Q&A: Ebony Nave and Amy Ingram of La Boite’s Blackrock

Q&A: Ebony Nave and Amy Ingram of La Boite’s Blackrock

Hot Chicks with Big Brains are incredibly excited to be partnering with La Boîte Theatre Company for the duration of their 2017 season. This year’s performances promise to be as engaging as they are diverse, with a whole bunch of incredible women helping to ensure their success.

This time around, we’re in conversation with Ebony Nave and Amy Ingram who are both performing in La Boîte and QUT Creative Industries‘ production of Nick Enright’s Blackrock.

Please can you tell us a bit about who you are and what you do?

Ebony Nave: I’ve loved acting since I was four years old, playing a coat hanger in a community production (career highlight). And now I’m currently in the 3rd year of my degree at QUT, studying BFA Acting.

Amy Ingram: I am a performer and arts maker. I work across traditional and contemporary theatre mainly and also do some film and tv. I also run an independent theatre collective called The Good Room. I grew up in the Barossa Valley. I enjoy wine, Yum Cha, going to the movies, and travel!

How did you begin your career in acting?

EN: I went through school, doing drama and community theatre like many young aspiring actors, then I auditioned for 3 years before I got into QUT (they had to let me in eventually). Between graduating high school and gaining acceptance into my degree, I freelanced around Brisbane, Gold Coast, and Melbourne, working predominately in independent film.

AI: I trained in acting at the University of Southern Queensland. When I graduated I started working with emerging writers and tried my hand at directing as well. I basically stated to build networks and experience, and then began putting on new work with those people. I started The Good Room in 2008 with Daniel Evans and then in 2010 I got my first professional gig with main stage theatre.

Ebony Nave (Image via AE Artist Management)

What has been the most challenging aspect of your career to date?

EN: Thinking I was not well equipped enough, not smart enough or talented enough, or beautiful enough or strong enough.

Putting all those standard insecurities aside, and deciding I wanted to do the work more than I wanted to let fear take over.

That was a hard thing to go through, but I’m glad I did. It’s easy for young actors to get swallowed up by the ever looming judgement we think is being passed on us. Moving through those insecurities to continue on with the work was challenging at 19.

AI: Haaaaa! The same as every actor I imagine – stability in life and income. Don’t get me wrong, I love the randomness of my career and life – I travel a lot and work on amazing projects, but you never know exactly when the paid work is coming.

We will often sacrifice being paid properly because we believe in the project.

But as you get more experience you begin to weigh up a little more about what is important to you, and make more room in your life to work professionally with companies such as La Boîte.

Can you tell me about the moment in your career that’s given you the greatest sense of achievement so far?

EN: Doing Blackrock with La Boîte is pretty surreal. I have been coming to see shows at La Boîte since I was 14 years old, in school. Working with such a great team makes it all the more spectacular.

AI: Oh god there are so many moments! I honestly can’t pick just one. It’s a constant snow ball effect.

Every show I do – all the people I get to work with and create new working relationships with. It’s never ending.

That’s why I love my job. I’m rarely bored.

What does being a part of this production of Blackrock mean to you?

EN: This message is important.

I personally feel very connected to the work. I want this to be screamed into the faces of audiences.

It’s one big mirror. Moving with them every night is always interesting. Especially when school students come through. It’s confronting. But I think it needs to be.

AI: I think it’s really great to be a part of a conversation about toxic masculinity in Australia and what has or has not changed in the last 20 years. I get to work with amazing people and watch the next batch of Aussie stars come through.

Amy Ingram (Image via La Boite)

In what ways do you think that working on Blackrock has challenged you, personally and professionally?

EN: Professionally, I’ve had to pull my socks up and be a big girl on this one. Its emotionally and physically demanding, with shattering experiences happening to these characters each night on stage. I think, by doing 22 shows, that it’s helping build resilience and make us really crack down on our craft, so we can give the performance each night while letting it grow.

Personally, I’ve had to learn to detach from the work once the show is over every day. It’s heavy content, so “leaving it at the office” is important.

Since the season begun, I’ve had at least 13 baths and eaten my weight in turkish delight . Self love, ya know.

AI: Playing multiple characters is always a great challenge – finding their subtle differences and making sure they have their individual journeys.

Personally, it’s a constant reminder to fight for those with less of a voice – to stand up for feminism, and to have those conversations that might not be easy but are necessary in terms of how much work we need to do in order to create a world that values equality.

One that doesn’t reward aggressive behaviour, or behaviour that makes it ok to treat women like commodities to be used up and spat out when it suits.

What has been the best thing about working on this production?

EN: Working with Todd, Amy, Christen, and Joss has been an awesome learning opportunity. Having such a great crew was really special and made our job easier! It’s honestly such a great team behind the scenes. However, getting to tell the story of Blackrock on a main stage will stay with me always. The audiences of Blackrock have definitely been something I’ve never experienced. There’s always a huge discussion at the end about all the unresolved issues we are still smacked in the face with, and that’s why this show was put on in the first place.

I love that it’s doing what it was made to do: start a conversation.

AI: The Honey badger! It’s the people hands down. The whole team.

What’s next for you?

EN: Showcase! *sweats*. Then, who knows! The world is an oyster, love is a battlefield etc. Hopefully, I’ll be able to audition around the Queensland/ Sydney theatre scene and perhaps nab some work, or perhaps get to make my way back into film. If it’s quiet for me on the outside, there is an independant play I’d be really interested in putting on. It’s really hard to know what is next once we graduate. But whatever happens, I’ll do my best to be getting some work done, either with a company or independently!

AIThe Good Room is doing its next production for Brisbane Festival called ‘I JUST CAME TO SAY GOODBYE’. The show is based on around 200 anonymous submissions of forgiveness. It’s pretty epic.

Grab your tickets to Blackrock, which runs at La Boîte until the 12th of August!


Answers by Ebony Nave and Amy Ingram via La Boîte Theatre Company

Questions and Edits by Emma Kate Lewis

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