Lo­cal tal­ent nur­tures next gen

Dubbo Photo News - - News Extra - By LY­DIA PEDRANA

IF you have ever en­joyed a lo­cal play or mu­si­cal theatre num­ber, it’s likely you’ve wit­nessed Jo Gibb’s com­mand­ing stage pres­ence, her pitch-per­fect singing voice and all-star act­ing skill.

Pas­sion­ate about per­form­ing from a young age, the mother, and grand­mother of two, is the brains be­hind the Dubbo Drama Club and is shar­ing her 30 years of en­ter­tain­ment ex­pe­ri­ence with the youth of to­day.

“I’d al­ways grown up lov­ing mu­si­cals and we would al­ways be putting on shows in the liv­ing room, but I never re­ally did any classes or any­thing be­cause I just don’t think my par­ents could af­ford it, so we just grew up do­ing it on our own at home,” Ms Gibb told

“I just love kids and I’ve al­ways been in­volved and vol­un­teered with kids’ groups, but I could see that there was a real need for a drama club so I just thought I could start some­thing for the younger com­mu­nity in Dubbo.

“If they had some­thing like this when I was a kid, I would have just jumped at it.”

Dur­ing her adult life, there hasn’t been a year pass where Ms Gibb hasn’t taken her nat­u­ral tal­ent to the stage.

Usu­ally land­ing the lead in Dubbo Theatre Com­pany (DATS) an­nual shows, there are a cou­ple of high­lights which come to mind when asked what her favourite role is.

“I have so many favourites, it’s al­most im­pos­si­ble to choose,” Ms Gibb, who is also DATS Vice Pres­i­dent, said.

“But I would say it's a toss-up be­tween Nel­lie from South Pa­cific be­cause it was my first ma­jor lead with DATS, and Sy­bil from Fawlty Tow­ers, be­cause it was a laugh a minute.”

From hum­ble be­gin­nings at the Dubbo PCYC with just a hand­ful of pupils, the Dubbo Drama Club quickly gained trac­tion while up­hold­ing Ms Gibb’s de­sire to pro­vide chil­dren with a rea­son­ably priced co-cur­ric­u­lar ac­tiv­ity.

Run­ning drama, mu­si­cal theatre, choral, and song and dance classes for youth aged 3 to 21, Ms Gibb’s two daugh­ters, Ton­isha, 21, and Marissa, 25, are also in­volved work­ing as a mu­si­cal di­rec­tor and lead chore­og­ra­pher re­spec­tively.

“The club has been run­ning for about five years in to­tal, but we set it up as a busi­ness three years ago and we now have 120 kids and run 15 classes a week, which is pretty crazy and great fun,” Ms Gibb laughed.

“I re­ally wanted to make it af­ford­able for kids, so it’s re­ally cheap, it doesn’t cost an arm and a leg like some of the other ac­tiv­i­ties out there.”

Aside from en­joy­ing her time work­ing in the wings as a di­rec­tor, Ms Gibb loves watch­ing kids’ self-es­teem and con­fi­dence lev­els.

She is also proud of the pos­i­tive en­vi­ron­ment she has helped cre­ate.

“It’s such a beau­ti­ful com­mu­nity, they all sup­port each other; the older kids are there for the younger kids and they spur each other on,” Ms Gibb said.

“There’s none of that ‘I didn’t get the part, so I’m leav­ing,’ it’s just all ‘Con­grat­u­la­tions, you got a role,’ and they are all re­ally happy for each other.”

Ad­mit­ting she does love the spot­light and will con­tinue per­form­ing her­self, Ms Gibb feels she has found her call­ing within the drama club.

“I think this is what I’m sup­posed to do,” she said with a smile. “This feels right.” Cur­rently in re­hearsal for their fourth show of the year, Peter Pan The Mu­si­cal, au­di­ences can ex­pect a high-qual­ity pro­duc­tion from the Dubbo Drama Club.

“It’s huge, we don’t do any­thing by halves,” Ms Gibb laughed.

“The show is go­ing to be mas­sive.”

And un­like other per­for­mances, Peter Pan will fea­ture a few of the kids’ par­ents who couldn’t keep them­selves away. z Dubbo Drama Club’s “Peter Pan” will play at the Dubbo Re­gional Theatre and Con­ven­tion Cen­tre on Satur­day, Novem­ber 16, at 1pm and 5pm. Tick­ets are now on sale and avail­able at www.drtcc.com.au

PHOTO: DUBBO PHOTO NEWS/EMY LOU

Jo Gibb grew up lov­ing mu­si­cals. “We would al­ways be putting on shows in the liv­ing room,” she said.

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