There is always something awesome when you see young Asian/Asian Australian women do great things – and Chaya Ocampo is one of those. Still in her early 20s, Ocampo is busy pursuing her dreams in acting and will star as part of the main cast for Girl Band, which will play at Riverside Theatre, Parramatta from Thursday 18th to Saturday 27th May as part of NTofP’s True West Program.
But let’s find out who Ocampo is….
She is an actor, singer, theatre-maker and story-teller. Her notable theatre credits include playing the title role of Lovia in Red Line Productions’ Ate Lovia (dir. Kenneth Moraleda) and performing in Sydney Theatre Company’s Chimerica and Hayes Theatre’s Godspell.
Ocampo is very passionate about diverse representation, and through her artistic endeavours, strives to use her voice and humanity to tell more diverse stories on the Australian stage and screen.
SO in the production of Girl Band, Ocampo plays Jade, one of the singers from the band. Girl Band powerfully challenges the exploitation of women in the music industry and amplifies female empowerment, which is an important issue that needs to be amplified. As for the premise, Girl Band:
It’s 1994 and powerhouse record label managers, Craig and Darren, have created the girl band to end all girl bands. They have been moulded, twisted, and worked to become the girls that everyone wants. The Sensation Girls. Problem is, The Sensation Girls don’t know who they are anymore.
When unofficial leader DeeDee unexpectedly quits, things begin to unravel. The girls are getting older and bolder, and they know what they want, what they really, really want.
In a recent interview, Being Asian Australian spoke with Ocampo about how she got involved with Girl Band, and who is the elusive character Jade she plays.
“I got an email and it was an invitation to audition for two roles – for the character Stacey and Jade. After I read the script, I knew I would love working on this because of how funny it was but also self aware it was. The characterisation was clear and even though I auditioned for both characters, the decision was that I was more suited to Jade,” she said.
“Jade is a goof, and she is very honest. She is not very socially aware and she says what she is thinking at the time. She is also the youngest and hence most excited about her career and not so jaded by the industry”.
And what was the journey like for Ocampo into acting? Was getting into acting something she has always wanted to do since she was a child or was this something that hit her as she got older?
“I have always wanted to perform. I love to sing and I love to act from a very young age. I grew up watching all those old style musicals with my mum and dad. Annie was my favourite. As I got older, the love for acting and performing was cemented. I did the whole drama school thing and it is now something I want to do forever”, Ocampo mentioned.
“I love telling stories, because that makes me happy and moves me emotionally. I hope the stuff I do in my work will leave an imprint and make an impact”.
What are some of the messages/meanings Ocampo wants audiences to takeaway after checking out Girl Band?
“Despite being a fun play, it does touch on a lot of serious issues and things which need to be in the mainstream. The first takeaway would be about removing shame from experiences that are not so popular to discuss. The second takeaway is about pop music – to enjoy it and see the meaning behind the songs.”
Finally, the important question on representation. This topic is something Ocampo is passionate about, particularly being young and being Filipino Australian.
“Many of the collaborations I have been involved in the past, I have seen more young people who are from an Asian background. It makes me feel happy and proud to see how my Asian Australian friends are doing incredible things. As a Filipino Australian, I do want to see more Filipinos (even though there are many great ones around already) – but more never hurts.”
“Representation in theatre I think does better than film or television in Australia, but I think just as important as having many of us around it is also about the authenticity of the stories which are told. Both need to go hand in hand,” Ocampo expressed.
Girl Band will be playing at Riverside Theatre from May 18 – May 27 at Riverside’s Lennox Theatre. To check out more information and to purchase your tickets, please go to: https://riversideparramatta.com.au/whats-on/girl-band/ .