Empire Theatres Bursary recipient Toby Thelander attended a Queensland Theatre residency week during the September holidays, then sang in a choir at the Queensland Convservatorium state honours ensemble program (shep).

Opportunities such as these to perform, develop skills, connect with industry professionals and meet people from all over Queensland have proven invaluable for this gifted young performer. Commencing in Year 7 at Downlands in 2015, the College has been a great fit for both Toby and his older brother Oscar, who graduated in 2017. Toby appreciates the many opportunities available, particularly in the vibrant Performing Arts program and the way he has been encouraged to pursue his creative talents.

A cast member in the last two College Musicals and part of the ensemble for the Toowoomba Choral Society Production of My Fair Lady, Toby is thrilled to have a major role in the 2020 College Musical. “I loved being part of Les Misérables and Crazy For You! When you are part of a team working on a show together, there is such a sense of family and fun. It teaches you commitment, self appraisal, and it really improves your observation skills. And nothing beats the feeling of performing for a live audience.”

Toby is keen to develop his Jazz skills and was recently awarded a second Empire Theatres youth bursary to attend the Jazz Music Institute summer clinic in January 2020. Seeing his brother perform in the Griffith University Conservatorium play, An Exact Point in Time, has only reinforced Toby’s desire to follow the performance pathway after school. This talented young Downlander certainly has the determination and ability to carve out a career in the Arts.

Readers also enjoyed our story on Swimming Superstar