On the Couch with Ian White

AAR-Ian-White-OTCWho is Ian White?
The Senior Agent at Ian White Management. I originally trained in the 70s in Melbourne as a drama teacher who loved to act. After teaching for several years I made the move to Sydney to accept a contract with Toe Truck Theatre which was the perfect combination of acting and touring in schools in NSW. After 10 years of performing in all facets of the Entertainment Industry, which included original casts of both Cats and Les Miserables, I decided to move back to Melbourne to raise a family with my wife Leanne. In 1990, we established Centrestage Performing Arts School and thirty years later it has grown to embrace not only the school, but also a full time Musical Theatre course (SHOWFIT), Centrestage Agency for Children performers and Ian White Management which represents some of the finest adult talent in Australia.

What would you do differently from what you do now?
I am a great believer in fate and trusting that we are following the journey that we are meant to be on. Although I never thought of becoming a Theatrical Agent in my younger years, it is something that has organically developed and felt like a natural progression from teaching and performing. The mentoring aspect of agenting is the most rewarding aspect of my work I find. Any regrets? NO! Except maybe wishing I had have kept more regular payments going with my Superannuation!

Who inspires you and why?
The people that I am close to inspire me the most. My three children particularly who have a natural zest and passion for life continuously keep me motivated and interested to be a better person. Jordan the musician who never stops creating and pushing new boundaries with his beautiful music, Elliot who is driven to create his own building business and Mietta who has always been a young performer with an incredible life-force, talent and passion. It has been a really tough during this Covid-19 Isolation time keeping inspired but luckily, I have stayed totally connected with my family and close friends; that is the real key to keeping inspired.

What would you do to make a difference in the world?
The obvious one is to remove the current leadership, or lack of leadership in the USA. Redistribute the incredible inequality of wealth in the world and clean up our beautiful oceans of the world! However, in my life the real differences in the world can often be made up of the “soft revolutions”, the small daily efforts that have a ripple effect that can ultimately change the world. I like to be positive and have a sense of humor that ultimately makes people feel good about themselves and the day unfolding. That is why I initially began teaching, education greatly influences everyone’s potential that is why it is vital that we provide a nurturing environment that evokes creativity. Centrestage Group is where I am able to make my difference in the world, being a place of artistic inspiration; all I can hope for is that it initiates a sequence of positive events into the wider community.

Favourite holiday destination and why?
I feel like I am having a real holiday when I am surrounded by sun and surf. My years living in Sydney and having access to so many beautiful beaches has always been indelibly printed on my holiday desire. I have made many trips to New York and Los Angeles but generally they tend to be work driven so when I can get to a beach, even if it’s a bit of a crowded beach at Coney Island, then I am at peace with the world. My other holiday ideal is really any beautiful place where I can jog of a morning and explore the city in the early hours of the day. Jogging early morning through the deserted streets of New York, the hills of Runyan Canyon in LA or the craziness of back streets in Bali, I am most at peace and the real holiday has begun!

When friends come to town, what attraction would you take them to, and why?
I love taking visiting friends to our beaches (obviously) especially along the Great Ocean Road, drive to Daylesford for a massage and spa, explore walks through our beautiful Botanical Gardens, and indulge in as many dining experiences as possible on Smith Street, Brunswick Street and Lygon Street.

What are you currently reading?
At the moment, despite being lockdown during Covid-19, I am lucky to read anything but my daily emails. The constant request for self-tapes for film and television projects is relentless – often going into the weekends also. So my down time is very limited to mainly listening to an online series of Masterclasses by inspiring people like Chris Voss who Teachers the Art of Negotiation and Robin Roberts who Teaches Effective and Authentic Communication. I tend to be so absorbed with work now, so anything that I can read or listen to, to enhance my work as an agent, is vital to me in this current time of uncertainty.

What are you currently listening to?
I love listening to Ben Abraham, Sara Bareilles, Ben Platt and other young contemporary artists. Today I have been absorbed in my own son Jordan (AKA Braille Face) as he has just announced the release of his new album called, Original Cast Recording. I am always on the look out for the latest Musical Theatre Soundtrack, but just to totally switch off, I will listen to some classical piano pieces by the Masters like Frederic Chopin.

Happiness is?
Running, swimming, and sitting in my luxurious massage chair in my office listening to long meditation soundtracks. I love spending time in the garden planting and watching things grow and blossom. Or simply spending time with friends and family over a good meal and bottle of wine, or two!

What does the future hold for you?
What an incredible time in history we are a part of, although I cannot wait for the time where we can reconnect physically and spiritually as a society to share all that we have learnt individually. All people are turning to art in this time to delve into what fuels their soul, so  I look forward to coming out the other side stronger, to then return into our theatres and get our beloved arts industry up and thriving again. I am also yearning to get back to national and international travel. I have just teamed with a London group of agents called Collective Agents – so I am enthusiastic to return to London and explore the opportunities of working with them within the context of IWM. I really believe that after the heat of COVID-19, the “new” normal will establish thrilling possibilities for our Industry.

Ian is the Senior Agent at Ian White Management – who has joined forces with some of the leading agencies around the world to form Collective Agents. For more information, visit: www.collectiveagents.co.uk for details.

Image: Ian White (supplied)