On the Couch with Rachel Dunham

Rachel Dunham_OprahficationWho is Rachel Dunham?
At the moment, Oprah, most of the time. I’m a Singer, Actress and Writer of the award winning show Oprahfication. Originally from Queensland now based in Melbourne.

What would you do differently to what you do now?
If I had practiced the piano like my mother had told me I would be playing the piano for myself. Oh and I would set up a retirement home for old dogs. Yes dogs, the kind with four legs, and a tail.

Who inspires you and why?
The cheesey answer is the truth. MY FAMILY. They have truly faced life and death with such courage and grace.

What would you do to make a difference in the world?
Well with my skill base I would cook to feed the hungry and sing to make people smile and forget for a little while. Unfortunately the problems the world faces require a revolution. I could write the ANTHEM!

Favourite holiday destination and why?
My mothers farm in the Sunshine Coast Hinterland. Sitting on the verandah overlooking the Coolabine valley.

When friends come to town, what attraction would you take then to, and why?
In Melbourne I would take them to the Queen Victoria Market. Buy some wine and amazing cheese and have a picnic in the gardens and then wonder through the Art Gallery. The next day, probably a drive down to the Peninsula Springs.

What are you currently reading?
The Slap
. It’s an interesting snapshot of life in Melbourne.

What are you currently listening to?
I’m listening to Shanon Whitelock (my musical director and co-writer) play the score from our show, which opens very soon! At night I listen to a hypnotherapy cd.

Happiness is?
Creativity, puppies and my home.

What does the future hold for you?
A couple of incredible seasons of Oprahfication. And then a wedding!

With an extraordinary singing voice and stage presence, Rachel Dunham was in much demand as a jazz singer, touring as lead vocalist in the Queensland Youth Big Band, working in studios for EMI and BMG, singing in TV commercials, music videos and fronting 9-piece Sydney show band Cool Weazel.

She studied with renowned voice coach Don Greydon who helped her expand her already formidable range, and develop more power and control over her voice. Based in New Zealand for several years, Rachel devised and starred in a highly successful children’s theatre production Gypsy Gina.

Rachel fronted sell-out jazz shows at the Wellington International Arts Festival, opened for Ray Charles during his tour and performed to 30,000 people at the Millennium Celebrations in Wellington.

In 2011, Rachel was cast in New Theatricals production of Rock of Ages, where she received 5-star a review in the Melbourne Age for her performance of Justice Charlier. Rachel continues to perform in stage musicals, most recently in Harvest Rain’s production of Hairspray as Motormouth Maybelle.

Her one woman tour de force cabaret, Oprahfication first appeared in 2012, winning two awards at Melbourne’s Short+Sweet, 10min cabaret competition; the CABFringe Tour Ready award and the Melbourne Cabaret Festival’s award for excellence.

Following an extensive workshop program, Oprahfication previewed to a full house at the Butterfly Club before it premièred at the Adelaide Fringe Festival in 2013, and performances at The Melbourne Cabaret Festival, The Ballarat Cabaret Festival and Adelaide’s Feast Festival.

Oprahfication returns to Chapel off Chapel, 15 – 19 January 2014 with a five-piece-band, new songs, new arrangements, new outfits and of course new ‘oprahfying’ confessions to keep you on the edge of your seat. For more information, visit: www.chapeloffchapel.com.au for details.

Image: Rachel Dunham