Interview with Kate Simpson, UNE Theatre & Performance Student
Blog and interview by the lovely Kate Ryan, Work300 student.
College living is both exciting and nerve-racking. How about adding the responsibilities of three committee roles to that, and you have yourself a certified college resident! For UNE student Kate Simpson, living at college has challenged her perspectives for communal living and has given her the opportunities to excel at her hobbies and passions. Acting and studying may be big jobs to balance, but Kate has learned to balance her passions and studies, giving her the freedom to work hard; play hard.
I got chatting with Kate the other day and this is what I found out about her…
What did you choose to study at UNE?
I love to learn; my passion is theatre and everything that comes along with it. My ideal situation has always been to study the art form that has given me so much confidence to truly express myself in all fascists of my existence.
I chose to study at UNE for the course it was offering in theatre studies. I viewed the outline of the program and was very interested. I could see myself loving the training I would receive. I also genuinely wanted to experience a college lifestyle for my younger years and make connections to build friendships to last a lifetime.
What would be your dream job once you graduate?
To work professionally as an actor in the industry, I would love to land a role in a theatre companies’ production and go into a role in a television series following that. Being ‘discovered’ is the ultimate goal.
You reside in college, how do you find this?
My college is my home! Earle Page is where I truly have made some of the best memories and friendships. Over my 2 years here at Earle Page, attending formal dinners has been a highlight for me personally. As well as experiencing the overall system that is living in a community as great as Earle Page is such a special thing to me that I will forever remember as some of my greatest years.
We love to hear this! The UNE Residential system works really hard to ensure you feel at home (away from home) when you’re here.
Do you have any special hobbies or interests outside of studying?
Outside of studying I enjoy socialising with my friends at college, I enjoy exercising and eating well, as well as choreographing dances and practicing my singing.
Which college groups or committees have you been involved in?
I have been fortunate enough to be voted in by my college onto the Junior Common Room’s committee as our cultural (SFK) representative and convenor as well as Musical Director. All 3 positions have been this year (2020) and I have loved the leadership role I’ve been given, and will continue to strive to further my leadership position in the coming years.
I couldn’t pick just one moment for one of the committees, I love them all equally and have a good hand in each.
Tell us about your role with the Musical…
I was selected to be the Earle Page College Musical Director for 2020. I was very humbled and proud of the opportunity my college has given me with this role, however, was a little nervous about it. I’ve never directed anything before or had my creative vison on a stage, the prospect was daunting yet very exciting. As long as I do the musical the creative justice it deserves and give everyone involved a positive and fun experience, I’ll be a happy girl!
How has COVID affected your UNE experience?
The fast-paced changes COVID carried definitely were a shock to the system. With my positions at college having so much grey area due to leaving I was left in a bit of a pickle. However, through the support of my Head of College, committees I am part of, and the sheer Earle Page spirit, things looked up really fast. Musical rehearsals were being done via zoom to keep on track, SFK event entries were still being worked on and the JCR were running weekly challenges to keep the residents still active in the online community to return some normalcy. Which was great!
You’re an amazing performer – can you tell us a little about your background?
😊 Thank you! I have been performing since I could walk and talk. I have a heavy dance background spreading across 15 years ranging from Physical Culture to studio dancing that fortunately lead me to dancing on television and at numerous eisteddfods at elite levels. I began taking acting more seriously when I hit high school and became an active member of the local theatre company, taking part in multiple musicals. My HSC monologue was selected for onstage as well as featured in the Mid North Coast Theatre Bites Festival in 2017. Singing for me has always been the most nerve-racking, however extensive lessons spanning over years with another local company has led me to landing a lead role in Earle Page’s musical in 2019.
My passion for all 3 creative outlets is undeniable and is ultimately what I want to do with my life. It won’t be easy, but I strive for greatness and truly hope it becomes a reality one day.
What have you found to be the most difficult part of directing a musical and being involved in other committees whilst studying?
I have found time management to be the most difficult! All three committees demand attention and constant flows of communications and work so does my university work. Finding a balance has been hard and sustaining it while being at home was challenging. Now living back at college, I have found my rhythm again and it has been much better to manage since developing a schedule and sticking to it weekly.
You juggle a lot, what advice can you share with others about balancing work, study, and passions?
My advice would be to make sure you’re doing what you want to do. If you don’t love it, you’re not likely to want to put the effort in and you’ll just waste your time. Surround yourself with like-minded people who also share similar goals, you will all thrive and feed off each other. It’s also super okay to take a break, in order to not burn out. I take a lazy day once a fortnight to just relax in pyjamas and watch Netflix with a facemask and there is absolutely nothing wrong with that! Plus, just make sure your happy – if you’re not happy then actively try to find or do stuff or people that make you feel happy.
What would you say to aspiring future students that might also like to be involved in musical theatre?
I would say, take every opportunity seriously – you never know who knows who in this industry. Always put your best foot forwards and do your research before an audition. Never be afraid to ask for help and always seek ways in developing new skills, the more you have the more employable you will be. Don’t give up! For every no, you get, remind yourself that there is always another audition, take any feedback, apply it, and just keep striving for your end goal.
Getting involved with local acting groups, the EPC Musical Society and other clubs and societies on campus has not only given Kate a creative outlet, but has challenged her creatively, giving her the tools and skills to pursue a professional career after her studies have finished.
Thanks so much for taking time out of your busy schedule to chat with us Kate, its been a pleasure!
If you want to get involved with cultural activities or want to know more about the extracurricular
clubs and societies offered at UNE, we would advise you to get involved and check it out today!