Happy New Year everyone! Can you believe another year is done and dusted? Thank you all so so much for sharing the journey with me! It has been a big year with many ups and downs and your support through it all has been an absolute blessing. So here goes the year that was in anticipation of the year that is all ready to be!!! Re-join me for the journey the short-way round as I look back on 2015!
So 2015 here we go – and if you want to hit the hyperlinks on anything you can find additional content from throughout the year (and if I’ve done it right this page should stay open)!
I feel I should break tradition and not run this year chronologically, because for me the highlight is too fantastic to not place first. 29 July: Standing on the set of Lés Mis, looking out at the audience seating of the Queen’s Theatre in London, was by far the most incredible moment for me as a performer that I pocketed from 2015. In fact the entirety of that trip to London, performing amongst the very talented individuals that joined me for West End on Demand, was by far one of the best experiences of the year. Learning from trained and working West End professionals and seeing some of the best theatre the world has to offer is something a performer can take so much from and it was both a privilege and an honour to be amongst it. Not to mention having the wonderful experience of sharing the adventure with my partner in crime, the very talented Mr Shane Webb.
Speaking of training, in November I levelled up my AMEB [Australian Musical Examinations Board] qualifications – achieving an honours for my Grade 7 Singing for Leisure certificate. For all you performers out there I highly recommend doing some exams in the new year – they really push you to polish up your skills. Within the AMEB syllabus there is Singing (Classical), Singing for Leisure (Musical Theatre, Jazz, Pop, Contemporary) and brand spanking new for 2016 is the Musical Theatre Singing syllabus which I can’t wait to get my hands on. Here’s a picture I instagrammed (that’s a word right?) of me with my Dad after my exam – and because I know you all want to see it as much as I do its packaged with one of my favourite photos of all time from one of my first AMEB exams ever.
Then of course there is this very website! It seems hard to believe that the grand opening for AmyWinner.com was only in May! Along with the re-vamping of my Facebook page (which now has over 300 followers), and proper presence on twitter, instagram and pinterest, 2015 was a huge year for finding a presence in the big cyber world. And tied in with that of course is the launching of my blog which has been viewed around the world (in 21 countries my summary says!) and by multiple users to help support and encourage upcoming and young performers. Check out my most received entries here on intervals, choosing an audition song and getting started when there are big things ahead (perfect to start a new year) which made it into my top 5 for 2015.
It was also the launch of my new Community Corkboard series to help unite the community theatre groups of Brisbane. This is still in it’s first moments but it has been a result of working with many connected and driven creatives in Brisbane and has been a wonderful project to get off the ground. I look forward to seeing where it heads in the new year. Then there was the awesome opportunity of working with TheatrePeople as a journalist briefly in October and being interviewed by an Idiot On Stage in August. And I was a finalist for a thing! Do you all remember the Actors Process Scholarship back in May? I was one of 10 finalists out of hundreds of applicants which was a really cool experience. And receiving so much support from all of you was absolutely fantastic! Thank you so much all of you. All in all, an awesome year of branching out and trying new things creatively.
And then my year on the stage! I have been lucky to be involved in multiple concerts and events this year. To list them: The Quizzical Theatre trivia night [May]; The Gallipoli Concert in the Masonic Hall of Brisbane [April]; That’s Entertainment with Queensland Musical Theatre [October]; Music Theatre Jam 4 with TheatreMakers [December]; and of course returning to the wonderful Forest Lake Community Carols to end off the year. It was also great being involved in some really cool smaller performances such as the Freaky Friday open mic night and trying out some fun stuff away from the big stage like recording backing vocals in studio. Such a variety of different music and styles and such fantastic performances to be involved in. I also had the opportunity to meet the premier of Queensland when she opened the Forest Lake Carols (A carols night of which I have now sung for 16 years!) and to sing in one of the most beautiful halls in Brisbane city for 100 years since Gallipoli. It was truly wonderful to work with my old friends at Queensland Musical Theatre again on some old favourites and to bring Dorothy back albeit briefly for the trivia night Quizzical theatre. Always a delight taking performances such as That’s Entertainment to Aveo where shows are always tremendously received. And it was so fantastic making some new friends at TheatreMakers for Music Theatre Jam which is a profit-share concert with some less known and truly fun pieces that I wouldn’t normally get to sing.
