growth of the event which is now unfortunately at a tipping point, where it’s no longer possible for me to manage and produce it at this scale without additional investment from the public or private sector.”
Dreaming big and achieving high was always one of Jeremy’s strong points, and it’s paying off for the Showcase. For the first time in 2012, the Australian Cabaret Showcase is offering heats in NSW, QLD and Victoria. With the support of some generous sponsors it has become possible for the winner of heats in QLD and VIC to receive flights and accommodation to attend and compete at the Grand Finals in Sydney.
And, as always, Jeremy surprises us with more exciting announcements up his sleeve:
“I’m excited to say that we have just confirmed that we will launch heats in Adelaide for the first time in 2013 for the 11th Annual Showcase, with the support of The Adelaide Cabaret Festival and Artistic Director Kate Ceberano.”
This workaholic will be back in Australia soon for the Sydney season of the Australian Cabaret Showcase 2012. If you get a chance to meet him, do shake his hand – he is doing wonderful things for our arts industry; locally, nationally and internationally and I sincerely hope he knows just how much we appreciate it.
Entries for the 10th Annual Australian Cabaret Showcase close on December 10.
To register, visit: www.yourenterprises.com