WAAPA's Clay Roberts Discusses Millie, Dream Roles and Reveals a Talent for the Outdoors.

Clay Roberts with Emily Hart Image -
Clay Roberts with Emily Hart
Image – Kathy Wheatley

With another successful opening night under their belts, Clay Roberts from WAAPA's (Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts) Throughly Modern Millie, took some time to reveal a few of his dream roles, a hidden talent and offer some valuable advice to those who one day dream of walking the corridors at WAAPA.

When you auditioned for WAAPA what was your audition piece?

My audition pieces were 'The Way you Look Tonight' From Swing Time and 'I'm Alive' from Next to Normal.

What memories do you have of that day?

Lots and lots of nerves. Excitement. Everything. One thing I remember is that I was early in the morning to record my songs and I was really worried the songs weren’t going to come out of my mouth. Luckily they came out in some capacity. Good or bad I’ll never know!

Can you describe for us a day in the life of a WAAPA Musical Theatre Student?

Hard work and lots of love. Learning so much in one day and trying to process it all. Classes from 9 – 1.30 then rehearsals from 2- 6. So, lots to do and to prepare for and lots to look forward to everyday.

Thoroughly Modern Millie is this year’s mid year musical. What can audiences expect from this production?

A new, modern, old-time musical. So, it’s in the style of the older musicals with big tap numbers and a feel good story line. It’s written with all new music, to give it a modern twist. It’s big and bold with amazing costumes, striking choreography and thrilling direction. With a great cast it will keep the audience on the edge of their seat for the whole show.

rocket french here

Can you tell us about the character you play in the production?

Jimmy Smith is a bold young man who does anything he wants whenever he wants. He's a huge flirt and has no intention of settling down. But deep down he has a huge heart under his no cares attitude. Oh, and he gets hit by a truck when he falls head over heels for Millie.

What would be your dream role?

Franki Valli in Jersey Boys is definitely a dream role of mine. Also Jack in Newsies and Gabe in Next to Normal and many more, too many to name.

What is the best piece of advice you have received thus far?

Keep your head held high and focus on what your doing, but also have fun!

What is the most memorable piece of theatre/performance you've seen?

My very first show I saw, which was The Rocky Horror Show. I was let in even though I was under the age requirements and I loved it so much, even though it scared me.

Who inspires you?

Jonothan Groff, Sutton Foster and Andrew Rannels.  They are very talented but also so humble and nice and I strive to be like them as performers. And also my parents. They have so much faith in me and it helps me to keep working hard and doing what I love.

What advice would you give to others wishing to audition for the Musical Theatre course?

Don't be disappointed if you get knocked back the first time. Keep working hard on all the disciplines and take as many classes as you can. Then try and try again. You’re only going to get better, and you just might not be ready at that time.

If I wasn't at WAAPA I would be

I really like outdoor landscaping.  So I would probably be a backyard landscaper/designer.