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Exactly half-way through my three-year degree studying acting at the Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts and I don’t think a day has past where I don’t think about my TheatreiNQ family. Quite frankly, I miss them… I miss them very much.

Just a couple weeks ago I had reached a point in my training where I started to question everything and anything I was doing over the last year and half here in Perth. It was a thought spiral around the whole of idea of choosing this path, loving it, hating it, unsure if I was doing enough in my training in order to get the best out of it. I had caught myself in a stressful state indeed and I just needed to ring the people that could understand this better than anyone. Hearing the voices of Terri or Brendan pick up that phone is like an immediate grounding. This particular call, a few weeks ago, I caught Brendan. After more than an hour of talking to this great mentor of mine, I felt like everything became clearer and Brendan did that in the most simple and reassuring way. It basically went along the lines of…

“Are you doing the work?” – yes

“Are you having fun?” – yes

“Are you happy?” – Yes

"Well then forget about the rest of it and just enjoy “failing gloriously” in the environment you’re in."

Now I don’t know if Brendan could tell this on the other line, but the relief that came over me had me holding back tears whilst trying to continue our delightful conversation and after hanging up, it was like my entire head space had changed, a fire had returned. These moments are definitely a part of the highs and lows that come at studying at WAAPA. Classes 8:30- 5:30, Monday to Friday really does keep you on your toes and, as expressed above, can get overwhelming at times. But in low days I find solace at the thought: there is nothing I would rather be doing, a question that Terri and Brendan have always taught me to answer truthfully. Sometimes you just need to be reminded of that, talk it through with Terri and Brendan and everything is once again A-OK.

I have been fortunate enough to continue my training over in Perth and it has been an absolute adventure. However, because the base of knowledge that was provided to me at TheatreiNQ, the friendships made in the Bridge Project and the ensemble was so extensive, it took me the majority of first year to accept the new surroundings and teachings provided for me at WAAPA. I found it hard to loosen the grip I had for my TheatreiNQ family and recognise the new opportunities that were right in front of me. I didn’t want to let go of home after two years of being company apprentice, but alas, we all knew it was time to go into the world, move away from home and start something new. Nowadays I find myself finishing the first semester of my second year at WAAPA where I have continued to build myself as an actor until I get the chance to come back, banging down Terri and Brendan’s door, yelling “LET ME BACK IN!” Just kidding.

The past eighteen months here in Perth have been a very enriching experience. Just recently, my second-year ensemble and I did a production of KING LEAR where I stepped into the role of Lear’s Fool two weeks before opening due to an ensemble member’s sickness. I found myself frantically drawing from all the knowledge and experience I had been given doing Shakespeare Under the Star’s the past four years, and in the end the Fool is a role I am quite proud to have achieved. During this time, I also dipped my toes into some directing, putting on scenes from Patricia Cornelius’s play SHIT with two of my fellow ensemble members. We created a piece for WAAPA’s Studio B, an actor-led initiative that allows the students who have smaller roles in the current productions to artistically busy themselves by producing creative pieces that they wish to present to the acting cohort at the end of the term. This was a great passion project for me, and it allowed me to bring together all the skills of acting, stage craft, movement, and music that I have been trained in at both TheatreiNQ and WAAPA.

Doing that piece was another great reminder of why we choose to be actors. There is so much satisfaction in being up on that stage, telling a story you want people to hear, with people who are also there for the same reasons. It’s harmonising, when it works, and a lot of the time working with new ensemble members who are also in training, it does not. Which is not what you come to expect after working with TheatreiNQ. Terri has a talent for harmonising all her ensemble members, new and old, on that stage which is a skill I also one day hope to master. I have felt like I’ve had a lot to offer in this new journey at WAAPA thanks to the training of Terri and Brendan. The Bridge Project really is such a diverse program that not only trains you to be a great actor, but more importantly a great ensemble member. It teaches you to interpret the triumphs and fails of the people around you as well as your own. Which, in my opinion, has been the best way to grow in this craft and to connect with my WAAPA ensemble.

Without a doubt there will be many more highs and lows to come, but for now, that’s all from me so far on this journey. I’m having a fabulous time over in Perth, riding the roller coaster of full-time training, making new friends, missing TheatreiNQ but having the comfort of being able to call up those legends when needed.

Miss you all,

Lots of love, always

Elyse x

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