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Clubbing, Cancers and Children

14 Oct 2020
Tim Bray's been a mainstay of Aotearoa's creative community - and has had his fair share of life lessons. Here are some of pearls of wisdom he'd deliver to his younger self.

Tim Bray's been a cornerstone of Aotearoa youth theatre for generations - and is a champion for inclusivity. Tim Bray Theatre Company was honoured with the prestigious Arts Access Creative New Zealand Arts For All Award at last night's Te Putanga Toi Arts Access Awards 2020. With hit show Greedy Cat back in front of audiences, Tim shares some tips he wishes he could give himself a few decades ago.


Nightclubbing is not the be all and end all

It’s the mid-80’s, and I know Alfie’s, Staircase, Grapes, Keeley’s, Club 21 and all the other mirror and neon lighting enhanced dancefloors are the place to be right now, but there will be a time when going out four nights a week till the wee smalls is no longer important to you (amazing I know!). The music - though not the clothes - will live on!

Direct marketing at Capital Life Insurance 

You may be wondering how you ended up in a direct marketing role here, with a newly earned Bachelor of Science? And, just after your first professional acting job with Auckland Youth Theatre ended. But here, in the direct marketing department, you’ll learn a lot about the need for databases, and talking directly to customers which will become useful later on when you start a theatre company.

Wear Sunscreen song by Baz Luhrman is spot on

Wear sunscreen. If I could offer you only one tip for the future, sunscreen would be it.” You’ll have two skin cancers cut out – one from your nose, and one from your back. Wear sunscreen! And as Baz says, “ trust me, in 20 years you’ll look back at photos of yourself and recall in a way you can’t grasp now how much possibility lay before you and how fabulous you really looked.”

You will end up being a Dad

Tim Bray and family at his Civil Union to partner Bryce in 2007.

Having grown up thinking you were the only boy in the world who felt the way you do, the world will explode with gay world leaders, entrepreneurs, celebrities, sportspeople, teachers, neighbours... You always wanted to be a Dad, and you will be. Blessed later with two sons – now, gorgeous young men – who have grown up with two Mums, two Dads, eight grandparents and multiple aunts, uncles and cousins. But as your own Dad will quietly worry for your future and caution, “like gay Berlin in the 1930’s, the world can turn on a dime”.

Trust yourself

The world of theatre can be overwhelming and difficult, but trust your own way of making it work. You’ll learn to write your own plays, learn to direct and to produce and find that the children who come along in the early years will be bringing their own children later on. And making mistakes and misjudgements along the way is tough but OK – they’re great lessons in how to build a theatre company which will last longer than you ever imagined.

Tim Bray Theatre Company’s production of Greedy Cat is on now at The PumpHouse Theatre, with new extended dates at Māngere Arts Centre (13-16 Oct), The PumpHouse Theatre (20-22 Oct) and Vodafone Events Centre (3-5 Nov). For tickets click here.