Saved by the Bel - Coming Home

I stepped out of the cinema the other day to an email reminding me that I had promised Terri I would write a post for this blog. Very interesting timing considering the film I had just watched was Kenneth Branagh’s Belfast. Not surprising though, because anyone who knows Terri I’m sure will agree with me in saying that she has ESP – no doubt a contributing factor to why she’s such a brilliant director. If you’ve seen Belfast, or at least the trailer, then you might appreciate this coincidence. And if you haven’t yet seen it, definitely try to - it’s a beautiful film and well worth the ticket!


The last time that I was in ‘The Ville’ was 2017. While in town I was fortunate enough to catch the closing night of TheatreiNQ’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream. I still vividly remember Brendan’s Puck – his high level of energy, extreme freedom of play and the way he so uniquely navigated the set.


My family moved to the Sunshine Coast not long after I left Townsville at the beginning of 2014. So, the Sunny Coast is home for me now, in between jobs. It’s very nice being back in Queensland after many years in Melbourne. As a lot of people did, I made the move back home to the Sunny Coast in mid 2020. I got out of VIC just in time and managed to make it over the QLD border less than an hour before the hardcore rules kicked in.


It’s been a packed journey since starting with The Bridge Project in 2012. Still very grateful for the timing of its launch, as I’d just finished high school and was looking how to continue acting training whilst in Townsville. Luckily Brittany Santariga told me about it when I was selling shoes one day - a job I know very well.


So, after eight years of: ….selling shoes, doing indie theatre in Melbourne, auditioning for whatever I could, not getting into the big drama schools (after 4 attempts), having a heap of fun in the bigger cities, continuing to train/study acting, a few short films and all-nighters driving Uber… I landed a play at Queensland Theatre during Covid in 2020...



The play was a two-hander called Mouthpiece, performed at the Playhouse theatre at QPAC and directed by the incredible Lee Lewis. 2021 was very kind to me with work. I started the year playing George Gibbs in Our Town with Queensland Theatre. Later in the year I scored a role in a Netflix film and then went straight onto filming a role in the latest series of Mystery Road for the ABC.


One of the highlights of the play I landed, Mouthpiece, was seeing Terri, Brendan and Arminelle, when they flew down for closing night. I want to thank you three for teaching me what you know and taking onboard a 17-year-old kid who didn’t think to wear shoes to his audition.


Terri – thank you for setting and showing me a high standard of work ethic and discipline. And for teaching me to wear shoes to rehearsals and auditions.


Brendan – thanks for being an inspiration with your performances. I remember you telling us that it’s great to idolise Al Pacino, but that you also need to have a hero that you can touch, one that you know. You were mine. I still have strong memories of your final soliloquy in Macbeth and your fish monologue from When the Rain Stops Falling.


Arminelle – Thanks for truly seeing and understanding me. You’ve backed me 100% since the very beginning. Thanks for hanging out and for being a great friend and teacher.



Jayden

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