And those are the moments you saw… Beautiful moments which I am so grateful for and which I am so glad to have shared with you all. But that is not all there was. What you didn’t see are some of the things I am perhaps the most proud of… Those things that don’t end up making it to the resume or the photos album but are never forgotten.
I worked hard at increasing my skill set – religiously attending vocal training lessons, trying my best to train up my dance skills (heading into spaces alone and working for hours) and picking up something new in learning some tap dance! I also worked really hard on my sight reading, piano and music theory and learnt a lot from all the articles I wrote for you guys so thank you for keeping me on my toes!
I prepared for and put my heart into several auditions, some of which I put half a year of preparation into, and walked out the other side sometimes very close to but not quite where I had hoped to be. Yes for some of those I was the girl they were looking for. But more often than not in 2015 I wasn’t. I’ve been the girl they nearly chose after pushing through multiple rounds which can be heartbreaking and I’ve been the girl that was never even considered despite putting everything into my preparation which can shatter you even more. But I am proud to say I was always the girl that gave it her all. In some cases the result was not at all what I expected from walking out of those audition rooms (whether it be progressing onward or otherwise) and dealing with that and finding a way to see your value while appreciating when it is turned away is a lesson in itself. BUT for anyone who ever ever says that the effort you put into those auditions is a waste you must truly truly think again. For I don’t feel a moment of that was wasted. Never give up hope. Learn from those moments. Take that preparation with you for next time. It can hurt and it can make you doubt everything but the next time you are stronger for it if you take it in your stride. The things you learn from those rejections are so important and they do not define you – they make you better.
And then there is the other tough part of being a performer in that getting through that door is sometimes harder than not – that is, things do not always go as planned. Sometimes things fall through. Sometimes you sign on for one thing and end up with something else thrown in your lap. Sometimes there are elements that just seem so unfair when you feel you are giving above and beyond what should be expected. If nothing else, 2015 was about facing those tests.
I have stood and held my ground as best I could as walls crumbled around me on projects I put my everything into. I have seen the people who have tried to help me break with them and land with me in pieces. I have seen the energy that everyone puts into those projects burning into darkness and have been so so proud of the talented and capable individuals who have been there beside me, around me and in some cases under my guidance; and the strength and perseverance of everyone involved in those projects has been incredible. I have seen all this knowing that the energy and the heart ache and the hours will never end up on paper and I would like to thank each and every person who – like me – will remember them for the incredible experiences that they were and could have been. I have been knocked down, as have my comrades, in ways that seemed so unfair and unwarranted, but I have also stood tall and resolute and helped myself and those around me to their feet as they have helped me to mine. And looking back down the barrel at the year that was (and sometimes wasn’t) I can appreciate that there is a resilience that comes from surviving what no one sees and in making the difficult decisions for yourself and those you are responsible for. These are lessons that only come from being tested and for that alone I am grateful for what has been thrown at me.
So 2015 thank you. You have been a year of lessons whether I was ready for them or not. You have been a year of self discovery and reflection. Wow you have been a hard year. But you know what else you have been? A great year. You have been a year of adventure and of learning. You have been a year of finding a way to do what I love no matter what. And you have been a year of realising that I can take what you had to throw at me and use it to become an even better version of myself. And performers and friends, everyone needs those years. Sometimes you need to be broken down to really put yourself together. Or at the very least, come out the other side a little unsure but knowing you’re that bit closer to somewhere important.
And it isn’t until I read back through all of that year that was and wasn’t, that I see how incredibly valuable it was. So many achievements and so many lessons. Thanks for the ride 2015 and a huge thank you to all the people who rode the wave with me – my family (special mention to my Shane, my parents and my brother), my dear friends (you know who you are!) and all of you my supporters who remind me each day that there is always more exciting things to come!!! 2016 I am so excited to see what you have to offer!!! HAPPY NEW YEAR! Bring on sweet ’16! Much love – Amy xx