Who is Chelsea Dawson?
Chelsea Dawson is your average Brisbane gal who loves sugar in all forms, has a passion for storytelling and loves a good sudoku. Currently I am playing the role of Katherine Howard in Six the Musical. The historical Queen Katherine Howard was Henry VIII’s fifth wife who was the youngest of the six and the second beheaded. There was no record of her birth so it is estimated that she died in her late teens to early twenties as King Henry found out about her past affairs with a music teacher, a secretary and her secret relationship that occurred during her marriage with him. History paints her as being quite the ‘scandalous’ and ‘adulterous’ woman but really, she was just a young girl that had no guidance growing up in a society that was run by men.
What would you do differently from what you do now?
If we are talking about what type of job I would do if it wasn’t performing… I think I would have become a primary school teacher. I love how children perceive the world and to be a part of that fundamental stage of growing would be so rewarding. However, I think I would find it hard to say goodbye to them once the year is over.
Who inspires you and why?
Gosh this question is hard. Truly so many people of all ages and genders inspire me every day and remind me of why I love to perform and the importance of storytelling. One true inspiration is my Mum. She reminds me to lead with an open and generous heart every day, to be strong within myself and that working hard does not mean it has to be difficult. I love my Mum.
What would you do to make a difference in the world?
I am learning, at the moment, what it means to be a deaf ally and how our world functions for hearing people and has created barriers for the d/Deaf Community. I am currently studying my Certificate II in Auslan so I hope that as I learn more, I can then be a part of conversations to create accessibility for everyone, especially within the Australian theatre community.
Favourite holiday destination and why?
In Australia I would say Stradbroke Island is the best getaway destination, especially camping on Flinders beach. It holds a lot of memories there for my family with the wildlife and also being so close to the beach is such a treat. And globally, I haven’t travelled to many countries, but I do love the South of France. My mother’s side of the family is from there and when I travelled there as a kid something felt very peaceful and homely about the stone pathed roads and European country air.
When friends come to town, what attraction would you take them to, and why?
If we have time, I would definitely take them on the ferry to Stradbroke Island for the day but if it’s just a quick visit I would take them down to the Wynnum Manly waterfront. It was basically my backyard growing up. Fish and chips down by the bay sounds like an ideal afternoon to me.
What are you currently reading?
At the moment I am reading the Auslan Dictionary a lot to help me with my Cert II in Auslan. If all goes to plan and I can balance study and performing, I hope to become an Auslan interpreter and hopefully bring those skills into the theatre industry.
What are you currently listening to?
Absolutely obsessed with Whatever We Feel by Sammy Rae & The Friends and also Lizzo’s About Damn Time. Both songs just make me so happy and are go-to jams when I am getting ready before the show.
Finding the joy in the simple moments in life and that can be different for everyone. I find happiness in dinking a good cup of coffee while sitting in a park getting some vitamin D, talking to and connecting with family and friends (especially important when touring away from home) and being able to the dress up and sing and dance with incredible women around me.
What does the future hold for you?
Who knows! I think there will be a bit of travel, hopefully more performing with different shows that challenge and inspire me and maybe I will also be a qualified Auslan interpreter (fingers crossed)!
Chelsea stars as Queen Katherine Howard in SIX The Musical – currently playing Melbourne’s Comedy Theatre until Sunday 21 August 2022. For more information, visit: www.sixthemusical.com for details.
Image: Chelsea Dawson – photo by James D Morgan | Getty Images