How to succeed in Showbusiness: Leading the Way

 Rebecca Grennan is an Australian performer who specialises in Life Coaching and positive psychology. We welcome Rebecca as one of our regular columnists at as she brings her thoughts on the industry to our AussieTheatre audience. 

 Bec GrennanRebecca Grennan is an Australian performer who specialises in Life Coaching and positive psychology. We welcome Rebecca as one of our regular columnists at as she brings her thoughts on the industry to our AussieTheatre audience. Hi there Aussie Theatre readers  Thank you for this opportunity to write for you and offer advice to all of you out there reading and thinking “…How do I do this? If only I knew a way to make the most of this situation?”
I hope these posts to the AussieTheatre community will uncover some ‘secrets’ that the professionals know as well as well as some good advice based on my 10 years working in the performing arts industry and my study of life coaching and positive psychology.
I want this to be a place where you feel free to ask anything that’s mulling over in your performing brain with no question being too juicy, racy or seemingly obvious. If you have a  Q… I will find a good A for you!
I write this post to you from Bermuda during the first 2 weeks of my casts’ arrival on the Norwegian Gem Cruise Ship. Currently I’m employed as a Principal Singer on the ‘Norwegian Gem’ in Bermuda, NYC, Bahamas and the Caribbean. This is my 3rd contract on the seas after I decided to travel after a great career so far on land in Australia and Japan.
The past week onboard has been hectic and we have crammed many 12 hour days into the rehearsal ‘bump in’ period to get the shows up and show ready for our audiences. Along the way, the topic of leadership has been on my mind and how different the results can be based on different leadership styles. 
I have had a few leaders in my time as a performer.

  • My first ballet teacher was strict but encouraging.  
  • My favourite grade teacher was firm, direct and funny. 
  • Some of my high school leaders left a bit to the imagination, but the ones that really stood out were the people who taught and lead from a place of passion and love.  

From all their different personalities, I drew something different.
The one thing in common with the ‘good’ leaders and the ones that pretty well ‘sucked’, is something I’m finding more and more is measured by what they wished to achieve. That is, their INTENTION.
What I mean is, did they lead as a JOB and a way to make money only, or did they ‘serve’ and were they passionate about  passing on skills and experience to others?
I, admittedly, have been both a GOOD and SUCKY leader. I’ve been the teacher who goes to make a buck and get home. And I have also planned my classes and intended to spread love, joy and confidence amongst my students and peers.
The purpose I go back to repeatedly as a leader is to inspire by action, conspire for success and encourage those who are in your presence. When I’m a top leader, I walk the walk.
I’ve had the pleasure of working with some fantastic dance and vocal captains over my years of performing, and the outstanding ones, were the people who went the extra mile to listen, encourage, speak clearly and directly about what they required of me.
During the Hugh Jackman Boy From Oz tour in 2006 I was lucky to work with a talented Dance Captain and Performer, Tracie Morley, who went above and beyond the call of duty to see that her dancers were on the same page and every one was treated with equal respect and reverence.
The same thing occurred with the lovely Yvette Lee, who captained us on the Shout tour back in 2008. Her style was definitely one of direct and open communication and encouragement. She was definitely wanting her cast members to feel supported and acknowledged for the good job they were doing to make the performance, as a whole, a much more interesting and ‘together’ visual and emotional experience.
Unfortunately though, some people do not come from the place of serving and let their personal feelings about co-workers overtake their professionalism. I’ve worked with some young captions who have been in the position of leadership (and don’t get me wrong — they have great skills at their chosen talent) who have a lot of room in their tool box for learning intricacies of dealing with people and different personalities to achieve the results of a harmonious and motivated work place. I’ve found in these experiences that if the leader and guide of the group is misdirected, the effects filter down into the rest of the team. I do believe it is a skill to lead and one that can be improved over time. I myself have taken part in leadership courses in the companies I’ve worked for and I feel this line of training and improvement is so important to your development as a leader.
Before I leave you I want to share with you a great quote I found earlier this week:
“If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader.”John Quincy Adams
Luckily and gratefully I’m working with a great leader at the moment who shows daily that she comes from a place of care and responsibility and in turn, our cast feels  confident to let the best parts of their personality shine.
Who is your favourite leader and why? I’d love to hear back from you so leave a question, thought or comment in the box below and I will speak to you soon!
Over and Out 

Rebecca Grennan is a performance coach, performer and author. 

Rebecca established Stage 2 Coaching Group in 2010, and she holds a Certificate IV in Life Coaching and Certificate IV in Business.

Other training includes a Diploma of Dance from the Queensland Dance School of Excellence, her Advanced R.A.D, and Certificate IV in Performing Arts from Brent Street School of Performing Arts.

Rebecca has over 10 years experience working as a triple threat performer in various Musical Theatre National Tours including working with Hugh Jackman in the The Boy From Oz, Happy Feet, the blockbuster animated feature film, various TV commercials and overseas appearances as lead vocalist in Singapore, Europe and both North and South America.

Currently touring overseas, Rebecca’s passion lies in writing, coaching and creating products to help speakers and performers achieve tangible results in their lives and career, through use of social media, coaching and exploration!
Her latest eBook “The Ultimate Performer’s Clear Vision” and her hypnosis program “Nerves to Superb” are available at her website:
 Based in Brisbane, Rebecca still performs and also focuses on helping people achieve better results in the Entertainment Industry. 

Rebecca Grennan

Rebecca 'Bex' Grennan owns and runs a website for creative entrepreneurs (actors, singers, dancers, theatre folk and unconventional creative businesses) focusing on career coaching, social media marketing strategies, and workshops online and offline uncovering all the Industry myths you’ve been blinded by. She has also worked in the entertainment industry for 12 years as a triple threat and voice over artist represented by Mark Byrne Management in Sydney. Performing History Includes: Theatre: Sweet Charity, Mame, The Boyfriend, (Melbourne Production Company), The Boy from Oz-Hugh Jackman, Shout! The Legend of the Wild One, Grease- the Arena Spectacular and Opera Australia, Universal Studios Japan, Princess Cruises and Norwegian Cruise Lines Film: Happy Feet, The Son of the Mask

Rebecca Grennan

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