Natalie Portly and Trevor Ashley – Behind the Makeup

Fat Swan Trevor Ashley
Trevor Ashley as Natalie Portly in Fat Swan

The star and creator of Fat Swan, Trevor Ashley met with me during the week at the Brisbane Powerhouse and revealed the creative process behind Fat Swan and the message it holds for our audiences.

Since his debut show Showqueen when he was just 23, Ashley has been dubbed Australia’s hardest theatre worker. His long time pal and collaborator, the talented Phil Scott gave him the idea to do ‘something’ with the hyped movie Black Swan and thus Fat Swan was born.

Their collaboration has been long and varied.  Fat Swan actually came into fruition after a phone call from Scott saying “I’ve just seen Black Swan, you’ve got to see it and we need to do something with this…”.

The concept of the pantomime musical was born and nutted out over one night with Scott.

“The gestation period for me is the longest part”, says Ashley, “sometimes I’ll think of great things while talking it out with other people and quickly write it on my phone…”

Trevor Ashley surely is one for taking risks and saying yes to things and then working out how to do it. He reveals Fat Swan was sold on just his iconic picture and no script to the famous Spiegel Tent in Melbourne in which Fat Swan made as its debut performance.

Ashley has such a warm and friendly demeanor and shares with us the three top qualities he believes you need to have long jevady in the entertainment career:

1. Resilience

“You can never stop and say ok well I’ve done that entertainment thing… I always have about three projects in the air at one time”.

2. Self-Awareness

“Knowing from a realistic viewpoint where you stand and position yourself in the industry.  You do this by knowing what people enjoy watching you for…”

3. Work Ethic

“One phone call is usually all it takes to find out what you need to know about anyone in the industry”.

Just weeks after Fat Swan completes it’s Brisbane season at the Powerhouse, Ashley will launch his next show – trAnnie – at the Sydney Opera House in December. (For lovers of the musical Annie you will love the piss-take of a girl growing up in the Sutherland Shire orphanage… but that’s another story!)

Fat Swan plays at the powerhouse this November 14-17 after a season in Melbourne at the Arts Centre 26 September until Saturday 6 October.

Join Trevor Ashley as Natalie Portly, the body dysmorphic ballerina, Genevieve Lemon (Billy Elliott), Brendan Moar (TV’s The Renovators) and Lisa Adams (Jersey Boys) together with a fabulous live band and see why this has been nominated for a spot at this years Helpmann awards for the Best Male Actor in a Musical category.

If you know what’s good for your funny bone, get your tickets NOW to see Fat Swan at the Powerhouse. I can’t wait to laugh out loud with Ashley as he takes us from the ballet studio to dealing with a psychotic mother and growing from a naïve little Natalie Portly a more experienced woman of the world.

And the message he has for the audience”there is no message…sometimes all you want to do when you go to the theatre is have a bloody good time…”

And that’s exactly what you will get.

When: September 26 – October 6, 2012Where: Fairfax Studio, Arts Centre Melbourne TICKETS:

When: November 14-17 2012Where: Powerhouse Brisbane

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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