Kurt Kansley is living the dream.
He’s just finished a successful season of Evita at the Sydney Opera House in the role of Che, the Argentinian revolutionary, performing with Tina Arena and under the direction of Harold ‘Hal’ Prince.
Kurt Kansley was born in South Africa but moved to Melbourne with his family when he was just a young boy.
“I was one of many immigrants growing up in the eastern suburbs of Melbourne,” said Kansley.
Melbourne is where his family is, and very much still “home” to Kansley, but he now likes to consider he has two homes: Melbourne and London. He tries to share his time between both cities.
Kansley has carved out an extensive career in the theatre industry spanning more than twenty years, but considers the role of Che in Evita to be his “big break”.
“It’s a great role. It’s a dream come true!” exclaimed Kansley.
Kurt Kansley remembers always being interested in performance. As a young child he would write, direct and perform for his family – so much that his mum got him involved in a drama group and organised piano lessons to further fuel his passion for performance.
He can still recall the first professional show he attended.
“It was Phantom of the Opera at the Princess Theatre and I remember thinking, ‘Wow, I want to do that!'”
After completing some training, Kansley landed his first professional show in the cast of Showboat in Sydney – also under the direction of Hal Prince.
“I’ve come full circle!” he laughed.
More shows followed, but it was being cast in the original Australian production of Disney’s Lion King that launched his international career. Kansley was the first Australian to be relocated to London to continue working on the show. This incredible opportunity opened up future West End work for Kansley.
“I’m forever grateful to Disney,” commented Kansley.
Apart from being a performer, Kurt Kansley is also a composer and together with fellow performer Oliver Lidert, have written and produced their own work, with a new musical titled Confessions slated for the West End next year.
While this is an exciting prospect, Kansley hopes to see more new works opening in Australia in the future – new Australian works written by Australian composers. Kansley talked about the current opportunity Eddie Perfect has had in the US, writing for both King Kong and Beetlejuice. The international success of Priscilla Queen of the Desert and The Boy From Oz highlights Australia’s proven ability to write musicals. In addition, Australian performers are renowned for their high work ethic.
“We have so many more stories to tell. I’d love to write more Australian works here!” said Kansley.
Before Evita opens in Melbourne next month, audiences will have the opportunity to hear Kurt Kansley perform one of his original songs tonight at the final Home Grown event for 2018. Hopefully it will be just the start of many more performances of his original works back home.
Home Grown’s one night only concert of original Australian work is at Chapel Off Chapel tonight at 7pm. For tickets: https://chapeloffchapel.com.au/show/home-grown-november-edition/
For more information about Home Grown: http://www.homegrownaus.com