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Can you tell us a bit about yourself and how you got started in theatre?

Rhea: Of course! I am Rhea, I have an adorable dog, and I just finished my Masters of Clinical Psychology. I actually fell into musical theatre by accident. My first show was in 2022, after I spontaneously auditioned for 'Little Shop of Horrors' with the Savoyards. I had no real musical theatre experience before (excluding a school musical or two in primary school), and the main reason I auditioned was because I was procrastinating writing a thesis. After scrolling through FaceBook, I saw this random audition opportunity, decided to audition for one of the urchins, and I was lucky enough to get in--from there, it's been impossible to stop!

Did you undergo any formal or informal training? If so, where and how did it shape your skills?

Rhea: I did take singing lessons in high school, which was super valuable for both learning about my voice and also helping me grow in terms of confidence. However, there were two other things that were pivotal in shaping my skills:

  • The Queensland Theatre Company's Youth Ensemble. I was very blessed to be part of their production of 'Hamlet', and it was simply amazing to work with these directors who were so passionate and knowledgeable. They provided us with brilliant audition tips, very personalised feedback, and opportunities to explore different roles.

  • School Choirs. At the time, they felt like just a fun activity to do--but really, choirs have taught me so much! Holding a harmony, learning to sight read, blending voices -- these skills are so essential in musicals, and have helped me so much.

How do you prepare for a new role?

Rhea: It depends on the role, really! A lot of my roles so far have had a strong emphasis on singing very complex harmonies within a very small group -- so my main preparation has always been listening to the songs until I know them to the core. Singing aside, when it comes to my character, I think having a background in psychology has always helped me really try to understand character motivation, character goals, and character dynamics within a show. I try really hard to give any role a little analysis -- also taking into account how I, personally, would like to make it my own.

Can you share a particularly memorable project from your theatre career so far?

I have one that happened only last month! It was in Footlights Theatrical Inc.'s cabaret, 'She's All That' -- the show itself consisted of nine fabulous ladies singing nostalgic girl power anthems. During one of the beautiful ballads sung by another cast member, the lights of the venue just completely went out -- in fact, the whole suburb lost power. Somehow, through pure willpower and also the generator of a taco truck, the crew managed to power up four microphones and a light to keep the show running. Not only was that, in itself, just so inspiring and incredible to watch -- but I had a really special moment where, during my own rendition of "Girl On Fire", all the power just suddenly returned to the venue. It was so truly memorable, seeing everything just light up suddenly, and seeing all the joy in everyone's faces. I don't think I'll ever forget it.

Are you working on any shows at the moment?

Rhea: I am actually behind the scenes, this time! I am music directing 'Blood Brothers', with Ghostlight Theatre Co. It is my first time music directing a show, and I was definitely very nervous when I first started. However, the cast and creative team have been nothing short of wonderful -- kind, fun, and so hard-working. I'm having a blast! The creative team was lovely, and let me just go crazy with the music -- they've let me write harmonies, change things up, and add my own little quirks to the songs. I am so grateful for the opportunity, and I am so excited to see all the magic come to life onstage!

Are there specific types of roles or theatre genres you find most rewarding or challenging?

Rhea: Huge fan of all things musical! If there's singing in it, I'll be there. I am especially sold if there are hints of gospel within the music. I have mostly worked with smaller casts, and I have loved every single one. You do very much become like a family -- and it really gives you the chance to connect with all these amazing people with all sorts of different backgrounds. However, I'm still relatively new to the world of theatre--so I am so incredibly excited to continue to explore and try out new things.

How do you approach collaboration with directors, fellow actors, and the production team? Can you share a positive collaboration experience that stood out to you?

Rhea: For me, it's all about learning. I have a lot to learn, and so approaching directors, actors, and production teams with an open mind and enthusiasm has always been the way to go for me. An experience that really stood out for me was actually in my first musical, 'Little Shop of Horrors' with the Savoyards. The musical director, Hayley Marsh, is genuinely one of my role models. She just has this amazing ear for music, and her vision for the music was always so much fun to work with. Even though being an urchin and learning tricky harmonies was a challenge, she always made it fun, and had so much patience and wisdom to give. While I'm teaching music for 'Blood Brothers,' I often think about some of her techniques and tips. She really is amazing!

What are some highlights throughout your stage journey that you are particularly proud of?

Rhea: I think a particular highlight for me was playing Olive in 'The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee' by Brisbane Arts Theatre. This was particularly rewarding, because it was the first time I had to perform for so many nights -- the show ran for six weekends, and I was really proud of the stamina and determination that I had to perform each weekend while completing my masters degree. It was also very rewarding to be a finalist in the 'Best Lead Actress in a Community Musical' in the Golden Palm Awards for that role. That role and that show was so incredibly close to my heart, and it was so nice to receive feedback that the love I had for that role was present onstage as well.

Are there specific goals or roles you aspire to achieve in the future?

Rhea: I want to explore more! I want to work with different companies, I want to try different genres and styles, I want to work with bigger casts, and I want to music direct more! It is so exciting to me that there are so many different opportunities out there, and I don't want to miss any of them. I don't have any dream roles just yet -- but I will let you know when something snatches my heart!

What advice do you have for individuals hoping to gain a role in a stage show?

Rhea: Just give it a go. Because, really, what is the worst that happens? Sure, you don't get in, and it stings for a little while -- but there's always opportunities to get feedback and grow, and then nail the next audition. All panels are always looking for something different, and you may just be that person they are looking for! And always ask for help. You're never on your own -- not in theatre. There are always people who are happy to give you tips, feedback, and support.

2 comentarios

13 mar

I've enjoyed following your performances over the past few years and your comments are inspiring to read. Looking forward to more great entertaining events.... lights on of course 😀

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Loved you in She's All That Rhea! 🤗

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