An 8-year-old Blake Jenkins entered a theatre to perform in Fiddler on the Roof, and he has basically never left.
When your grandmother and your grandfather direct theatre and your mum and your stepdad are well known performers the chances are good you will end up on or around a stage. So it is no surprise that he is a venue all -rounder.
Blake, the new Administration & Engagement Officer at Cummins Theatre, is the 3rd generation in a well-known theatre family. He has more than 10 years of theatre experience at only 19 years old.
With a family business teaching musical theatre, performance techniques and producing youth musical theatre productions there are few jobs in a performing arts venue he has not done.
Blake will be a great addition, bringing considerable production skills for arts to the Wheatbelt where there has not been a qualified theatre technician available regularly.
He is no stranger to the venue having come to learn to operate the equipment as a part of his 2019 Cert II in creative industries where he quickly learned gained affection for the historic Cummins.
“It’s an amazing venue, there is really nothing like it anywhere. I loved it when I came to learn the sound desk and the lights as part of my training. Its grand design reminds me of the Maj. It was a really cool place to gain experience. It was really what brought me back, I just love the theatre.”
Since being a trainee Blake returned to do his diploma music theatre at WAAPA. As a performer who was in his first professional show, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang at age 11, this was an important step in his growth both on and off the stage.
“I feel I can bring a bit of everything to the venue, “ said Blake. “Off the stage I have worked in everything from sound and lighting to box office. I think I can help with fresh ideas for Cummins whilst respecting history. I am keen to make it even more engaging for the people of Merredin.”
How does he think it will be with two of the theatre family working in Merredin? “Justin and I get each other, we can agree on one thing and not on another and we have great discussions about how shows can work, I think we’ll be great.”
Well as a musical theatre lover, Blake favourite’s will always be Chitty Chitty Bang Bang because it was his first show, but he gets most glassy eyed when he talks about the first time he saw his mum Katherine Freind perform in a show.
In the future, in a Galaxy far from here, Blake hope to tackle the world of acting and directing film and maybe follow in the footsteps of the Star Wars pioneers he loves.
For now, the self-confessed Harry Potter tragic is looking to how much he can add to the great experiences in Cummins Theatre, the jewel of the Wheatbelt.