The world of Music Theatre has witnessed several generations of performers tread the coveted boards of Australian theatre and lays claim to some amazing talent, many of whom have experienced international success. Currently, we are blessed with having five Performing Arts institutions of note, that been churning out over 100 new professional performers each year. Unfortunately, while there seems to be no slowing down in terms of the scale talent being developed and ready for work, the number of professional productions required to maintain this available workforce has not kept pace, resulting in a saturation of music theatre performers who find themselves unable to claim musical theatre as their main source of income.
It’s harder than before to get one foot into the audition room, let alone pick up a featured role and so it’s proving difficult for a new generation of performers to make their way to the front of the stage. That said however, the new “up and coming” generation is definitely not giving up without a fight and several productions have popped up across Australia, which specifically cater to this glut of talent. In response to the distinct lack of opportunity available for these performers, some of these productions have been written by young people, for young people. Even mega musicals such as the new Australian tour of Les Miserables have resisted the urge to cast more well known performers and have created more opportunities for our younger, fresh faced artists.
Enter from stage left, Emily Langridge, a graduate from the 2012 WAAPA class and a performer that has made absolute leaps and bounds in her already blossoming career. Brisbane born and bred, Emily studied at the Australian Dance Performance Institute before being accepted into the Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts in 2010.
Since graduation, Emily has been featured in Gypsy, Pirates of Penzance, both with the Production Company and also new Australian works such as Matthew Robinson’s Atlantis and most recently Playground, written by 2013 Short + Sweet winner, Nick Hedger. However, it was during the run of Gypsy that Emily’s career took an exhilarating turn when she was cast in the role of Cosette in the new Australian tour of Les Mis.
It was not always an assured road to success for Emily, who went through the same thought processes as many new graduates – A fear of constant rejection and the catch 22 situation of establishing a name for herself before being offered substantial roles. Emily differs from most in her position and constantly maintains a positive, yet realistic outlook. In her preparation, she places importance on knowing where she excels and maintains utmost confidence in those strengths. When asked about who inspires her, Emily argued that she is more inspired by people’s attitudes and work ethic than by their careers.
“I find Lucy Durack amazing, she is the kindest soul and so ridiculously hardworking… anyone can be well trained and have that natural talent, but if you’re a good person and good to other people that to me is the most inspiring.”
Being a recent graduate herself, Emily is the first to admit what a strange transitional time it can be moving from the safety of school into the brutal world of auditions and employment. Her advice to budding performers is that consistent training is absolutely paramount, and to keep up this rigor after graduation.
“In this industry, it is so easy to become weighed down by all the pressure and rejection so you have to stay motivated and focused; always remember why you began the path that you are on and constantly remind yourself why you started. When it comes to auditions, don’t take it personally because you’ll only end up feeling disappointed. “Auditions aren’t the crutch of your existence, life goes on.”
While dealing with rejection is important, she believes that the most important advice that she can offer is – “Be nice to everyone involved, because it is so much easier to get by if you’re kind.”
Looking to the future, Emily is featuring in DreamSong, a new musical written by Hugo Chiarella and Robert Tripolino as part of the Melbourne Comedy Festival and eagerly awaiting rehearsals for Les Miserables to start in May this year.