A Moment With Sophie Mackay
TheatreArtLife was created by the live entertainment and theatre industry for the industry. Our contributors are industry professionals working about the globe on shows and productions. In our “A Moment With” series, we give the opportunity to our contributors to tell their story and share their personal journey working in the entertainment industry.
How did you get started in your career?
I worked a couple of co-ops after leaving uni and decided I didn’t want to work in theatre anymore. In the three co-ops I had done I was left feeling unappreciated and over worked. The magic was gone. I left theatre to work in a pub. One day on a lunch break, after opening a newspaper for the first time in a year, I saw an advertisement for the Staging Department at the Sydney Opera House. My mum had seen it too. It was a sign! I applied and was accepted.
What is the best role/job/gig have you done and why?
I have a habit of falling in love with the productions I work on and the current one was always my absolute beloved. I think looking back Graeme Murphy’s Turandot and David McVicar’s Don Giovanni and Faust have been the favourites. My best gig has been to open Dubai Opera. The atmosphere was very electric leading to curtain up. Everyone had been working so hard to physically get the building working. His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum even turned up in Prompt Corner briefly. The sense of achievement when the curtain came down was immense. We were a new team and still had a long way to go but we had made it through the first performance.
© Dubai Opera
What was the worst task you were given when you were starting out?
I haven’t had an absolute awful task. During one of my first shows I had to pick up the leading actress and take her home every day after rehearsals which generally added forty minutes to each of my journeys. She was a very interesting person though who had been in the industry for several decades and she did have some good tales to tell. At university I was asked to create wolves’ feet for a table. I attempted to carve them out of Styrofoam. Whilst they did resemble wolf/dog paws they looked absolutely terrible. They never made it to the stage.
What do you think is your best skill?
Formatting. I love presenting paperwork.
What do other people think is your best skill?
Getting stuff done.
What advice would you give your 18-year old self?
Don’t be so worried about making mistakes.
What is your job now?
Stage Manager at Dubai Opera