The Life of an Amateur-Producer
The raised-eyebrow and the “That’s a bit ambitious” comments have only pushed Kyle Stephens closer to fulfilling his dreams in theatre.
The 19-year-old amateur-producer and performer’s love for theatre and the stage began when he saw the Moscow Circus at 8-years-old.
“Once I was older, I started investigating and looking into how it all happened,” he said. “I said then, ‘I want to be able to do this’.”
Since then, Stephens has worked to build his experience as a performer and producer for his shows.
“I’m part of the technical staff at Kings Street Theatre,” he said, adding that he has helped orchestrate numerous high school musicals.
While Stephens sees himself on stage in the future, it is his forte for lighting design that plants him behind the scenes as producer.
A 2011 graduate of Newtown Performing Arts High School, he admits that was where his passion for lighting and sound was invoked.
“I was taught […] nothing just happens,” he said.
“There’s always a process that creates the magic.”
Stephens broke into the business earlier this year with his own theatre company, Kore Productions.
Stephens knew creating his own company was the only choice.
“The only way I was going to be able to put on the productions I wanted to see done was by making my own theatre company,” he said.
Stephens sees himself splitting his time between producing and acting in future Kore Productions shows.
“I definitely want to play a part, but I wouldn’t be the main role,” he said, joking that, as the company owner, it would be biased.
When not working on a show, Stephens studies classical music at the Australian Institute of Music.
“I am a singer. And I study [opera] singing.”
Kore Productions recently finished its first show, Keating! The Musical, this year.
Stephens called the first production “a big success”.
While Stephens felt very much the amateur, he realised first-hand experience is always the best approach.
“The most important way to learn is on the job,” he said.
“You have to make mistakes in order to learn something.”
Kore Productions is managed by Stephens with the help of two co-directors, Samara Kinney and Alvin Mak.
“Those two are like the glue that holds me together!” Stephens laughed.
Samara Kinney, co-director of Kore Productions, believes Stephens has the attitude and drive to succeed in his dreams.
“Young people with ambitions should be encouraged,” she said.
“Someone who has a dream of what they want to do should never be shot down.”
However Ms Kinney says Stephens must maintain a support system if the company is to survive.
“A company can’t function if the person at the top isn’t rational enough to make the right decisions.”
Regardless, Ms Kinney is sure there is a place for Kore Productions in the theatre world.
“Amateur theatre is a seriously underestimated situation.”
“[But] eventually Kore Productions will be a company that springboards from amateur into professional.”
Stephens would love to extend his success to other theatre-enthusiasts who join Kore Productions.
“I’d love to have a group of regulars who audition,” he said.
“We could turn them into ‘Kore’ famous.”
Stephens hasn’t let negativity keep him from achieving his goals.
A number of people were unsure the teenager could pull Keating! The Musical off successfully.
“I went out to prove them wrong,” he said.
“And I have.”
While Stephens has a long journey before him, no-one can doubt the young man will continue to make his way up in the theatre business.