Julia Zemiro is a Patron of the Green Room Award Association, so it’s not surprising that she returns to host the 2017 Green Room Awards. Hosting an awards night is not an easy gig, but Zemiro has established herself as one of our country’s finest hosts, both in the entertainment industry and the corporate world.

She can still recall her very first hosting gig, when she was invited to host an event at Sydney’s Belvoir St Theatre.

“I remember it being quite an exhilarating experience to go out onto that Belvoir stage. We didn’t have a full house, but just going out – it’s quite a different thing – to have to go out, create a mood, run the evening and take control,” Zemiro reflected.

Julia Zemiro then went to VCA and instead concentrated on acting. Her only hosting gigs were speeches at 21st birthday parties and weddings.

Undoubtedly, it was landing the role hosting Rock Wiz that propelled Julia Zemiro into the spotlight. This lead to hosting the Green Room Awards and, ultimately, being invited to be a Patron of the Green Room Award Association.

It’s a far cry from Zemiro’s first introduction to the Green Room Awards when she was nominated for an award.

“The first time I was nominated I said, ‘What’s a Green Room Award?’ … This was way before Rock Wiz. I didn’t have much of a profile then,” explained Zemiro.

I asked Zemiro what she considered were the keys to a successful hosting gig.

“It’s never necessary to get up and do twenty minutes of stand up to keep people happy, because I’m not a stand up and I haven’t done that hard road of collecting credible material you’ve tried and tested over time,” Zemiro responded.

“My job – and I learnt this in doing the corporate gigs – is to just keep the night moving and keep it flowing. It’s keeping the night moving, with a smile.”

Zemiro says she takes a gentle approach, “If someone is going over time, it’s that gentle thing of going, ‘Oooh, we really are going over time!’ – so just come in gently and give them a little nudge, and everyone understands.”

While other guests are enjoying the entertainment and proceedings throughout the night, Julia Zemiro will be side stage, on high alert, watching.

“It’s really about being very on the ball – it’s a long gig – it’s not like we’re only on for an hour and then I tune out. I feel like you have to be side stage in a sprint position, ready to pounce to go on.”

She is well aware of what could happen if the host is not paying attention.

“I think you know what happens when people do that, don’t you – they get the wrong envelope and then they stuff up this moment that’s supposed to be Moonlight’s!” Zemiro said, referring to the incident at the recent Academy Awards.

“So you can’t be side of stage, getting selfies with Emma Stone. Although, Emma Stone, won’t be there – I can give you that exclusive,” laughed Zemiro.

Julia Zemiro believes this attentiveness is why she is asked back to host corporate events.

“The Green Rooms are asking me back because they know me and they love me and we’re lovely friends. Corporate stuff, they don’t always know me, but they ask me back because you have to have the patience to hang out for the full four hours and see what happens. That’s where I get my material from – from something that was happening in the first hour, that I can come back and refer to in the third hour. And I think the audience appreciates that, because they are thinking, ‘Oh, you are interested, you are paying attention to this.’.”

Julia Zemiro headshot large

Julia Zemiro is prepared for anything to happen on the night.

“I’ve done other awards where everything has gone wrong. Everything! So that’s even more fun, because you actually have to come in and save it. As an improv-er, that part of it is actually what interests me. Nothing’s locked in. There’s a structure and you work within the structure.”

The Green Room Awards, however, are different, according to Zemiro.

“I know a lot of the people there. They’re being rewarded for things I’ve seen and understand and love.”

For some of the nominees, their work is not part of a mainstream production. Instead, they may have been part of a co-op and either being paid below award rates or have given up much of their own time for rehearsals. Zemiro explained being nominated for an award means these performers have been recognised and their work is valued.

It’s why she believes the Green Room Awards are so important.

“I think they’re vital.”

The 2017 Green Room Awards will take place on Monday 27th March at the Comedy Theatre in Melbourne’s East End Theatre District.

The dress code for the event is “fabulous”.

“Whatever that means to you, let’s go fabulous! Don’t just turn up in black and jeans,” commented Zemiro, although admits she needs to be both fabulous and practical.

“If you can’t move in your outfit, you can’t host in your outfit!” Zemiro laughed.

The awards night is open to the general public but will not be aired on television. Julia Zemiro says that gives her the freedom to say whatever she likes (within reason!) and not be worried what an audience might think.

“We can say what we want, because this is for us and it’s about us.”

It’s going to be a fabulous night.

For more details: http://www.greenroom.org.au/Main/Index.aspx