The Rob Guest Endowment annual gala concert is just days away and it’s going to be a night to remember in the Aussie Musical Theatre calendar. The big event is all set for Monday November 9, where six finalists — emerging stars of Australian musical theatre — will take the stage at Sydney’s Lyric Theatre to compete for a a prize package of $20,000 and a headshot package from Blueprint Studios.
AussieTheatre’s Cassie Tongue asked ten questions of each finalist, in the lead-up to the concert, to find out about their lives, careers, and how they’re preparing for the high-calibre event.
Today we feature our sixth finalist for 2015, Georgina Hopson – a graduate of the Queensland Conservatorium Griffith University and recent star of Harvest Rains’s Into the Woods in the role of Cinderella.
1. When did you know you wanted to become a performer?
It’s hard to pin down a particular point that I knew I wanted to be a performer. As a kid, I always loved to dance and sing around the house, play dress ups and put on plays with my siblings and friends. In Grade 12 I had a significant lightbulb moment – I’d only just started singing lessons, and I performed a song on school assembly called “I Just Want to Be a Star” from Nunsense (quite an applicable title). I belted my little heart out, and when all my school friends were applauding and cheering me on it was in that moment that I knew I could never do anything else with my life.
2. What made you apply for the Rob Guest Endowment?
I applied for the Rob Guest Endowment because I thought it would be an amazing opportunity to grow and learn as a new performer to the industry. The RGE would also provide access to guidance from experienced mentors and professionals that would help me establish myself as a new artist and the financial funding would also create learning opportunities that I would not be able to experience otherwise.
3. How are you preparing for the upcoming concert? Any new rituals or routines?
I’ll be doing lots of singing lessons and workshopping my songs with my teachers, to get them to the highest level of performance ready! I’m also frantically shopping and looking for the perfect dress to wear – I want to find something that makes me feel special and a bit fierce. And of course, I’ll be keeping healthy and keeping up the dance classes and fitness!
4. You’ve recently appeared in Into the Woods. What’s your favourite Sondheim lyric?
“Wishes may bring problems such that you regret them, better that though than to never get them”.
5. What’s your go-to, belt-it-out-in-the-shower song?
Whitney Houston – ‘I Have Nothing’. Every time. Although if I’m in a soprano mood, I will bust out Mr Snow from Carousel.
6. What’s your dream role, regardless of age, gender, or anything else?
Billy Bigelow in Carousel – I love the show, and the music, it’s very special to me. Billy is such a flawed hero, and in my humble opinion his soliloquy is one of the best musical theatre songs ever written.
7. This is a tough industry. What keeps you going?
Passion. I do what I love, and I believe in the importance and significance of the performing arts. When it comes down to it, performers are storytellers, and storytelling is how we relate and connect as humans.
I also could never get by without my support network of family, friends, mentors and teachers.
8. What’s the number one item on your Bucket List?
To perform on Broadway.
9. Do you have any preperformance rituals?
I like to take a moment to stand on stage and look out at the empty chairs, and take in every corner of the theatre. I imagine all the people of the audience filing in, filled with excitement and anticipation, and it reminds me that they are the most important people in the room and my job is simply to share the story with them.
10. Why does musical theatre matter?
There’s something special about the combination of acting, singing and dancing bringing a story and characters to life. If you look back in history, it has always been our human instinct to express ourselves through mediums such as dancing and singing as it allows us to convey emotion that is too difficult to put into words. In musical theatre, the audience is taken on the journey of the story and immersed in this magical, glittering land where they are allowed to believe anything is possible. Every time you hear a song, you are hearing the internal thoughts of the character, and so you get so much more information about whom that character is and what they want. I also think musical theatre also has the capacity to approach difficult issues and topics in such a way that the audience can relate and understand them, but be challenged at the same time. We are encouraged by theatre to question our own views or motivations, and I think that is something so valuable in the progression of our society.
Musical theatre can be a lovely night out, but it can also make a difference.
Follow the Rob Guest Endowment official Instagram account to see each of the 6 finalists ‘takeover’ for a week leading up to the concert.
For more information and to purchase tickets visit robguestendowment.com.au