22 year old Actor and Singer Joel Granger was the winner of the AIMES Arts Award in 2016. Joel attended Kristin School where he excelled academically as well as in performing arts.
From Year 7 at Kristin, Joel was awarded DUX three times, and in Year 11 he achieved NCEA Level 1 with an Excellence endorsement – one of the highest grade point averages that Kristin had ever achieved.
At the completion of his schooling at Kristin, Joel was awarded an International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma with a score of 41/45, placing him in the top 5% of the world and resulting in an invitation to Government House for the Top Scholar Awards ceremony.
In Year 13, Joel was also chosen as Deputy Head Boy at Kristin. In that same year he received the Foundation Cup, Kristin’s most prestigious award, for demonstrating the true Kristin spirit.
Joel was also heavily involved in Kristin’s Performing Arts programme. Highlights included the role of Jesus in their 2011 performance of Jesus Christ Superstar; he played Jacob Gens in the historical play Ghetto; and had the dual lead roles of Munkustrap and Skimbleshanks in Cats.
After leaving school Joel studied at WAAPA (Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts) in Perth. He was one of only three students who were accepted straight out of school.
He was thrilled, saying... “With alumni including Hugh Jackman, Tim Minchin and Lisa McCune, WAAPA was always my dream choice when growing up in New Zealand.”
At WAAPA Joel played the lead role of Theo in Atlantis; was cast as the supporting role of Glad Hand in West Side Story; played Emmett Forrest the male lead in Legally Blonde the Musical. Joel received three prestigious awards at WAAPA for his achievements before graduating with a Bachelor of Arts in Music Theatre. And you guessed it… it was done with High Distinction and he was invited to join the Golden Key International Honours Society, which recognises the top 15% of students in regards to academic achievement.
After graduating drama school Joel moved to Melbourne and was fortunate to sign with leading agents Marquee Management.
Joel says… “As a performer, I believe the key to career longevity is the versatility of the work you can take, and I appreciate that Marquee see me as an actor first and foremost, who is capable of any performance work. This is especially beneficial in a time when Music Theatre Actors’ are often wrongly viewed as only being capable of performing in musicals.”
Joel has followed advice to immerse himself in the industry. He has performed twice as part of Melbourne’s Homegrown concert and has been chosen to perform at Theatrepeople’s Industry Night, performing solo alongside many of Australia’s top established performers.
He was also cast as the supporting lead of Bernstein in Doorstep Arts’ production of Dogfight and received great reviews… “Joel Granger has only recently graduated but is already a fully formed performer with a charismatic presence laced with humour and natural charm. We will certainly be seeing a lot of him over the next decade.”
After Dogfight came StageArt’s Titanic The MusicaI, playing Harold Bride allowing him to show a more vulnerable, youthful side, with a more classical singing tone. Again great reviews… “My standout performer was unexpected: keep an eye out for Joel Granger. My guess is that we’ll be seeing a lot more of him in the coming years. A beautiful voice and some nuanced acting made him a joy to watch.”
Joel has recently filmed his first Television role; as the supporting character of Mark in Please Like Me, a show that airs on ABC in Australia and Pivot in the US this November.
Joel says that probably the most exciting project of this year has been the chance to return to New Zealand and perform on home soil in New Zealand Opera’s production of Sweeney Todd – cast as Tobias Ragg, one of his dream roles. Critics have been glowing about his performances back home… “Toby Ragg was played by Joel Granger, a very young New Zealand singer. He was magnificent in that role, right from the moment he stepped out on stage, he just captures you”.
Most recently Joel has scored the lead role in a new Australian musical, The Gathering, produced by Vic Theatre Company. He is excited to be part of the development of a new Australian work, and to be one of the first people ever to play this character.
We put these questions to Joel for Northside in December 2016, just a few weeks after he received his AIMES Award.
What does winning the AIMES ARTS AWARD mean to you?
The incredibly rewarding validation that my home town is willing to instill such a vote of confidence in me and my career, and feeling very lucky to know that I'll always have support back home.
Did you enjoy the gala awards evening?
I had such a wonderful time. I was very honoured to be able to perform alongside Penny Dodd and the wonderful orchestra. I was also grateful for the opportunity to thank all those who had helped me along the way, and to be inspired by all the other winners.
What will you be using the funds for?
Already I have been gratefully using the funding to more extensively continue singing and dance lessons. I am also already looking towards part time screen acting courses and part time dance courses, with the funds being paramount in allowing me to develop my skills.
What will you be doing in 2017?
After finishing the show I am currently in ('The Gathering'), I will continue to live in Melbourne and enhance my training, as well as continuing to audition for future work. Already there are potential developments in the works for future projects for me, which is very exciting.
What are your long term goals?
To maintain consistent work as an actor in the mediums of music theatre, theatre, film and television; whether in Australia and New Zealand, or maybe even in the U.S or the U.K in the future.
You have been living overseas for a few years now, what do you miss about home?
Obviously being around all my family, and I'm incredibly grateful for any chance I get to come back home or for them to visit me.
Any advice for others following in your foot steps?
Keep training, keep watching theatre and films and keep continuing to be inspired. Keep meeting people and listening to their advice, and making sure that you continue to pursue this industry because you love it deeply.
In 10 years time I want to be....
Creatively fulfilled and surrounded by the wonderful people in the industry that I love.
Appropriately, Joel Granger has been recognised by the North Harbour Club previously. He was the recipient of an AIMES Emerging Talent Award including a $5,000 grant in 2013. Joel says this support is absolutely crucial in allowing him to pursue his passion as his career.
As the recipient of the NORTH HARBOUR CLUB AIMES ARTS AWARD (sponsored by Auckland Live & the Bruce Mason Centre) Joel Granger received $15,000!
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