It’s obviously no exaggeration that this pandemic pause has been a catastrophe for the entertainment industry on a whole as reported in numerous articles already released by AussieTheatre. COVID-19 has affected the heavy majority of people who work in various sectors of the arts but, I say with confidence, that no virus can destroy our art form or our creativity.
Oliver Alkhair, a young Sydney based actor, singer and dancer, who has recently appeared in productions of School Of Rock, Charlie and The Chocolate Factory & Kinky Boots is a true example of what can happen when a strong will to make the most of a terrible situation gets the better of you. Oliver has found a way to do what he loves during these strange times and also help others along the way.
Isolation for most, has been a time for self-reflection, a time to flex creative muscles in a number of ways, and across many platforms. We have witnessed many experiments and performances (across the social platforms) from performers who have found comfort in filming short acting scenes to the camera at home, or devoting time to writing sessions, singing for an online audience or spending many hours perfecting their craft the best way they know-how, considering the current circumstances.
Some performers have chosen to use this forced downtime up-skill, get fit (thanks to a million online fitness classes available), and if you’re 12-year-old Oliver Alkhair, from Brent Street Agency, you use your money to purchase a musical! Yes, you heard correctly! At 12 years of age, Oliver Alkhair has been occupying himself playing the role of the producer and starring in an online show. Why? You ask. Well, to put it simply, he wants to continue doing what he loves and does best, despite these strange times. And, that is to perform!
Brent Street Agency is incredibly proud of Oliver and delighted to represent such a talented, pro-active and kind spirited individual, says Oliver’s agent, Natalie De Sousa.
“We’re so impressed with how he has chosen to rise, lead and include others in such a positive way. When all seems hopeless, he has decided to do something good, to make art and to bring joy to others through the power of performance and story-telling.
“We, at Brent Street Agency, know that he is definitely one to watch, destined for great things and look forward to what else Oliver has in store, post-COVID-19; and beyond”, she added.
Returning home, after the cancellation of the Brisbane season of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, where Oliver was due to reprise the role of Charlie, he wanted to find something creative to do with his time, in isolation. He was particularly interested in finding something to do that was entertaining, satisfied his thirst for creativity and could include those people he knew who lost employment in the arts, due to the coronavirus pandemic.
After some research, Oliver came across a musical called The Big One-Oh! The Online Edition of the show was modified by iTheatrics and became available to licence through MTI Australasia in early May. Oliver licensed the musical using his own money that he earned through work on professional musicals, he then contacted some of the adults and children he worked with on the professional shows and hey presto! Oliver has a cast of performers for online performances of the musical, The Big One-Oh!
Artists are resilient beings but, they’re also very agile which means adapting to the online medium during these strange times should come relatively easy. It is important that performers continue to extend themselves, learn the new-normal, quickly and with an open mind because the hard truth is that it will be a good while before live theatre or performance will be coming back. Getting familiar with how it feels to be in front of the camera and learning to deliver performances in a new medium will feel odd at first but, as Oliver Alkhair has shown, with challenge, we re-group, we rise, accept and make the best of what we’ve got. That’s all one can do, added Natalie De Sousa.
To keep everything on track, and to make the experience as professional as possible, Oliver appointed a co-producer, director, music director to work with the cast of children, some of which he didn’t know, from the several other casts of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, from School of Rock, (which he was in for the Sydney season) and Billy Elliot as well, including some adults from these productions.
Rehearsals are in progress and being conducted via online program, Zoom. Performance dates for the online musical, The Big One -Oh! are set for the 25th – 27th June 2020, also on Zoom.
If this isn’t a feel-good story during unprecedented times, I don’t know what is. Oliver Alkhair is a real mover and a shaker who has proven, where’s there is a will, there’s a way. Brent Street Agency is very proud to represent such a talent and kind-spirited individual.
Tickets for The Big One -Oh! can be purchased on the productions Facebook page.