Central Queensland Conservatorium of Music musical theatre student William Hinz is one of the lead performers in the upcoming production of Chess.
Central Queensland Conservatorium of Music musical theatre student William Hinz is one of the lead performers in the upcoming production of Chess. Tony Martin

Love of theatre being nurtured

LIVING on Groote Eylandt, 50km off the mainland of the Northern Territory, Brianna Gibbins was isolated from her love.

It was while living there for almost a year that she auditioned via video to study at the Central Queensland Conservatorium of Music in Mackay on the CQ University Campus, to take a chance on becoming a star.

"I was living on that small island and I had to get out of there," Miss Gibbins said.

"There was no music on the island. I remember saying, 'take me to somewhere with musical theatre'.

"I saw the palm trees in the town and I loved it. That is what attracted me to Mackay, it was very tropical."

Out of all the places in the country, Miss Gibbins chose to study a Bachelor of Musical Theatre in Mackay and she was not the only one.

William Hinz and Molly Rossetto are other students who have taken the risk to follow their hearts and become the best performers they can be.

While Mackay booms with the mining industry and agricultural sectors, The Central Queensland Conservatorium of Music is home to many talented students hailing from across the country, sharing their passion with the region.

Next month the theatre students will dazzle audiences with their performance of Chess and for the next three weeks will be immersed in intense rehearsals directed by industry professional John Wregg.

"I graduated from school a while ago, so I am a mature-age student," Miss Gibbins joked.

"I heard about the course when I graduated high school in 1999 and it has always had a good reputation.

"My parents brought me up with musical theatre and dancing.

"I always wanted to do this course, but it took me ten years to get here; I wanted to travel, work and live my life - I never thought university was for me.

"I also worked in the fitness industry and I lived in London for two years.

"I went to West End shows all the time, where I would say to myself 'I should be doing that'."

Ask William Hinz if he is a dancer, he is quick to answer, 'God no'.

"My acting would be stronger than my dancing, I would never call myself a dancer."

Mr Hinz travelled north from Brisbane last year after trying to gain a spot at Griffith University.

"I had set my mind on Griffith.

"But now looking back and the opportunities I have been given up here, I think I am very lucky.

"I think if I hadn't come here, I wouldn't be getting the level of training, attention and one-on-one time with the lecturers and directors."

Mr Hinz said when it came to stage performances you couldn't understand it unless you had experienced it.

"The answer is corny and clichéd but it is when you are out on the stage and emotionally or mentally you do something that is so perfect and you realise that.

"And you want to do that all the time. You want to please the audience, ignite some emotional reaction and have the ability to entertain."

He said when it came to training he ideally would have loved to be working but admitted that his vocal ability might not be mature enough for some shows.

'I would love to work on a cruise ship

because I am still learning and earning money.

"But ideally it is about saving money and applying for scholarships in America."

Mr Hinz said he realised that he might not be completely developed as a performer when he graduates.

"It was a risk, but I would never be happy working in anything else. But this is what I am good at, I like to think I am without sounding arrogant or cocky.

"I can see myself doing this for the rest of my life. I may never get in a show, I am just happy training. Getting into a show is an added bonus.

"It is a risk, but I am very happy I took it."

Miss Gibbins said many of the students were used to long days and even longer hours.

She said there was a lot of pressure, including the pressure of being your own worst critic.

"We are not catty with each other, we are not clawing each others' eyes out," Mr Hinz said.

"But when you have got everybody knowing their stuff and there is one person who doesn't and there is not as much effort going in as others - that can be frustrating.

He said when people didn't get cast in the show they worked backstage, which gave students valuable behind-the-scenes experience even though they were not on stage.

"That is the most important thing to learn - a thick skin," he said.

"We are our own worst critics," Miss Gibbins said.

"I think if you were content with every performance you wouldn't get anywhere - you are not growing as a performer," Mr Hinz said.


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