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Can you walk me through your journey in the entertainment industry, from your beginnings to launching your company?

Josh: I started out as a live musician, was in a band, and did the Triple J thing, before getting into acting as well. I studied Pop Music at uni, as well pursuing acting credits. After being involved in musicals such as Songs for a New World (Man 1), Hair (Hud), Little Shop of Horrors (Audrey II), and Legally Blonde (Emmett), just to name a few, I began combining my singing and acting skills by writing cabarets for fringe, cabaret, and other festival circuits. I continued to do this for many years, eventually realising I was producing my own work. In October 2022, I launched JDProCo after providing over 30 artists with opportunities in the world of theatre, cabaret, and concerts that aligned with my past projects.


That's a fantastic achievement! Building on that, could you share what inspired you to start JDProCo? I'm curious about how you balance the various responsibilities involved in running your own company while fostering the growth of the artists in your creative projects.

Josh: When you create something like a company, your role involves wearing many hats, as well as being the face of your work. JDProCo naturally evolved from my desire to create, collaborate, and provide opportunities for my peers and network, all while expressing myself on stage. I produce according to my own tastes, which are influenced by my love for musical theatre, mid-00's jams, singer-songwriters, and festive holiday tunes.

My approach to nurturing artists is simple: I ask them what they want to achieve. Working primarily with actors and music theatre artists, I understand that it can be a daunting experience at first, as they are conditioned to follow directions and do what they are told (E.g. “stand on this light, hit this mark by this line, don’t use vibrato in this section”). I trust the artists to make their own choices and then I collaborate with them if they need guidance, feedback, or even just validation that they are doing an excellent job. It is incredibly rewarding to witness them making great choices and unlocking that part of their creativity.


Can you tell me about some of the projects you've launched with JDProCo, and how they reflect your vision for the company?

Josh: We are well-known for our annual Broadway, So Millennial, and Christmas shows. A labour of love that I launched this year, called SING!, is aimed at spotlighting singer-songwriters, musicians, and singers who have taken a break from the industry and are looking to make a comeback in an intimate setting. By the end of 2024, we will have produced 9 events across these four projects.

Starting out as a singer-songwriter myself, this was a small way of giving back and providing a platform within the community that doesn’t require as much pressure to be “industry oriented” but rather just a space for artists to express themselves. It has been interesting to build an audience for this project outside of the theatre community, but I am excited to see how JDProCo can extend its reach with a multi-genre approach.


That sounds like a wonderful new project, Josh. I'm interested in the inspiration behind the rebranding of your Broadway events this year. Can you share how the idea came about and the collaboration with PiP Theatre?

Josh: The idea of rebranding has been in talks with my nearest and dearest since our last Broadway event in October 2023. The event started in April 2021 as a way for myself and my friends to return to the stage after the negative effects of Covid in 2020. The formula involved artists performing three songs each in a set, like their own mini cabaret. We have hosted six editions of Broadway in the Dock and over time, the show naturally evolved into a more curated experience resembling a traditional production, complete with acts and ensemble numbers. Without hyperbole, I have a deep love for PiP Theatre - they had been knocking on my door to collaborate on something, and when the time came for rebranding, we finally had the meeting. We chatted about what I wanted to achieve for the event, and ultimately decided to co-produce the rebranding, resulting in what is now known as The Broadway Jam.


Absolutely, the return of live theatre has been such a gift. So, what's in store at The Broadway Jam? Can you give us a sneak peek into the whole experience?

Josh: Attendees can expect high excellence from performers who are either working professionally or rising in their emerging status. The experience has a very “downtown” feel and is curated evenly with both production value and a focus on the heart of the show, which is “piano and voice,” showcasing each artist with their voice as their instrument and storytelling vice. The event offers a Broadway experience spanning different genres from Sondheim to Kander and Ebb, to Lin Manuel Miranda and Jason Robert Brown. You will also hear some songs in a different way. We LOVE arranging well-known Broadway songs to offer a new sound for the audience. Some artists will also showcase their skills playing their own instruments during The Broadway Jam - we are literally creating a jam session and taking our audience along for that ride.


Let's talk about the magic behind the scenes. Could you provide more detail on the collaborative process with artists and creatives when curating events like The Broadway Jam?

Josh: The process varies for each artist; I am involved as a collaborator and will curate the show based on the artists' choices. Additionally, I seek input and guidance from our accompanist to collaborate on music direction decisions, which makes it all very fulfilling. Our timeline is quite short since many of the artists I work with have multiple other creative commitments going at the same time. So, it is a tight ship that I must get over the finish line each time. Fortunately, the people I work with are focused, professional, and enthusiastic about contributing to the process.


Shifting gears a bit, I'd love to hear about some memorable moments from past productions and events hosted by JDProCo.

Josh: The last Christmas show was a huge moment for both myself and the company. It featured a 16-piece band and was put together in just five rehearsals. It was truly fulfilling for me, as I am heavily involved in the arrangements alongside my collaborator, Paula Girvan. Seeing everything from my imagination come to life was an absolute thrill. We had our best audiences yet, and the entire band walked away feeling so chuffed with what we achieved. The band has become like a family of exceptional people, and it is an honour to captain that ship every December. As we approach our 5th anniversary of the Christmas show, we plan to make it even bigger this year!


It's clear that you have created some truly special experiences for both performers and audiences alike. Looking ahead to the future, what is your vision for the role of JDProCo in the musical theatre scene in Brisbane and what sets it apart within our arts community?

Josh: I envision the role of JDProCo in our industry as a platform for music theatre artists to discover new things about themselves and find out the artist they want to be. JDProCo focuses on the artist and creating an environment that hands the power to them. We are creating something that truly does feel like an opportunity, in its many facets, for the creative individual. And each time we want to build our audience (and almost educate them on what a music theatre experience can be like), it is always in a space that isn’t a traditional theatre building. If this experience challenges, inspires, and validates their passion for performing, then I feel we have achieved wondrous success.


I'm sure aspiring artists would love to hear your insights and advice for breaking into the industry. What guidance would you offer to those looking to pursue their dreams in musical theatre?

Josh: My advice at the moment would be to prioritise creativity and strive for a path that allows you to express yourself unapologetically. The industry is also known as show BUSINESS for a reason, so don’t be afraid to ask tough questions to individuals you perceive as successful about finances, contracts, and protocols. It is crucial to become a knowledgeable artist who can navigate the industry's incredible highs and lows and possessing this knowledge will aid in building your resilience.


That is such a good point. I'd love to hear more about what personally drives you and keeps you passionate about your work in the theatre industry. What aspects of your role do you find most fulfilling, and what keeps you motivated to continue creating and inspiring others?

Josh: My main motivation, and please discuss this with me if you do not like this approach - but I am very driven by the notion that I simply do not want "this" to end. I am 100% irrevocably in love with being artistic and creative. My purpose and duty are to create work, inspire work, and most of all, be fulfilled by what I do. This drive never leaves me, even when I am exhausted and burnt out at times. I am very privileged to lead a team of individuals who eagerly step forward when the call to "create a project" arises once again. In addition to my personal drive (which is obscenely high), I am also driven by the creatives I have surrounded myself with who share the same passion for this work. It is this consistent collaboration that ultimately drives my fulfilment. All I am chasing is exactly that.


It's wonderful to see someone so deeply committed to their craft and driven by the simple desire to keep creating. This not only ensures longevity of your projects but also fosters a sense of purpose that is invaluable in the creative industry, making JDProCo a beacon of inspiration for both artists and audiences alike. Keep chasing that dream, Josh!


[The Broadway Jam plays at PiP Theatre June 28 & 29, 2024]


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