In this series of blogs, we take some time out to interview our wonderful Q Theatre team and Studio Q tutors.
Kate Bobis is an artist, teacher and arts worker. She is currently one one of our Q Theatre Project Officers and teaches our Studio Q Access Ensemble drama classes for ages 18+ living with disability on Friday mornings and afternoons.
Until a few years ago when she moved closer to the city, Kate lived in Emu Plains. She said that in her heart, she “will always be a Penrith City girl”.
Hi Kate. Can you please tell us about your creative/performance practice and how did you get your start?
I am a contemporary performance maker and deviser. I love costumes, props and bright glittering spectacles. I completed a double degree of a Bachelor Fine Arts and a Bachelor of Arts with Honours in Theatre and Performance at the UNSW. I have also trained with PYT Fairfield (2018 – 2020), and PACT Centre for Emerging Artists (2014). My passion for theatre started with Studio Q and all the wonderful inspiring people I have worked with along the way.
How did you first hear about Q Theatre and Studio Q? How did you first get involved? How else are you engaged with Q theatre/Studio Q?
When I was about 15 I wanted to try a drama class. I tried a class at a place that didn’t turn out to be the right fit before joining Studio Q and I fell in love. For the first class, students who wanted to be part of Ignite or Accelerate had to complete an audition. Everyone brought a monologue and performed it on the Q Theatre stage. I had learnt mine but got too scared in the moment and just ended up reading off the script.
The three years I was with Studio Q I had a different teaching artist every year which was such a valuable thing as they had very different artistic practices. I learnt so much, my confidence grew, and my knowledge of theatre expanded. I still pass on a lot of the things I learnt to the students that I teach today.
Once I got too old for the class I didn’t stay away for long, I worked alongside Amber Virtue as a teaching assistant for years while at university until I was ready to take on a class of my own. I have been involved in every program I could. In 2015, I was in the Q Theatre’s Young Artist Ensemble (now called Originate). In 2018, I had a summer studio residency at The Gallery and a Q Theatre Lab residency. In 2021 and 2022, I was a director for the Annual Youth Theatre Festival (now known as The Riff: Youth Theatre Festival), working with Springwood High School. Now I continue to teach as well as being on the other side of things in the office as a Project Officer to assist with all Q Theatre programs.
Tell us about the class(es) you’re teaching. What is the best or most exciting thing about your class(es)? What’s your most memorable experience from teaching at Studio Q?
It makes me feel old, but I have known some of our students since they were in Studio Q’s Starting Out classes that are now in Ignite and Accelerate. I have loved watching them grow up and develop their skills, personality and confidence. Even if they might not pursue theatre as a career, I can see that our classes have a positive impact on their personal development and are just a super fun place to be silly and make friends.
Do you have any advice/words of wisdom for young artists looking to pursue a career in the performing arts?
Work hard and be open to every opportunity, you never know where the path might lead.
Anything coming up in your creative practice or teaching that we should keep an eye out on?
Along with the Q Theatre I also work in Disability Support at Cerebral Palsy Alliance. At the beginning of March we performed our show, Please Can We Do Something Different? It showcases the lives of six performers with disability, who are all wheelchair users and asks audiences to imagine a world that was completely accessible. It had a such a positive reception that we are being sponsored for an encore performance on the 15 July.
Image: Studio Q Showcase 2022. Photo by Christopher Hayles