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