Asian Australian Actors and Actresses Asian Australian Artists Asian Australian Theatre Asian Australian Trailer Blazers Asian Australian Women Bad Ass Asian Australians

La Boîte’s Artistic Director Courtney Stewart is a mover and shaker for better representation

When La Boîte Theatre’s artistic director Courtney Stewart first stepped into the creative and arts world, her aim back then was to just be a storyteller. After what she describes as brutal auditions for children’s music group Hi-5 to singing competition juggernaut The X Factor among many other different auditions, her passion for the world of entertainment in Australia had never swayed, but she did question her branding and where she belonged in the industry.

“I think when I first started in the industry, I just wanted to be a storyteller. Like I really wanted to be onstage as an actor and sharing stories with the audience. In the early days when I stepped into the industry and was doing audition after audition, I found it quite difficult to understand my brand or understand what roles I was right for or how my voice fit into particular projects. I am 34 years old now, and considering where the industry was when I started it was different back then. Things have changed over the past five to seven years – I think we are seeing a watershed moment in the industry which is fantastic. In saying that we need to keep encouraging for more”, Stewart expressed.

Image provided by La Boite

It comes as no surprise that being an actor and going to auditions is costly, particularly when starting out. Obviously, the bigger the city, the more auditions and for the home grown Bisbanenite , she decided to move to Sydney when she was getting more auditions there. Ironically, when she moved to Sydney, auditions in Brisbane started to happen, so at the end Stewart was traveling back and forth for auditions. It wasn’t till she scored a main role on the Single Asian Female stage play by Michelle Law.

“It wasn’t till I got a main role on Single Asian Female play a few years back, that things changed for me. I have talked about that show a lot because it did so much for me, and I really fell in love with the work. I met Michelle Law whilst working on the project, and it was pretty much chemistry at first sight. We shared a lot of common interests and that made working on the show that much more meaningful. When I saw how audiences reacted to the show, it was just that much more meaningful to be part of this and to be part of the change to see more diverse stories on stage”, Stewart discussed.

Interestingly, that production of Single Asian Female was playing at La Boîte Theatre in Brisbane, and Stewart mentioned that at the time she was impressed and amazed by the theatre company. She felt blessed to be an actor at this theatre company, and the thought of running this company one day ran across her mind – well she did reach that!

Image provided by La Boite

“Being the Artistic Director is an interesting job, and you really do not know what the role entails till you are actually in the seat. I have always gravitated towards roles which require leadership, because I am passionate about change and advocating for the industry – advocating for better representation on stage is one of my goals. Of course there is a process to get there with meetings, de-briefs, making hard decisions etc, but at the end what I do and how I lead hopefully will see more diversity on stage”.

Single Asian Female, provided by La Boîte

Finally, Stewart offers some ideas on how better representation of Asian/Asian Australian on stage can happen and that the stories which need to be told are told.

“I really think it requires people from different diverse backgrounds with diverse perspectives taking on leadership positions – whether that be artistic director, executive director or being a board member of these theatre companies. There are times I wonder how I got this position, and I realise it took hard work, proving myself as a director and doing things in other areas of the industry. It is all about how we can change the system and encourage culturally diverse audiences to attend stage plays which reflect our stories and our identity. Anyways, that is what I think, and what I hope to achieve in my tenure as La Boîte’s artistic director.”

Stewart is a director for Sydney Theatre Company (STC)’s production of Anchuli Felicia King’s production of The Poison of Polygamy, based on the novel by Wong Shee Ping (1910) – the first book published by an Asian Australian author. You can still check it out if interested by going to this link: .

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: