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“I’ve just been cast as Heather in American Idiot the Musical. It’s a hit Broadway musical written by Billie Joe Armstrong from Green Day, and it features all their music. The show opens next week in Brisbane and will run until March at this stage. Fingers crossed it gets a run in Sydney after that. Rehearsals have been incredible. We’re a small, tight-knit cast, and it has been really cool to work with some heroes of mine, like Chris Cheney the lead singer from The Living End, and Phil Jamieson the lead singer from Grinspoon. I grew up listening to their music and never in my wildest dreams did I think I’d end up in a musical with them. The audition was an interesting experience. There were three rounds – the first was an online vocal audition, then a live vocal and dance call, which I was successful in. Then I was actually on my honeymoon when the final rounds took place in Brisbane, so I had to send through another audition tape all the way from South Africa. I keep laughing at that whole experience because I was standing in this thatched-roof house in the middle of a game reserve, and my husband was outside watching a pack of baboons just across the lawn while I was belting out Green Day tunes. Just another day in the life of performer! And I always knew it would be my life. As a teenager I moved to Sydney to attend Newtown Highschool of the Performing Arts, and then I studied at Brent Street. Now I live on the Lower North Shore and love it. It’s such a wonderful community to be a part of. I also have my own vocal studio in Northbridge, so when I’m not in a show I’m teaching. I have a beautiful group of students who keep me inspired and keep me researching new songs or shows. They understand when I go off to a job I bring back so much to pass on to them. Like with Wicked, which I just finished up on at the Riverside Theatre in Parramatta. I played the role of Elphaba, the green witch – which was truly a dream come true. I have never felt cooler than when I was up in the air belting out Defying Gravity to a sold-out theatre.” ASHLEIGH BARLOW, ACTOR AND VOCAL COACH.