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Emerging Young Actors from Greater Western Sydney bring their new work to the stage

Q Theatre’s hallmark project, Originate returns to The Joan to celebrate its tenth anniversary.

Selected from a competitive application process, four pre-professional and emerging artists from Greater Western Sydney (aged 18+ and within the first five years of their practice), including Stephanie Laarakkers, Josephine Lee, Terence Nguyen and Jony Teperski, are set to take the stage this month with their new work, The Eternal Quest to Make Yourself Happy (Or Die Trying).

Directed by Shy Magsalin, with dramaturgy by Rowan Bate, this enchanting, funny and heartfelt production takes you on a theatrical journey across different eras and continents.

When characters Van, Aisling and Lucy are forced to choose between the lives they dream of or conforming to what’s expected of them, they seek comfort by immersing themselves in the legendary film, Magna Dedito: The Great Surrender. Will the magic of cinema help them to slay their personal demons and seize their destinies?

The Eternal Quest to Make Yourself Happy (Or Die Trying) is the culmination of Q Theatre’s Originate, a six-month theatre training program. Throughout this program, the Originate ensemble have had the opportunity to work with esteemed industry professionals including Anthony Brandon Wong (known for his roles in The Matrix, Little Fish, Queen of Oz and coaching Delta Goodrem and Magda Szubanski), Felicity Jurd (The Drover’s Wife, Doctor Doctor and voice coach for Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga) and the Q Theatre team to devise and bring this show to life.

Don’t miss your opportunity to see the next generation of actors showcase their talents live on stage for three shows only, on 26 & 27 July. Enhance your theatrical experience and join the Originate ensemble for a free post-show Q&A on Saturday 27 July at 3:30pm to gain an exclusive insight into their experience of the Originate program and the process they used to devise the show.


For over 60 years, Q Theatre has been bringing theatre to the people, championing Western Sydney artists, stories and communities and creating access to opportunities to learn, create, perform and participate.


Dates & Times:
Friday 26 July at 7:30pm
Saturday 27 July at 2pm & 7:30pm

Saturday 27 July at 3:30pm

Ticket Prices:
Standard $35, Concession $25

Free, bookings essential

Suitable for: Ages Ages 15+. This production contains coarse language and drug use.
Duration: 75 minutes (No interval).
Venue: Joan Sutherland Performing Arts Centre, 597 High Street, Penrith.

Click Here for More Information and Bookings


After completing the Adult Actors Beginners Course at Sydney Theatre School, Stephanie landed a role in the ensemble of The Appleton Ladies Potato Race (Arts Theatre Cronulla). Since then, she has undertaken voice and dialect lessons at the Actors Pulse drama classes at the Arts Theatre Cronulla. Stephanie has been taking singing lessons for the past four years and violin lessons for six months and is currently studying Level 3 Improvisation at Improv Theatre Sydney. She says that Originate 2024 is the “best acting course I have ever taken”. She is sad that the program is nearing the end but is excited for the final performances and to continue to put all the new skills she has learnt into practice as she pursues her career in the performing arts.

Josephine Lee is an actor, theatre and audio producer, director and videographer and director who aspires to combine their passion of theatre, film and science within their storytelling. They aim to create thought-provoking works that speak to the hearts of diverse communities in Australia and to enhance science communication. Their acting credits include Boom (Slanted Theatre), Attempts On Her Life (Montague Basement), As You Like It (Sport for Jove Theatre Company), Julius Caesar (Little Spirits Theatre Company), The Glass Menagerie (Sydney University Dramatic Society), Girl Band (New Ghosts Theatre Company), Shakeflix and A Time of Change (Sport for Jove Second Age Project). Their directing credits include My Lord, The Queen, Is Dead (Sydney University Dramatic Society), Nostalgia (Sydney University Dramatic Society) and they have been an assistant director for Atlantic (New Theatre) and As You Like It (Sport for Jove Theatre Company).

Terence Nguyen is a proud Vietnamese-Australian artist based in Western Sydney’s Cabramatta. His passion for acting began in 2022 with television and film. He is currently expanding his artistic repertoire by immersing himself in theatre work. Terence’s career highlights include TV series, The Last of the Cross, which streamed on Paramount+, and rom-com film, Anyone but You. Recently, he co-devised and starred in PYT Fairfield’s production of Tuân’s Party. Outside of acting he works as a professional events host and master of ceremonies for weddings and hosts trivia nights.

Watching The Matrix was Jony’s ‘unplugged’ moment. Its dystopian depiction served as an analogy; he realised acting was the gateway to his purpose. It was the seed that had Jony set on making the fantasy of the big screen a reality. Under L.A. acting coach Jo Kelly, Jony has been involved in screen roles including Home & Away, and Thor: Love and Thunder. Recently turning to theatre, Jony has played in Titanic – Diamond of Dreams and The Book of Everything (Richmond Players). Jony has a rich Australian-European heritage, including Macedonian, Polish, Slovakian and Hungarian.



Shy Magsalin is the Co-Creative Director of Q Theatre and has an arts practice spanning over 20 years in theatre-making, performing, physical dramaturgy and intimacy direction. She is also the founder and Artistic Director of Ninefold, a theatre group committed to examining rigorous performance-making and pedagogy. Through Q Theatre, Shy is dedicated to creating more opportunities for emerging Western Sydney artists to train and work locally.


Rowan is a theatre practitioner, director and Co-Creative Director of Q Theatre. A graduate of Theatre Nepean and the Australian Film Television and Radio School (AFTRS), he has directed works for Q Theatre, Australian Theatre for Young People (ATYP), Arbour Theatre Company, as well as independently. He is also practising dramaturgy working with some of Sydney’s best independent and emerging playwrights. Rowan has worked extensively in youth arts creating and delivering artistic programs that connect young people with theatre in inspiring ways. An advocate for the transformative power of drama in education contexts, he has driven innovative programs that promote the use of creative pedagogies in classrooms and has spoken at theatre and education conferences locally and overseas about the benefits of embedding arts-focussed learning across the curriculum.

Click Here for More Information and Bookings

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Illustration by Meiying Saw @ragingyoghurt.artroom
Shy Magsalin: Photo by Lauren O Photography
Rowan Bate: Photo by Joel Burrows
Josephine Lee: Photo by Matt Thrum
Terence Nguyen: Photo by Anna Kučera
Jony Teperski: Photo by Rebecca Hitch