Trevor Green’s ballet career led to life on stage

Trevor Green ballet
IN THE SPOTLIGHT: Trevor Green had a long career on the stage.

You’ll find Trevor Green backstage at the Moncrieff Entertainment Centre but there was a time when he was better known for being in the spotlight.

During his dance and musical theatre career Trevor performed all over the world but his start in the industry came when he was just a teenage dancer from Bundaberg.

Trevor Green ready for his first solo dance
Trevor Green ready for his first solo dance

From a young age Trevor trained in a variety of genres including tap, jazz and Irish before starting in ballet.

At 16 he travelled to Rockhampton to participate in a Queensland Ballet Company workshop.

“They used to teach during the day and perform at night,” Trevor said.

“One of the dancers got sick when they were up there and they invited me to dance with the company.

“I had one day to learn the whole choreography and then perform that night.

“They were so impressed with what happened that they just offered me a job for the next year which was fantastic.

“That was the beginning.

“From then on I just kept on dancing.”

Trevor Green ballet
Trevor Green performed with the Queensland Ballet Company and Sydney Dance Company.

Leaving school and touring with the company Trevor said he considered himself “one of the lucky ones” to have worked in the industry in the 70s.

“Hard to believe – I don’t look that old,” he laughed.

“I was lucky that I was sort of around in that era too where there wasn’t a lot of men, I suppose, in Australia that were performing.

“Not that it was easy to get in to .”

The versatility of his skills and experience also lent themselves to a lengthy career.

“I was classically trained but I also did musical theatre and jazz,” Trevor said.

“A dance career in classical is quite restricted I suppose so by the time you’re sort of 30-35 you’re sort of looking at finishing your career, especially men.

“Their bodies don’t sort of last that long.

“So in my late 30s then I went into musical theatre and had a big career in that.

“I performed up in to my late 40s which was a little but unheard of at that time.

“Yeah, I could probably still perform now if I needed to!”

Classical career saw works created for Trevor Green

Trevor refers to his classical career as “lucky” in that composers and choreographers were commissioned to create works based on his particular skill set.

“It’s a little bit different these days,” Trevor said.

“A lot of the companies just have like a set repertoire and it’s older sort of ballet that’s been around for a long time.

“There was very little scope for new ballets to be created.

“But when I was with the Sydney Dance Company and Queensland Ballet Company I was lucky enough that a lot of ballets were actually created on me and my character.”

He had the opportunity to work with many high profile choreographers including Rex Reid, Barry Moreland and Andres Topp.

“They all created ballets on me, so the story line was more about my abilities and my acting.

“I had a good ability but I was known for my characterisations; I was good at doing characters.

“Even when I went to Sydney Dance Company everything was revolved around your abilities and your strengths.

“So it always made you look good!”

He said to this day it was a fond memory of his time on the stage.

“To have something created on to you is pretty special.

“We were part of a history.

“You can listen to music and go ‘oh, that was actually written for me to dance to’ which is pretty amazing.”

Trevor Green ballet
During his ballet career Trevor undertook hours of training every day.

During his stage career Trevor travelled the world to perform, particularly with the Sydney Dance Company.

“It sounds glamorous but often you saw the plane, the bus, the theatre, back on the bus, back on the plane,” he said.

“We did have times when we could have a little bit of time off but most of the times you were sort of working really hard.

“Living in a suitcase for six months of the year are not always good.”

While he counts himself lucky to have had a long and successful stage career Trevor said it wasn’t always an easy life.

“Physically it’s really hard,” he said.

“Unfortunately with ballet more so than any of them you do class every day and you rehearse every day to get the best you can be.

“Then you might have a week off and you’re back to square one again.

“It’s one of those things – you can still be fit but you lose certain strengths really quickly so dance is not one of those things where you can sort of have a holiday for a month and come back and go back on stage.

“You have to be doing something all the time to maintain your body.

“So that’s probably the hardest thing.”

Trevor Green ballet
Trevor Green rehearsing with the Sydney Dance Company (third from right).

