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Theatre producer bringing new stories to New Zealand stages

Brendan Talbot founded New Zealand Music Theatre company to give professional trained artists a platform for their shows.

Brendan Talbot founded New Zealand Music Theatre company to give professional trained artists a platform for their shows.

There’s more to musical theatre than Cats or Mamma Mia, an Auckland producer says.

Brendan Talbot wants to see more shows that tell gritty stories, and there’s enough of them out there waiting to be performed.

It’s why he co-founded the New Zealand Music Theatre Company to help fill a gap in the country’s professional musical theatre market.

One year since it launched, he’s produced four solo artist shows at Auckland’s Basement and Q theatres, including the cabaret PUSS on April 27 and 28.

The aim is to provide regular professional gigs for trained artists, Talbot says.

“A lot of people are creating their own shows to stay active and get their reputation out there,” Talbot says.

A regular on stage at his local community theatre in Papatoetoe for years, Talbot knows what it’s like to be a performer itching to put something on.

He already had a business degree under his belt when he starred in a production of Cats at The Civic and decided he’d give musical theatre school in Melbourne a shot.

More than five years, and plenty of cabaret shows, later, he returned to Auckland, put his business hat back on, and created his company.

“A lot of performers don’t like the business side of things like budgeting and negotiating venues.

“I have a big understanding of what it’s like and how hard it can be . . . For me this is a way of giving back and creating pathways that weren’t available to me.”

It’s a big risk, he says, but he’s realistic about it and is starting with diverse small-scale shows that run for only a few nights.

“The focus is on the work on stage and the performance rather than the production value.

“I’m slowly building the company based on the need from performers.”

Talbot’s busy lining up shows for the next few years, with the ultimate goal to be producing three-week musicals around New Zealand.

He wants to prove to audiences that musical theatre isn’t about the blockbusters or breaking into song and dance every few minutes.

“I think there’s a stigma, if anything, that a locally created show isn’t as good as a touring company but I truly believe we have the talent with these smaller shows.”

Written by EMILY FORD (

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