Julia Hales is probably the most dedicated Home and Away fan you’ll likely meet. She’s watched every episode since it’s first airing in 1988 and her breadth of knowledge is boundless. This she relishes in her autographical piece ‘You Know We Belong Together’.
Like all of us Julia Hales has dreams. And with the depth of experience this actress has accomplished in her 37 years you’d think that they had been realised. But Julia has two more to fulfil…. Fall in love by the time she is 40, and to act in Home and Away.
From the beginning there is a genuine warmth about Julia that simply invites you into her beautiful life. A journey that has seen struggle, heartache but also a life of immense joy and love. And it is through these experiences that we are welcomed, with open arms, not just by Julia but her huge circle of wildly talented friends.
What is so special about this production is that it is honest, thoughtful storytelling, that allows us somewhere that we very rarely get to see….. because Julia and her friends all have Down Syndrome.
But this is not just a piece on the trials of living with Down syndrome….this is a celebration of life’s achievements. Set in the Home and Away diner, we are taken on a life journey through interviews, old photos, dance, awesome audience participation and even some palm reading thrown in. Through this we meet some outstanding and hilarious individuals, who share with us their deepest thoughts and experiences on life, love, ability and equality. It is wickedly funny, incredibly thought provoking and agonisingly poignant.
All the performers do a wonderful job in bringing this highly entertaining piece to a hugely appreciative and receptive crowd. But it is the strength of Julia that strings the narrative together. There is a genuine connection that Julia has when speaking to the audience, something that can be so very difficult to achieve. There were a couple of ‘heart in mouth’ moments as what seemingly felt like a loss of direction, but Julia admirably pulls out all the stops and gets the momentum back on track.
A special mention too to one of the stage management team for the evening, on stage throughout, acting as diner staff, silently keeping the show on target. Fantastic unobtrusive stage management. Couple this with great production values, the videography and film making are very well done and delicate, thoughtful direction from Clare Watson and you leave this production beaming from the joy on that stage.
I really hope that this piece has the opportunity for another season as it really is a wonderful heartwarming show, bursting with talent by individuals who love to perform.
Home and Away would be onto a winner offering Julia a role and here’s hoping one day they do!
Lead Artist: Julia Hales Performers: Tina Fielding, Patrick Carter, Joshua Bott & Lauren Marchbank
Director: Clare Watson Writer/ Associate Director: Finn O’Branagain Set and Costume Designer: Tyler Hill Lighting Designer: Joe Lui Sound Designer: Rachael Dease Movement Director / ASM: Laura Boynes Video Designer: Michael Carmody Dramaturg: Deborah May Film Maker: Lincoln Mackinnon Stage Manager: Jessica Rogerson Producer Manager: Stewart Campbell
Associate Producer DADAA: Simone Flavelle Producer Perth Festival: Anna Reece
Involved in theatre for over 25 years, David has a long establishment with the community / independent scene and a dabbling into professional.
In Perth he has been seen in The World Goes Round; The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas, Chess, Closer than Ever, Le Mis , Hamlet, Rabbit Hole (Finley Award for Best Actor) and most recently A Man of No Importance where he also won the Finley Award for Best Actor in a Musical.
In Melbourne, David appeared in A Chorus Line, Footloose, Les Mis, Scarlet Pimpernel, Floyd Collins, Is there Life after High School, Spring Awakening and Assassins earning a MTGV Best Supporting Actor nomination.
He co-founded the award winning Independent Theatre Company, Act-o-Matic 3000, appearing in Italian American Reconciliation, The Return, Devil Inside and The Laramie Project which won the Green Room Award for best Independent Production.
David has also directed a number of award winning Musicals and Plays throughout his theatre life, including Baby, ‘Night Mother, The Rise and Fall of Little Voice, Sordid Lives and Cabaret which won the Finley Award for Best Musical.
Professionally, he had the opportunity to work with Bell Shakespeare Company and Barking Gecko with their Actors at Work Shakespeare productions.