Naomi Price has suddenly become one of Australia’s leading ladies since springing to national attention in 2015, reaching the semi-finals of The Voice and placing 6th overall on Team Ricky. What an incredible ride she has had over the last few year: from performances as twerk superstar Miley Cyrus in Wrecking Ball (an original production written for her production house), she won a Green Room Award for her performance as Fay in the original cast of Ladies In Black, and will be performing in the Australian premiere of Beautiful: The Carole King Musical. And that’s just half of it!
Her well known show Rumour Has It is back touring Australia, and we spoke to Price ahead of her tour, the journey she has been on, creating a production house and more.
“Taking part in The Voice definitely changed me as a performer; it gave me confidence and self-belief, and afforded me the opportunity to push myself further than I had before” she said, on appearing in season four of the show.
“I remember the long days and the early starts, and thinking there was no way I could smash out Defying Gravity at 9am in the morning, but you get on with it because it’s your job, and you surprise yourself with your own determination. The Voice was a great training ground for my professional stamina, because touring your own work is extremely demanding! Thankfully, we work with some of our best friends so our main opportunities to socialise are post-show in someone’s hotel room with a nice bottle of red” she said.
Her background has covered it all: from performances in Kiss Me Kate (Opera Queensland) and The Tragedy of King Richard III (La Boite Theatre Company), to international and TV performances, and two award winning cabarets.
“I love cabaret and theatre equally. No one likes to choose their favourite child!” she laughed.
“Performing cabaret has taught me to be more fearless as a performer, to not be afraid of the audience, and to embrace the moment. You have to be so present when you invite an open conversation with your audience – at any moment during the show, anything could happen! You can never switch off, otherwise you’ll undoubtedly be in for a surprise!”
“From that, I think I’ve become a more present actor. I’ve always lived and breathed the characters I’ve inhabited, but anyone who has done a long run of shows will know that it’s easy to get comfortable. As a result of being on my toes doing cabaret the past four years, I think my theatre work has become more engaged” Price said.
She originated the role of Fay in Ladies in Black, as part of the workshop in Brisbane as the show was developing, through to the first season, winning a number of awards.
“I had a fantastic time on the show! Being in the room and watching Tim, Carolyn, Simon and Guy massage and develop the material was quite a masterclass. I had wanted to work with Simon Phillips for over a decade, so when I finally got the opportunity, I was beside myself. He is, without a doubt, the best director I have ever worked with and every day in the rehearsal room was an absolute delight” she said.
“Working on a new musical is exciting and terrifying all at once. I loved the experience of bringing a character to life for the first time – knowing you’re the first person to ever embody the role was so wonderful, and I really fell in love with Fay. I loved that the women in the story not only found their happily-ever-after but they also found each other. I believe the real love story was between Fay and Patty; two lonely and unhappy women who journey through to find fulfilment. It was a lovely show to be part of, and I was very proud of the accolades and awards we won”.
The story behind her currently touring show, Rumour Has It, came together after many wines and began as a piss take of Adele.
“I didn’t really know much about her, other than that I loved her songs and knew that she had a Cockney accent. Once we started researching her life, we fell in love with her. She’s everyone’s best friend. I love how personable and approachable she is, which is so refreshing in a world full of vapid celebrity. Once we realised we were telling the story about a girl from humble beginnings who rose to the top through hard work and true talent, the show just came together quite naturally,” she said.
Soon they take the show to Western Australia for the first time, and to one of Price’s favourite venues, His Majesty’s Theatre in Perth.
“I always love performing this show. The music is incredible, the story is heartwarming and funny, and the character of Adele is so loveable. After more than four years on the road, it’s still a dream to take to the stage as Adele night after night”.
Naomi Price is pretty happy being other people on stage, and being herself off stage, with no plans for original music any time soon, but she has created a production company, The Little Red Company with co-creator Adam Brunes.
“We created the company because we wanted people to take us seriously. I don’t think either of us realised how much it would grow in such a short space of time. Adam and I have been able to flex our creative muscles but also become a leading independent production house. I think the future for us will hold large-scale tour promotion and production, more new work, and most importantly: continuing professional employment for Australian artists” she said.
The rest of her year isn’t slowing down at all, as her tour de force of preforming continues across Australia.
“We have 12 dates left on our Rumour Has It national tour, including two weeks in Western Australia, and we are busy writing a new show called Lady Beatle which debuts in Brisbane on May 25 and then tours to Adelaide, Noosa and Lismore. We will also head overseas again with Rumour Has It, and then in August I will move to Sydney to commence rehearsals as part of the original Australian cast of Beautiful: The Carole King Musical. At some point before Christmas, I also hope to have a nap.”
Wishing her the best of luck, health and hopefully a spot of rest during her wonderful year ahead, catch this talented performer as Adele in Rumour Has It in Melbourne on May 5 and 6, before heading to Albury, Perth and around Western Australia.