By Jove They’re Good

TAMARA LEE BAILEY and JOSEPHINE LEE are rising stars to watch in the theatre and screen world.

The emerging directors and actors – and proud women of colour – are completing a Director Mentorship Program run by the award-winning theatre company, Sport for Jove.

As part of the eight-week program, they’ve been learning “on the job skills” while working on the company’s latest production of As You Like It, at historic Bella Vista Farms, until December 30th.

Both Tamara and Josie are excited to return to the stage and bring the light-hearted Shakespearean comedy to life, especially after the 106-day Greater Sydney lockdown which saw many industries, including the arts, completely shut down and leave people without work.

“It’s been beautiful [to be back],” Tamara said of the production. “Everyone has craved it and missed it for so long.”

Josie agreed. “The whole rehearsal process has been fantastic, and getting artists working again and in their niche has been great,” she said.

While the pandemic has been disheartening for many artists, Tamara used the time to reflect on her own work and look at ways to up skill.

“There has been a halt [in work] because there has been a lack of opportunities during the pandemic,” Tamara said. “I had to sort of find something that was my niche, and build upon and practice [my craft] so that I could sustain myself in the pandemic.

“The Mentorship Program has been great way to do just that. We could continue to do the course online and that is a rare opportunity in itself,” Tamara added.

Meanwhile, Josie said the pandemic opened doors for her in the acting world.

“If COVID didn’t happen, I wouldn’t be here today,” she said. “Last year, I was able to participate in Sport for Jove’s Second Age Project [youth program] after I was offered a BIPOC/CALD scholarship with them.

At the time, I was doing my HSC, so I couldn’t drive all the way to Surry Hills to participate and being in school, I couldn’t afford the cost of the program. Thanks to the scholarship and the program being run online, I was able to be involved and be in the position that I’m in today.”

Adding to their directing work, the pair is in the Shakespearean reproduction as part of the ensemble.

Josie said the show was a great alternative to watching a screen.

“We’ve been in our homes and watching theatre through our screens for far too long,” she said. “Outdoor theatre is just a totally different experience. It’s truly magical to watch!”

As You Like It follows the story of the rebellious Rosalind, who is banished from court with her cousin Celia. But before they leave for exile, Rosalind catches the eye of the lovelorn Orlando. What ensues is a web of lies, false identities, romance, songs and plenty of laughs.

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