Meet The Actor – The Secrets of Carmichael Manor

The Secrets of Carmichael Manor is coming to Sydney on the 13th of October, and here we take the time to chat with the Actor, Director and Author of the show Kate Jirelle in our Meet The Actor Series.

Let’s turn our spotlights onto Kate and delve deeper into her and The Secrets of Carmichael Manor production.

Meet the Actor

About Kate

What do you enjoy most about acting?

What I most enjoy about acting is the ability it gives you to explore yourself and the world around you. Whenever I take on a new character, I learn so much about myself and what I’m capable of, but it also makes me consider other perspectives and other walks of life that I’ve never considered before.

Do you believe talent or training is more important to an actor?

I firmly believe it takes both, but I don’t think you need to get an acting degree necessarily. I never had the opportunity to attend a traditional drama school, but I have gained so much by training at places like Sydney Acting Studio, which offers regular and ongoing training with incredible teachers who always support, encourage, and challenge me to do my best. Whether you go to a traditional drama school or not, it’s essential to continuously work on your craft as an actor with people who inspire you and constantly push you to do your best work.

Which acting technique do you think is the best for you?

The foundation of my training has been the Meisner Technique, which is definitely the technique I would say is my foundation. However, as an actor, I’m constantly learning and always looking for new tools to add to the toolbox.

What do you believe is the most challenging aspect of being an actor?

To be an actor, you need to have a thick skin. When you become an actor, you hear “No” a lot more times than “Yes”, and it can be easy to let that get to you. However, I find that if you surround yourself with the right people who understand you, inspire you and can lift you up in the low times, it makes the more challenging times easier to navigate.

What is your favourite film or theatre production?

This changes for me almost daily, but I’m always a sucker for stories that can have me laughing one minute and crying the next. In terms of movies, Jo Jo Rabbit is definitely up there in the favourites list. In the category of plays, The Things I Know To Be True by Andrew Bovell is also a firm favourite. Regarding TV, I’ve recently hopped onto the Ted Lasso bandwagon and am very much enjoying the ride. 

About The Secrets of Carmichael Manor

How did the writing of this show come about?

Having acted in several Dark Stories productions before, I couldn’t help but jump at the chance when I was asked to write one. All Dark Stories shows have a great tone that often mixes history, mystery and humour, which is an absolute ball to write. I also couldn’t resist the opportunity to write for such a great venue as Experiment Farm Cottage. You can’t help but be inspired when it comes to such a beautiful historical building.

What sort of person is going to love this show?

I like to describe this show as Doctor Who meets Knives Out. So, if you like either one of those, I think you’ll love The Secrets of Carmichael Manor.

Who should not come see this show?

People who aren’t prepared to be dragged into the action. No, really – this show is very interactive, and the audience very much becomes part of the show. But, if being involved in the story is your cup of tea, you will enjoy this show.

Who in the show is most like their character?

I must say it’s Ben Durham playing the role of Father Patrick. The instant he walked into the audition, we knew we’d found our Father Pat – and that was even before he started delivering the scene.

Who’s the least?

Definitely, Gary Leonard Belshaw, who plays the role of George Carmichael. I’ve known Gary for a while now, and he is genuinely one of the most kind-hearted and generous performers I’ve met. In comparison, George is a very boorish and ill-tempered character, and it always amazes me how well Gary manages to slip into that energy when it is the very opposite of who he is. Talk about great acting!

Kate Jirelle can be seen in The Secrets of Carmichael Manor, which only runs for two weekends, from the 13th to the 15th of October and the 20th to 22nd of October, in the historic space of Experiment Farm Cottage, in Parramatta.

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