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Meet the Team: Heidi discusses her highlights

Friday 10 May 2019


We interviewed Team Leader - Programming & Engagement, Heidi Irvine, to discover her most memorable moments.

When did you start working at the FAC and why?
I started in October 2017. I had been working for a theatre company in Queensland and after living for the past 13 or so years in Brisbane, I knew I was ready for a new challenge. I also knew I wanted to be closer to my family (who all live on the Peninsula). My position was advertised just before my second nephew was born and I interviewed when he was about a month old. I took it as a sign!

Your favourite show that you have worked on or seen here?
Gosh – it’s like having to choose your favourite child. ‘Cockfight’ by The Farm in 2018 was a definite highlight for me. I have long admired The Farm as a contemporary company and I was very proud for us to present a work like that.

Best memory?
I think working on our launch event is always enjoyable and exciting. We spend so much time shaping a season and making it work on paper – to finally see it shared with our audience and to hear them get excited about it – it’s such a buzz. There are many misconceptions about working in the Arts, but one thing that is true, is that there are some really great personalities in our offices everyday. We work very hard but also know when it’s time to have a laugh or joke. It’s good for the soul and hopefully shows in the work we present and how we welcome you to the centre.

Which shows this season are you looking forward to?
Again – don’t make me choose…! ‘Lady Beatle’ and ‘Robot Song’ are two shows in the main theatre are going to be highlights for me, but I am very keen to share our Cube 37 Series. ‘Swansong’ which I saw at Theatre Works in 2018 and spent the rest of the night in awe at the astounding skill of Andre de Vanny… and ‘The Travelling Sisters’! Laura, Lucy and Ell are three amazing Melbourne based female comedians – big hearted, generously ridiculous and so much fun.
Tall Tales but True?
Goodness – I don’t know if I have been here long enough to weave a great tale… but get back to me in about 2 years and I reckon I can rustle up something better! One thing I do know is that the best view of Frankston is right from the top of the Arts Centre… it’s paradise!

Best thing about Frankston
Aside from us?! In a very short period of time I have become really proud of Frankston. I know there’s a lot of people out there who love to bag out Frankston, but I think it is a cool little city. Things like The Big Picture Fest showcases some of the best street art I’ve seen and every few weeks I find another little gem as I return to my southern heritage! 

Favourite Food & Drink
Morning routines are usually a coffee from Ol’ Mate on the Nepean Highway (their Bacon and Egg rolls are amazing!) or one from the library café downstairs. Pho Van in Chelsea is the best Beef Pho hands down. Mr Banks in Seaford brews one of the best New England IPA’s I have had the joy of drinking.

Funniest question you have been asked?
I really think you need to spend a day in the office with the Major Events team. There’s usually great questions about things like hay bales, dinosaur costumes and how long it takes to groom a dog… I think they’ve heard all the great questions!

Funniest thing an audience member has done?
Hand an Elvis impersonator a dog, from the audience, onstage. Seriously.

Who are the friendliest/funniest celebrities you have worked with?
When I was working in Queensland, I worked at Queensland Theatre Company (QTC), and we were creating and producing the musical ‘Ladies in Black’ which had music written by Tim Finn. As a massive Split Enz and Crowded House fan, meeting him was very exciting for me. Fun fact – he doesn’t like to wear shoes much and never travels with checked baggage. At the FAC, meeting Jimmy Barnes was pretty cool – especially for someone who’s fave rock anthem at Uni was “Khe Sanh” (I went to Uni in Bathurst – it was a big deal.) Let’s be honest, I still rock a pretty solid car version of it, today
Most bizarre rider you have received?
I don’t often deal with the riders, but I have been told about crazy things like room temperature champagne (WHY WOULD YOU COMMIT SUCH A CRIME?)… Gav and Josh from The Farm were a bit partial to the ice creams in the foyer which I had to account for at one point.

Do you have any superstitions?
Some common theatre ones like whistling in the theatre and also having a “ghost light” (a  light left on in the theatre to ward off mishcevious spirits)… Funnily enough though, I don’t buy into the whole Scottish play, “Macbeth” thing. I worked on a production of Macbeth for QTC where I got to meet and work with theatre royalty, British theatre director Michael Attenborough. You may have heard of his Dad, Richard or his Uncle, David. Anyway, I remember him saying it was a load of tripe and I thought – “well, if it’s good enough for Michael, then it’s good enough for me!”

Best solution you worked out for a problem?
My old boss once said, “it’s just a play”. So sometimes, when I think the problem is really difficult or overwhelming, I remember at the end of the day – it’s just a play. I believe we have a great responsibility to our audiences by putting on great entertainment… but the real problems out there are ones being faced by those who are much less fortunate than us. Theatre and the Arts gives us a language of empathy and a better understanding of culture. So it all helps, in the end… but really, we are very lucky to be where we are and doing what we do – so the problems, ain’t that big.


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