On the Couch with Benjamin Rasheed

Benjamin Rasheed AAR On the CouchWho is Benjamin Rasheed?
A self-confessed footlight fanny. My year 3 report card stated, “Benjamin has a habit of standing up in the middle of class and singing”. I had no chance. I’ve been performing all my life, mainly in the world of opera but with a smattering of musical theatre thrown in for good measure.

What would you do differently from what you do now?
In another world I’d be a financial advisor. I have a passion for investing and personal finance. I know how financially tough it can be in the performing arts world and life in general. I love empowering people with financial literacy, something that we are never taught.

Who inspires you and why?
There are too many people to list but closer to home I’d have to say my two beautiful nieces. They inspire me with their beautiful insight, openness, compassion and kindness. They give me great hope for the future of this planet.

What would you do to make a difference in the world?
I’d make art, in all its forms, accessible to everyone. I’d empower every artistic endeavour, no project would be too expensive. The stories that could be told would change this world for the better.

Favourite holiday destination and why?
The Greek islands and the Dalmatian coast. It’s the bliss of swimming and sailing through crystal clear water, the Mediterranean food, and the fact I’ve never felt so relaxed in my life.

When friends come to town, what attraction would you take them to, and why?
If it’s on, the Archibald Prize at the Art Gallery of NSW. The small but beautiful Arthur McElhone Reserve in Elizabeth Bay and my favourite cafe, St Jude Cafe in Redfern. I’d also have to state the obvious, the Sydney Opera House, Sydney Harbour Bridge and botanical gardens. Although these three are cliches, I still think they pack quite a punch for first time visitors to Sydney.

What are you currently reading?
The Death of Dr Duncan by Tim Reeves. It’s the harrowing story of the bashing and drowning of Dr George Duncan and how his death became the catalyst for the decriminalisation of homosexuality in South Australia, making South Australia the first Australian state to fully decriminalise homosexuality. In fact, the first place in the English speaking world to decriminalise homosexuality.

What are you currently listening to?
Stephen Fry’s podcast – 7 Deadly Sins.

Happiness is?
Family, friends and food. Nothing better than having people over, cooking up a storm and discussing all the topics that you shouldn’t over a few bottles of wine.

What does the future hold for you?
A number of exciting projects. A workshop of a new musical for the Sydney Festival. A season of Benjamin Britten’s The Turn of the Screw at the Hayes Theatre and Mozart’s The Magic Flute for Opera Australia.

Benjamin stars as Spoletta in Opera Australia’s production of Tosca – which will be presented in the Joan Sutherland Theatre – Sydney Opera House from 25 June 2024. For more information, visit: www.opera.org.au for details.

Image: Benjamin Rasheed (supplied)