With a childhood saturated in the arts, Mile Fane was a stand-out choice for the Auckland Theatre Company’s recent Youth Arts Coordinator role advertised on The Big Idea. Mile’s parents are both successful Kiwi actors, and they introduced her to a lifelong relationship with film, theatre and music.
“My dad is David Fane of The Naked Samoans and bro'Town. Seeing your dad as a cartoon character on TV and travelling the world is pretty life-shaping,” says Mile. “I like to say that I’ve been informally trained as an actor for 21 years; I grew up in rehearsal rooms, around writing tables, in studios and backstage.”
Mile’s new role is centred around connecting the youth of Tāmaki Makaurau with theatre. She maintains and develops programmes which aim to engage youth ranging from primary schoolers to university students.
“We have our Mythmakers Program where we introduce primary school audiences to theatre and give them physical interactive representations of folk stories, myths, and legends that they may have heard before. For our older audiences we have things like Summer School and the HERE & NOW Festival.”
Joining the Auckland Theatre Company (ATC) artistic team only three months ago, Mile is enjoying the ever-changing nature of her role and the new possibilities that each day brings. Like most people’s, her average working day starts with a big cup of coffee, but aside from that, there’s no set agenda.
“I might have a day of sitting and doing 50 million emails, calling teachers, organising touring schedules, or doing matinee bookings. Or it might be a day on the road going to see workshops, performances, or talking with teachers. I might be hosting 10 schools to see an ATC school matinee. Sometimes I have a quiet day sitting with young writers. I absolutely love working in this way.”
At only 21 years old, Mile feels she is incredibly lucky to be ATC’s Youth Arts Coordinator and says her success comes from her very specific (and unique) life experiences.
“I like to watch, read, or listen to as much as I can from across all genres of the arts. I think I’m really lucky to have had all that exposure… I’m interested in being involved in and passing on those experiences to other kids.”
Mile has experimented with a range of different careers, including teaching swimming, Irish dancing and drama, and a stint in hospitality. She also worked in a spa and nail salon. Unsatisfied creatively, Mile frequently found herself perusing The Big Idea for opportunities in the arts before eventually stumbling upon her current role.
“Just put your name forward for whatever work you're looking to get into. Maybe you won't be right for that one, but you can get involved and they'll remember you.”
“I think my work experiences have given me a whole range of skills and I’ve been able to pull and mash together the things I learned to benefit ATC. For people looking to get into the arts, I would encourage not boxing yourself off from applying for roles thinking you won't get them. I’ve learned the best thing to do is to just put your name forward for whatever work you're looking to get into. Maybe you won't be right for that one, but you can get involved and they'll remember you.”
Mile’s greatest creative inspirations are her parents, actors David Fane and Bronwyn Bradley. Their dedication and commitment to the arts, including the work they’ve accomplished, drove her towards working within the industry.
“I think my Mum is so talented, and she inspires me to be a badass woman — closely seconded by all my ‘other mothers’. My mum taught me to work hard, support the underdog, to educate people and uplift them. My dad encourages me to be bold and funny. I’m influenced by the sheer range of work he does, like his part of the Naked Samoans. He’s brought beautiful, funny, and intelligent brown faces to the stage and screen. My parents have taught me a lot — they are my biggest inspirations in life, work, and love.”
My mum taught me to work hard, support the underdog, to educate people and uplift them. My dad encourages me to be bold and funny.
Colour is another influence for Mile — one that is perhaps less concrete and more abstract in nature. Marina Abramovic’s documentary, The Artist is Present, introduced her to the impact that colour can have on a person.
“There’s that scene where Abramovic is feeling super sick and says, ‘I have to sleep in red, that’s the only thing that will make me feel better’. Red makes her feel vivacious, alive, and like Superwoman in the morning. After that, I decided I needed green sheets because green is that colour for me! I literally ordered sheets the next day. I think colour affects people’s willingness to be motivated. That’s another tip… Surround yourself in whatever colour makes you feel like a badass superhero!”
For 17 years, The Big Idea has helped creatives find work and opportunities in New Zealand and arts organisations and creative companies find the right people.
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