A Quick Chat With Renee Burleigh

Renee Burleigh Headshot. Image by Chris Parker
Renee Burleigh. Image by Chris Parker

Renee will be playing the role of Demeter in CATS, Brisbane 2009.

As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
As a child I always wanted to do musical theatre. I remember seeing Cats as a child and of all the shows, Cats was the one I wanted to do most… I’m so fortunate to have been given that opportunity to fulfil that dream. Although at one stage, I do remember saying I wanted to be a Marine Biologist and an Archaeologist… but I don’t think I ever pursued those past colouring books of dolphins and dinosaurs.

Who is the most important person in the world to you?
My mum and my boyfriend John are so important in my life.

What animal best represents you and why?
I remember this coming up in high school and for whatever reason at the time, I was nominated a ferret! Lovely, huh?

If you were a contestant on Deal Or No Deal, how much would you need to be on offer before you walked away?
I think I would just keep going as high as you can. I’m not sure how high it goes, but at the end of the day it’s a game and I’d want to see how far I could possibly go. It’s not like I’d be leaving with any less that I would have started with.

What’s the worst date you’ve ever had?
My first date with a boy who invited me to his parents’ house who he swore and yelled at the entire time I was there, and spoke about how he was going to stop eating and just drink the Opti Slim shakes, when he was actually fit and healthy. Clearly, we didn’t work out!

Windows or MAC?

Which Spice Girl was your favourite?
At the time it was Baby Spice because she was blonde.

Who is the performer you would most like to work alongside?
Helen Mirren

What five songs would be the first you put a mix tape?
Right Here Waiting – Richard Marx; I Alone – Live; Cats in the Cradle – Cat Stevens; The Blower’s Daughter – Damien Rice; Brick – Ben Folds Five.

What is the best thing about theatre in Australia?
The amazing talent Australians have, the quality of performers we have is incredible.

What is the worst thing about theatre in Australia?
The limited amount of work there is for performers. It’s a real shame that so many Australians have to go overseas to perform.

Favourite food?
My mum’s Spanakopita (Greek sprinach and cheese pie).

What would you do if you found a wallet on the ground?
I would hand it all in to the police station straight away, I know how stressful it is to lose all your cards.

What’s the worst job you’ve ever had?
I walked around Forest Hill Chase shopping centre as a showgirl in fishnets, leotard and feathers handing out free drink coupons for the pub upstairs. I got disapproving tisks from elderly ladies.. quite embarrassing.

What’s the first website you visit when you come online?

Name one moment when you looked around, breathed happily and felt content.
I do this quite a lot to appreciate my life. I have had a few of those moments with Cats, looking around at my wonderful friends when we’re being silly backstage…Or Christmas Day sitting around with my family and boyfriend John.

Red or white?

Where is the most interesting place you have travelled?

Who is the most famous person you’ve ever met?
I did the Producers with Bert Newtown! I have to say, he’s the most lovely, generous man.

Where do you see yourself in five years?
I would love to be playing lead roles in Australian musical theatre and have broken into film and television… I’d love to be more focused on my acting.

Erin James

Erin James is AussieTheatre.com's former Editor in Chief and a performer on both stage and screen. Credits include My Fair Lady, South Pacific and The King and I (Opera Australia), Love Never Dies and Cats (Really Useful Group), Blood Brothers (Enda Markey Presents), A Place To Call Home (Foxtel/Channel 7) and the feature film The Little Death (written and directed by Josh Lawson).

Erin James

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