Trevor would train every day for two hours, rehearse for five to six hours and then perform in the evenings.

“It could be a 12-14 hour day.”

He was fortunate enough not to have any significant injuries throughout his career.

“It came down to being really disciplined and making sure that you keep your body eat well and all of that sort of stuff,” he said.

“There’s a lot more information for dancers and athletes these days where in our day it was just like starve yourself if you want to get thin!”

Musical theatre career started by chance

Trevor musical theatre
Trevor Green made his musical theatre debut as Skimbleshanks the railway cat.

Trevor said he got in to musical theatre “purely by accident”.

He had just returned from dancing overseas when he was stopped in the street and asked to audition for an upcoming performance of Cats.

“So I went and had a chat to them and that night they said right, you’ve got the job, you start the next day.

“So that’s how it happened.”

His musical theatre debut was as Skimbleshanks the railway cat.

“Bit of a singy dancey number so it was great, good fun.”

He said musical theatre had been a natural transition as he enjoyed singing and had always been told he had the voice for it.

“I had to go and do lessons with quite a famous singing teacher in Sydney/

“He didn’t want me to do the show, he wanted me to be an opera singer.

“I’ve got a tenor voice and he said no don’t do musical theatre be an opera singer but that didn’t float my boat really.

“I’m very musical, I always have been very musical.

“I’ve got a strong voice and it really suits that musical theatre.”

American production a musical theatre highlight

Trevor Green musical theatre
Trevor Green enjoyed taking part in the Australian production of La Cage aux Folles.

In the 80s he performed in La Cage aux Folles which he said basically translated to cage of crazies – in which he played a female character.

“It was about a night club in France where the lead character was a drag queen.

Trevor Green
Trevor Green in La Cage aux Folles.

“Their son wants to get married and of course the girl he wants to marry is the French attache which was this whole thing about trying to hide things.

“It was an amazing piece.

“It was probably a hit of its time.”

During the production Trevor was exposed to the best of the best in the industry from America and Hollywood.

“Arthur Laurents who actually worked on Westside Story …. that sort of calibre when you think of Westside Story … he came to Australia.

“So we got to work with amazing people.

“Not just on the singing, dancing and acting part but they bought all the people from Hollywood about how we did our makeup and hair and costumes and stuff so it was the most amazing experience.

“Even to this day people that are in to theatre they talk about it.

“It was just so magical.”

The Night as a Sorcerer was Trevor’s favourite character

Trevor ballet
Trevor's favourite role was in the production The Night as a Sorcerer.

With such a varied and extended career it took Trevor a second or two of thought to pinpoint a favourite character.

“Probably the one that was the most challenging was one of the first ballets that was ever created on me which was a ballet called The Night as a Sorcerer.

“It was about a young boy who lived with his family and who had a servant.

“And the servant would lead him around at night when he was asleep … and he would make him kill people as part of the story.

“In the end he ends up killing his family. But it’s all in play.

“So he’d think he’s just playing darts and he throws the darts and kills the mother.

“And you know, chokes the sister with a skipping rope.”

The music was “a jazz piece” composed by Sydney Beuchet.

“That was really quite challenging because it was quite emotional.

“Even technically it was hard because you had to keep this dead-pan face like you were sleep walking but you had to dance full on.

“The two things were really hard to do.

“People still talk about it because was quite an amazing piece and something really different that people had never seen before.”

Trevor ballet
Trevor Green performed with the Queensland Ballet Company and Sydney Dance Company.

Returning home to Bundaberg

After his illustrious career a sea change bought Trevor home to Bundaberg.

“I was away for 40 years.

“We came back for a family reunion and when we spent some time in Bargara it was like ‘hmm, I could do this’.”

Despite plans to retire Trevor found the perfect position as front of house manager at the Moncrieff.

“Which is fantastic, I love it.

“I’m just utilising the experience that I have in the theatre to bring a little bit of theatricality to the theatre and people are loving it I hope.

“I might even go back on stage one day if anyone really wants it!”

Footage courtesy of Sydney Dance Company