Thanks to Australians’ social distancing efforts and (for the most part) being COVID SAFE, we are at the point where performing arts venues can open once again, and host shows at or near full capacity. On the Gold Coast, the latest show to set the city abuzz is Mamma Mia! The Musical, currently being presented at The Star Casino by producer Matt Ward Entertainment.
This season is being held a few years after the musical’s national tour, which is where my interviewee Jayde Westaby originally hails from, transitioning from the role of Tanya to the lead role of Donna Sheridan.
As the season launched, I had an opportunity to pitch a few questions towards Ms Westaby. You can read a full transcript of the Q&A interview below:
What has your journey in the performing arts been like to get you here today? What have been your career highlights, favourite shows etc?
I think my journey in performing arts has been quite a smooth one with lots of hard work thrown in. Every lesson, audition and job I have done has led me to where I am today. I like the fact that I have been in work, out of work, got the job, lost the job, been ensemble, swing, cover, the role and appreciate them all for the unique things they have taught me. I think having a great work ethic is everything. I have loved so so many of the shows I have been lucky enough to perform in. A few that stand out would be Anita in West Side Story and of course tackling Donna now in Mamma Mia.
You are now well into the show season. How has it been going so far, and what have been some memorable moments so far?
Performing again in general has been a highlight. The rehearsal process was fast! But the creatives, cast and company were all up for the challenge and we went for it. Opening night was incredible with so many family and friends in the audience and of course being on stage with my partner Sean Mulligan and best mate Leah Howard.
COVID-19 had a tremendous impact on the performing arts industry during 2020. How did you keep yourself busy during the months the shows could not go on?
The last time I was on stage was February 2020 when the show I was in closed early due to Covid. It has been a strange time. I have tried to keep my mind, voice and body fit, healthy & ready for when I could get back on stage. I’m a very active person and never underestimate what it takes to perform in a musical 8 times a week. I have also really enjoyed spending more time with my son, that has been very special.
Hypothetically, with no limitations, let us say you were given the opportunity to fill another character’s shoes for one night… who would it be any why?
In Mamma Mia? Quite a boring answer I guess but I adored playing Tanya! She is so much fun and would definitely play her again for one more night.
What drew you to Mamma Mia! And made you audition for your role?
Mamma Mia is one of those shows that is known worldwide either through the Musical or the movie. And Donna is one of the parts in the industry that is a huge challenge. As a local to the Gold Coast, playing Donna at The Star opposite my partner was a wonderful opportunity I couldn’t turn down!
What is your favourite moment and favourite song in Mamma Mia!?
It changes all the time but right now it is getting to sing SOS opposite Sean Mulligan.
What advice do you have for those looking to follow in your footsteps and forge a career for themselves in the performing arts industry?
Work hard, believe in yourself, don’t be discouraged, keep learning & growing as a performer to be as versatile as you possibly can (i.e sing, dance AND act) have a good work ethic.
A huge thanks to Jayde Westaby and the team at M10 Collective for their time and effort in making this Q&A possible!
Interested in seeing Mamma Mia! The Musical on the Gold Coast? Tickets are still available for the season which will run until 11 July 2021. For more information and to book tickets, click HERE.