Let me introduce Nicole Garbellini
We are preparing Grazia Deledda’s next presentations in Hong Kong, Macau and Beijing. Among engaging lectures, films and a traveling exhibition, we’d like to show three short pieces written by JJ Morales, which would accent some peculiar issues of Grazia Deledda’s work. It is an appealing idea that we discussed at the ex-Simply Life restaurant in IFC (it has a different name now, but for me it remains the wonderful hub-restaurant that welcomed me four years ago), looking at Victoria Harbour and having a cappuccino and warm croissants. I met Nicole Garbellini (*) there, a young, beautiful and intense Italian woman who is famous and well appreciated in the theatre world of Hong Kong. And these are her kind answers to my curious questions:
C. How long have you been in Hong Kong for and what made you decide to come over?
N. I have been in Hong Kong since 2005 arriving from Sydney, Australia. Back then I was working in design right after my graduation; that’s what brought me here in the first place.
C. What background do you have, and when did your involvement in theatre start?
N. Despite having studied Fashion Design at University, my background is in acting; my first approach to the stage came in 1995, and it has continued ever since; it took me a little while however before I familiarized with the stage in a different language. When I first arrived in Hong Kong, for that reason, I became involved backstage first; l somehow preferred to do so as I needed to become familiar with how things are locally. Not too long afterwards, probably in shorter time than I was expecting, l was on stage again. All this experience led me more and more towards creating my own theatre company, presenting shows on a regular basis.
C. What about Aurora Theatre? You have presented quite few shows in Hong Kong through your company, including an award winning one. Tell us more!
N. I have created Aurora Theatre, an independent production company that aims to promote English-language shows in Hong Kong. We want to attract different people, both familiar and unfamiliar with the local English theatre scene, and introduce them to the various shows presented by us in order to create a solid, valid, creative and professional art scene in Hong Kong. Aurora Theatre aims to give opportunities to those individuals who are passionate about theatre, helping them to stimulate and nurture ideas and creativity as far as performing and directing are concerned. We welcome every background, ethnicity and dialect. As we usually say, the more the variety, the better! We have presented eight stage productions so far. The Last Days Of Judas Iscariot, performed last year, was awarded best show of 2013; the same play received an award for Best Director and Best Supporting Actor.
C. What is your next project? Anything coming up soon?
N. We are currently working on our next production, the second of 2014 (we have just finished our latest production, Den of Thieves); last year I have had the chance to work with Peter Gordon through the Italian Chamber of Commerce presenting an adaptation from two Italian operas: La Serva Padrona (Maid Made Mistress) and Gianni Schicchi (Johnny Xi). It was an experiment that turned out to be well received by the local audience, therefore, this year, we have decided to keep the same recipe in a Spanish taste. Thanks to the support of JJ Morales and the Spanish Chamber of Commerce, we will introduce the opera of Don Juan adapted into drama and set locally in modern days. The name of our adaptation is Don Yuan, and it will be presented at the Fringe Club from the 4th through the 7th of June. I am also involved with Shakespeare on The Port and I will take part in two plays, Taming of the Shrew and Julius Caesar. I am absolutely excited about this, as it is the first time that a Shakespearean festival is organized at the park in Cyberport. I will be acting in a full female version of Julius Caesar playing Marc Antony.
C. It sounds amazing, yet I believe it is quite hard to produce theatre in Hong Kong. How do you feel about this?
N. I love producing and presenting plays in Hong Kong; every time is a new experience, every time there’s something to be learnt. It is hard to create arts in our city as very few people perceive Hong Kong as creative, nonetheless we will continue to create and share our visions and dreams with our audiences. There is a lot of potential in this town; it is important to realize it and support those artists or companies who invest their own to be able to make arts accessible to everyone.
I feel proud. There is a lot of potential for culture in Hong Kong, I agree, but she upholds the name of the Italian art in such a distinguishing and especial way. All the best, Nicole! We all hope that you would join us in Grazia Deledda’s celebrations.
NB: Don Yuan will be presented at the Fringe Club from the 4th through the 7th of June.
(*) Nicole has been actively involved in theatre since 1995. After Italy and Australia, Nicole has made Hong Kong her home for several years and worked to promote local English language theatre that entertains and challenges audiences both as performer, director and producer. Her acting credits include, among others, Mid-Summer Night’s Dream, Closer, The Importance of Being Earnest, We Won’t Pay! We Won’t Pay! C&C I and II (Coffee and Cigarettes and then its sequel, Champagne and Cigarettes), Glengarry Glen Ross, Bittergirl and, the award winning The Last Days Of Judas Iscariot. Her directing credits include C&C I and II, Duetto and, most recently, Den Of Thieves.