Fresh Buzz for Rafters

Sunday Tasmanian - Tassie Living - - TV -

PACKED to the Rafters’ lat­est ad­di­tion Ben Mingay has re­vealed he was able to draw on the benefi t of per­sonal ex­pe­ri­ence when it came to his char­ac­ter’s teen love af­fair with a school teacher. The sea­soned theatre ac­tor, who is star­ring as Buzz Gra­ham in the pop­u­lar drama, says he knew of a few fel­low pupils who in­dulged in an il­licit li­ai­son or two.

“I know of some dodgy go­ings on,” he says, in ref­er­ence to his char­ac­ter’s back story of hav­ing a 16- year- old son who is the re­sult of an af­fair with a teacher when he was a school.

“I could re­late to a lot of this char­ac­ter,” he said.

“I can’t re­veal who it was but I do know some­one. I know of sit­u­a­tions. I’m still friends with them now.

“This wasn’t re­ally young peo­ple – they were about 17 or 18.

“There is al­ways a story, es­pe­cially when you have been to as many schools as I have.”

Mingay, 33, from New­cas­tle, in New South Wales, also used his ex­pe­ri­ence of be­com­ing an un­cle when he was nine to add to the dy­namic of be­ing close in age to his son on Rafters. “I read some of the script and I could im­me­di­ately re­late to it. My old­est sis­ter had a cou­ple of kids by the time she was 20. “I was grow­ing up with my nephew Dave. It was ex­actly the same sort of re­la­tion­ship – we were like mates – me want­ing to be a bit of an au­thor­ity fig­ure. We would have a beer to­gether, and the next thing I was hav­ing to be in charge.

“This re­ally helped me with the whole Jack­son Buzz thing that was go­ing on in the show.”

Mingay, who up un­til Rafters has had a long ca­reer tread­ing the boards, has starred in An Offi cer and A Gen­tle­man, Jersey Boys, Dirty Danc­ing, which took him around the world, and the

mu­si­cal Hair. He says he feels the stars aligned for him to get the part. “Michael Ca­ton, a mu­tual friend, came and saw

Jersey Boys and we had a drink af­ter­wards, and I got to know Michael over a few beers.

“Then at the clos­ing night of an Offi cer and a

It helped Michael Ca­ton, right, had vouched for me, as it were. He’s a good Aussie bloke and that all worked in my favour, and I went along and did the au­di­tion and got the gig

Gen­tle­man, the cast­ing di­rec­tor from Rafters was ac­tu­ally in the house. We had a drink and a lit­tle bit of a chat and she said: ‘ You are the type of guy we are look­ing for.’

“It helped Michael Ca­ton had vouched for me, as it were. He’s a good Aussie bloke and that all worked in my favour, and I went along and did the au­di­tion and got the gig.

“It was a good di­rec­tion for me to go in. It felt like a bit of fate. Offi cer and a Gen­tle­man was sup­posed to be open for a year. The fact that it closed early al­lowed me to do this.”

Mingay says he loves the new turn his ca­reer has taken: “I was re­ally ex­cited. Mostly be­cause a lot of my fam­ily and friends watched the show and I had al­ways been a fan of Rebecca [ Gib­ney] and Erik [ Thom­son].

“Of course I was a bit ner­vous about go­ing into an es­tab­lished cast – a fam­ily cast.

“When I joined I was like: ‘ where do I pitch my­self in this?’ You have to be care­ful com­ing into a sit­u­a­tion where they are old hands at it. “So I just tried to keep a low profi le and slip in there and try and qui­etly achieve what I have to do. I think my in­tro­duc­tion into the tele­vi­sion cast was a bless­ing.

“Ev­ery­one had so much ad­vice and made me feel so me wel­come and at home.”

NEW FACE: Ben Mingay.

ZOE NAU­MAN PACKED TO THE RAFTERS South­ern Cross Tues­day, 8.45pm

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