The world’s a stage for AIMES award recipient Joel Granger. His theatrical talent was recognised in 2016 with the AIMES Arts Award, and earlier, in 2013, when he was presented with an Emerging Talent Award. Here’s his ‘what happened next’ story…
Grateful to be surrounded by a strong support network in a vibrant big city, where theatre and arts experiences are plentiful, Joel Granger is carving out the career of his dreams.
As a 17 year-old, Joel sang to Lord Andrew Lloyd Webber. He performed songs from Lloyd Webber’s Jesus Christ Superstar to it’s creator for a televised UK talent show, after sending an audition tape in following his performance as Jesus of Nazareth in Kristin School’s 2011 production. The plaudits he received were catalytic and the all-round achiever honed in on a career in the arts.
In the 2016 year of his AIMES Arts Award, Joel was chosen to star in three musicals in Australia, and has since chosen to base himself there.
He says: “I started that year playing Zacky Price in ‘Big Fish’ at the Hayes Theatre in Sydney (based on the Ewan McGregor movie), before moving on to playing the role of Warren in the musical, ‘Ordinary Days’ in Melbourne. I finished the year playing the role of Harry Beaton in the Lerner and Lowe musical ‘Brigadoon’ at the Arts Centre in Melbourne.
“As an actor, you need to be prepared to move around for work (I spent the first half of 2017 in Sydney), but I’ve kept Melbourne as my base because I love the culture and vibrancy of the city, and I’m very lucky to have a great support network here.”
Joel grew up in Orewa and went to school at Kristin - Year 4 through to Year 13 - where he shone: The deputy head boy was awarded DUX three times, received the prestigious Foundation Cup for overall Kristin School spirit, and placed in the top 5% in the world for his International Baccalaureate Diploma score.
One of only three students to be accepted into the WAAPA (Western Academy of Performing Arts) directly from school, Joel was thrilled to follow in the footsteps of previous students Hugh Jackman, Tim Minchin and Lisa McCune. He left with several awards under his belt, and a Bachelor of Arts in Music Theatre with High Distinction.
He has since starred in numerous stage productions including playing one of his dream roles of Tobias Ragg in New Zealand Opera’s production of Sweeney Todd, starring in Australian musical The Gathering with Vic Theatre Company, playing Harold Bride in StageArt’s Titanic The Musical, and a starring role in Brigadoon at Melbourne’s State Theatre.
Television credits began to roll in for Joel in 2016, with his first part being in an ABC show called Please Like Me, where he played the supporting lead character, this was followed by a performance on US television in a show called Pivot.
2017 brought more television work Joel’s way. He says: “I played the lead role of ‘Jack’ in Hamish and Andy’s series, ‘True Story with Hamish and Andy’, airing on Channel Nine in Australia and on TV3 in New Zealand in November.
“This opportunity allowed me the chance to work closely with Hamish and Andy, as well as comedians Kitty Flanagan, Colin Lane and Ed Kavalee.”
Receiving an AIMES Award has shaped Joel’s journey considerably, as he explains: “Winning an AIMES Award was paramount in allowing me to continue training. My role in ‘Brigadoon’ was heavily dance based, so in order to prepare for that I was able to take consistent dance classes as well as two part-time dance courses.
“The Award also allowed me to continue consistent private singing tuition, as well as attend three film and TV masterclasses.”
And, looking ahead, does he have his eyes set on working with anyone in particular?
“Two of the artists I most look up to in the Australian music theatre industry are Anthony Warlow and Caroline O’Connor. I would also love to work with stage and screen actress Virginia Gay (from ‘All Saints’).
“Ultimately, my international idols who I would love to meet one day are comedians Tina Fey and Amy Poehler, Dan Levy (writer of Netflix TV show ‘Schitt’s Creek’) and Ellen DeGeneres!”
Joel would sum up 2017 in the three words: “Unexpected, joyful, and rewarding.” And by the end of 2018 he hopes, ‘to have taken the next step in my career.” If his track record proves anything to go by, that next step will be one paved with gold.