Mount Gambier’s Maddy Murdoch will begin a promising career in cabaret at the Festival Centre tonight.

IMG_5954The 18-year-old is part of Adelaide Cabaret Festival’s Class of Cabaret, a program where 27 young performers are mentored over six months, resulting in a showcase of their skills at Space Theatre.

Having performed since she was a child, Maddy has come a long way to be in the festival, and that includes the five-hour drive she undertakes to get to rehearsals.

From joining the choir, to winning the lead role in her high school production, Maddy is paving her way to musical theatre success.

“I’m not really sure how it happened but I’ve been singing since I was a little girl. I drove my parents and brothers mad! When I got to primary school, it was compulsory to join the choir for the first year and then I chose to join again for the second and third year because I absolutely loved it,” she says.

“I got my first taste of getting a solo in that. I was terrified because that was my first big performance by myself but from there, I fell in love with performing, being on the stage and singing. It continued when I went to high school. Down there [in Mount Gambier], we don’t have many musicals so I only got to do one during my high school period and I got the lead role as Lola in Copacabana. That was a lot of fun and I absolutely fell in love with musical theatre.”

With her love affair with musical theatre blossoming, Class of Cabaret has been the perfect match for Maddy.

“Class of Cabaret is kind of like musical theatre because you can tell a story and sing, and incorporate the two into a performance. It’s really cool,” she says.

To ensure the young performers were ready to take the stage during Adelaide Cabaret Festival, the 27 participants were taken away on a cabaret bootcamp, which Maddy says was a very worthwhile experience.

IMG_5973“We went up in the Adelaide Hills for four days and it was intense workshopping with our mentors, who are absolutely fantastic. It was four solid days of having our brains filled with new information, and we got such awesome advice,” she says.

“At the end, my notepad had about 20 pages of notes! We were getting up at 6am and getting to bed at 10pm and maybe three hours of that whole period was rest time. The rest of it was workshops, singing, performing and developing our patter. It was an amazing experience and as a team, our cabaret cast bonded.”

Born and raised in the beautiful south of the state, the year 12 student from Mount Gambier High School says her school and community have been supportive of her performance goals.

“I am studying music at school. I did year 11 drama but I chose not to do it in year 12 because I wanted to do languages as well. To replace that, I’m doing a program called ‘Ovation’ in our local area, which is an acting program where we have professional actors who coach us. We have classes every Friday night. So I do music at school and acting outside of school,” she says.

“The school had been in Class of Cabaret in previous years so I’d heard about it. The girls who did it last year raved about it and said how wonderful it was so I’d always been interested in doing it. Then my music teacher asked me if I was interested in auditioning and I was keen to give it a go and throw myself into something new. When I found out I was accepted, I was thrilled.”

Through the six month Class of Cabaret program, Maddy has learned a lot, made new friends and has secured a gig opening for cabaret star, Michael Griffiths.

“I’ve learned so much,” she says. “What has meant the most to me, is on bootcamp, I’ve never felt so much like I’ve belonged. We’re all like-minded and we’re all there for the same reasons and we all have the same passions. We would just break out in song and everyone would just feed off each other. It was so nice. You don’t get that in an isolated area like Mount Gambier. Having that kind of group you bond with so quickly is so special.”

IMG_5955“In July, Michael Griffiths is coming down to Mount Gambier. I did a workshop with him and from that workshop, he chose four people to open for him in his show in July and I am one of those lucky people! I’m so thrilled about it. I’m doing the same cabaret show I’ll be doing for Class of Cabaret but I’ll also be doing one other song. That’s still undecided so there’s a little bit of development to do there,” Maddy says.

A genuine, warm and motivated young performer, Maddy Murdoch has a bright future ahead of her.

With her sights set on a big dream, the young cabaret singer will keep working until she reaches her ultimate goal, and we hope she gets there.

“At this point I’m not sure where I will go but at the end of the year, I’d like to audition for musical theatre courses around the country, so that’s pretty nerve-wracking and exciting. I’m thinking of applying for the Graduate Program at the Adelaide Festival Centre. That would be pretty cool. But it’s all a bit of an unknown,” she says.

“My ultimate goal is West End. I’d love to end up on the West End. That’s the ultimate dream!”

You can get tickets to Class of Cabaret through Adelaide Cabaret Festival and tickets are available now for Michael Griffiths’ Adolescent in Mt Gambier at Pfeiler Plumb N Gas or call 87252435.

You can check out Maddy’s YouTube channel here.

By Libby Parker

Photo supplied