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Catching up with . . . . Shai Regan

Updated: Jul 2, 2023

Over 4 years ago, I finished up work on The Comedy of Errors and with my entire life packed up in the back of my very small car, I drove away from everything I had ever known to move to Melbourne. Did I have a plan? No. Did I have a job to go to? No. Did I want to leave the safety of my family and home that I had made with TheatreiNQ? No. But after several conversations with Terri and Brendan, many tears and a reluctancy that was holding me back, I knew I had to fly the nest and try something new. And to say it was the best decision of my life? That would be an understatement.

I landed in Melbourne with a drive I didn’t have before. So, I jumped into the unknown, and landed a spot in the Film and Televisions International Studio Acting to Screen program. Diving into a different acting style and working with some of Film and Televisions best was like a new world to me and I loved every minute of it. I went on to write, direct and film my very own short film, with a Sydney based film company that flew to Melbourne to do my little project. I got an agent, I left the agency, I auditioned, a lot and I shortly got a gig as a stage manager for Melbourne Shakespeare Company and went on to work with them for their 2020 season of Shakespeare in the park. I auditioned for a company and got my first touring gig doing Interactive Theatre across Australia, and I’ve been working consistently on and off ever since for the same company. And I also work a job full time that I love. So, between working shift work, and choosing when I can work and tour, I get to have the best of both worlds. I always said the one thing I wanted to do was tour and to experience that life, and now I can tick it off. Touring is like nothing else, and it’s also the most difficult thing I have done. The discipline you need when you’re on the road is like nothing else, and I credit mine to the years I spent training at TheatreiNQ. You self-manage rehearsals, you constantly change the shows to suit your audiences, the environment and the weather, you work with brand new actors from all over, all who take the characters on differently, it’s like nothing else and its taught me how to be a better actor. I fail gloriously now. I try anything and everything. I adapt. And it's so much fun.

Last September, I flew home for the first time in years, and I was so nervous. I had changed and grown up and I was nervous to see my Theatre family and fill them in about everything I had been doing. I wanted to make my mentors proud, and I would also meet the new generations of the Bridge Project and catch up with my fellow bridgees, all of which are killing it in their own ways. So, Terri and I decided to surprise everyone, and as I pulled up to the familiar park that I had spent so many years in doing shows and making memories, I was filled with a sense of belonging. They say there’s no place like home and I was home. Watching The Tempest, I was filled with pride for everyone involved. It was magical and it reminded me of where I had come from and where I was now. That’s not to say there hasn’t been rough times. Or times where I haven’t wanted to come home. There has and there will be many more times where I am homesick. I can’t wait to come home and work with TheatreiNQ again, but I’ll be coming home different. And I think that’s the point when you fly the nest. You go and you learn different things, you learn who you are, and you come home changed for the better.

So I write this, having just finished the Melbourne season of a stunning little interactive show called Tarot working again with the beautiful people at The Thousand and a new tour being pencilled in. I'm also working on a full length play that will be an ensemble based piece that I can't wait to finish and workshop. But I wouldn’t be doing any of this without Terri and Brendan and everything that the Bridge Project gave me. Terri, you are my inspiration. Thank you for taking a chance on me. I know that it wasn’t always easy, but you never gave up on me. Brendan, it’s because of you and your unwavering support that I am where I am. You have always told me that I could be something. And to my Bridgees, both past and present, I am so proud of each and every single one of you. You are all thriving, and I adore each of you and don’t forget to keep failing gloriously.

Lots of Love,

Shai xx

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