David Irvine

Entertainer David Irvine joined me for a Coffee Break to chat about his current role in Stage Art’s production of Titanic The Musical, studying in Ballarat and his career to date.

David01You’re a cast member in “Titanic – The Musical” which will be currently being staged at Chapel off Chapel in Melbourne until 24 July.  Can you tell me a bit about the show?
The musical Titanic surrounds the event of the tragic 1912 sinking of the White Star Luxury Cruise liner of the same name. However, the show itself is more about the class structures of the time and the breakdown of those constructions when the faced with imminent death. The truly haunting part of this musical is the realisation that these are all real people who lost their lives on that tragic day.

What character do you play in “Titanic The Musical”?
Frederick Barrett who is a leading firemen on the Titanic.

Who else is involvement in “Titanic The Musical”?
We have a cast of 20 performers to tell this tale. Other Ballarat graduates include Molly Fisher plays third class passenger Kate, Christopher Southhall First Class Steward, Henry Etches and Harley Morrison playing Second Class Passenger Edgar Beane. The rest of the cast include the likes of Don Winsor, Greta Sherriff, Matthew Hyde, Samuel Bennett, Joel Granger, Alex Thompson, Matilda Moran, Rosabelle Elliot, Adam Dimartino, Johnathon Sebastian, Tim Lancaster, Paul Batey, James Brown, Barry Mitchell, Casey Withoos and Amanda Stevenson.

Has this role bought you any challenges as an actor?
For me, this role has brought so much out of me as an actor. In the past I have played roles that require less physically prowess. This role demands it and also the show being on a titled stage takes its toll on the body so I have had to learn how to maintain a show through injury.

Did you enjoy studying at Federation University Arts Academy in Ballarat?
My time at Ballarat is in my eyes irreplaceable. But it don’t believe it matters as much where you study as what you do and set out to achieve while you are there. I was fortunate enough to learn from a truck load of teachers including people who are now my peers and colleagues but what you take for granted is that the university is a space in time where you can fully commit yourself to your art.


What made you decide you want to study music theatre?
I have been surrounded by music theatre my whole life but going to after school theatre classes back home in Brisbane, is where I found my love for it. I had to make a decision when I was 16 if I wanted to pursue a career in soccer or music and for some reason I was drawn to music.

Are they any actors who you’re influenced by?
I’m not sure where I have people whom I can firmly say I am influenced by them in my acting, but there are definitely some performers whom I respect their craft. I would probably say that Jake Gyllenhaal is someone who I love to watch on screen and Simon Gleeson someone who is able to achieve great acting feats and have incredible vocal ability.

You worked on a project Franz Stampfl: A Life Unexpected. Are able to tell me what that was about?
That was a small project I worked on earlier on in the year. It’s a documentary on the man whom many athletes owe their success to. Franz Stampfl. I had a small bit part in it where I played Chris Chataway, one of the men involved the race of the first sub-four minute mile.

Are you able to tell me more about performing with Bobby Fox in his show “Four Seasons In One Night”?
Bobby Fox’s credits stand a testament to his talent. Over the past year I have learnt so much about stage craft and workmanship and hopefully it will put me in good position to be prepared for when Jersey Boys returns to our shores.

As part of your study at Federation University Arts Academy you had to present a cabaret show. Can you tell me more about your devised cabaret “Do You Think I’m Dirty”?
Haha. “Do You Think I’m Dirty” was the title for the whole year’s level cabaret as a whole. My show however was far from dirty. I decided to move left of the field and delve back into to tradition cabaret style, which isn’t typically comedic. My show was titled “Orpheus Decending” and was just that, the greek myth of the man who could resist temptation to win back his one true love. Punished with a life of solidarity.

It became more of a melodramatic piece than I had anticipated by was relatively happy with the end result and it’s something that I have definitely thought about revisiting since leaving university.

While living in Ballarat, what were some of the other productions you starred in?
Ironically I was cast in mostly Italian roles during my time at Ballarat. Which surprises most when they meet me due to my very British features. I played Vittorio Vidal in Sweet Charity, Anthony Coelho in Working the musical and also Guido Contini in Nine.


What was your involvement in “Connect Four”- a new musical?
This is a project that was very close to my heart. The writer and composer of the show Alanya Bridge, was the first person to teach me Ballet. I have done two productions/workshops of the show with Alanya, playing the character of Ben both times. She is a really talented composer who has just been given the chance to move over to Broadway to study further, which is an amazing opportunity for her. The original workshop was funded by Harvest Rain and ended up being a really big commitment for me due to having to fly up every weekend to Brisbane for rehearsals. But we don’t do it for the money.

Do you have any hobbies?
I am pretty into my fitness, I spend a lot of time at the gym and am currently studying to become a personal trainer on the side.

What is your favourite food?
Definitely a sucker for pizza.

Do you have a favourite movie?
I love Donnie Darko I always recommend it to my friends if they haven’t seen it.

What is your idea of a good holiday?
I think that idea has changed somewhat since when I was a kid. Now, it probably means going somewhere I haven’t been before that is very different culturally.

What is the last album you listened to?
Probably Lior- Autumn Flow. He is probably my favourite Australian artist. I usually listen to music when I need to escape or to relax so he’s great for that.

If you were stranded on a desert island, what items would you take with you?
Oh god! I would have think practically and take a pot and fire starters and probably seeds to grow food and a chicken. I cannot live without eggs.


Is there anything which you don’t you leave home without?  
My house keys? Ha, actually I do that all the time. Currently probably a hat or a beanie because my hair is very long, as I’ve had to keep it lengthy for this production of TITANIC.

What’s next for David  Irvine?
I have a few little side projects that I am looking to get up and running over the next six months, but other than that just finishing my Personal Training Course and doing all the audition rounds with everyone else.

David Irvine is currently performing in Stage Art’s production of Titanic The Musical which is being staged at Chapel off Chapel until 24 July. For further information about StageArt Australia, visit the website here.

Images supplied. Photos by Belinda Strodder.


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