Suburban theaters play the most important role of all

I was lucky enough to attend the Sydney Theater Awards this week. The literal part of me was a bit disappointed when it turned out that no theaters or stages were nominated for the awards, only the players in and on them. As well as the arrangers, choreographers, composers, costume designers, directors, lighting designers, producers, set designers and sound designers.

I would give the theater award to the Hayes Theater in Potts Point. I’ve maintained my unbeatable run last at a party and just discovered this gem last year. I’m not a professional theater critic, so I can’t comment on my friend Darren’s maxim that good theater must smell like feet, and it’s perhaps best not to take the olfactory route as they are directing urine citywhich was awarded 4 stars herald critic John Shand.

A production of Bonnie and Clyde at the Hayes Theatre.

A production of Bonnie and Clyde at the Hayes Theatre.Credit:Grant Leslie

This wonderful institution plays a significant role in the career development of the next generation in all of the professions listed above. In an industry where people really need a break to break a leg, Hayes plays a crucial role in nurturing talented newcomers alongside veteran professionals. It’s a crucial role because, as I’ve found, it’s not about wearing tights, talking while holding a skull, and the rest is just profit. You must be able to sing, wave your arms, write music, create sounds, create lights, and set a stage to make Potts Point feel like West Side New York without people bumping into the furniture. You have to be able to identify talent that can make a character make us believe, and then round up all the talent you’ve gathered to hold it together, dress it up, and solve all the production issues of budgets, people, and props. It’s a huge undertaking, with the added pressure of making it look easy to the audience.

Noel Coward is famous for his career advice to Ms Worthington not to put her daughter on the stage. It’s a precarious job. The presence of so many artists makes it an exciting place to work, but as Lifetime Achievement Award winner and producer John Robertson half-jokingly pointed out, it has its share of difficult people. The combination of artistic sensibility and a precarious work life will do that to a person.


Fortunately, the Hayes Theater ignores Coward’s advice and positively encourages people to go to the theater. They think it’s nice work if you can get it. Last year they actually staged a production of the George and Ira musical Good job if you can get it, which won several Sydney Theater Awards. Deserved because it was such a brilliant production. Speaking to a cast member this week, I was disappointed to hear that main stage theaters have yet to commit to bringing this to a wider audience the company deserves.

Theater work is vulnerable work. Careers depend not only on the public playing their part as audiences, but also on entire companies and productions, and therefore careers can depend on the whims of both independent and large stage theaters as well as sponsors. For this reason, the Hayes should not least be recognized for their career development.

dr Jim Bright, FAPS, owns Bright and Associates, a career management consultancy, and is a director of Ed Tech startup Become Education. Email Follow him on Twitter @DrJimBright.

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Brian Lowry

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