Alex Chorley

Alex Chorley on stage at the 2014 McDonald’s Sydney Eisteddfod. Photo: WinkiPoP Media

An Interview with Alex Chorley

Since 1933.


Alex Chorley topped the medal tally across all age groups at the 2014 McDonald’s Sydney Eisteddfod and emerged as the most successful performer of the 2014 season. Alex won three gold medals in Junior Classical Singing events and another two in the Speech and Drama category.

Despite his youth, Alex is already an experienced performer. In 2011, he played Michael Banks in the main-stage musical Mary Poppins. He appeared with the Sydney Theatre Company inUnder Milk Wood and has worked with Opera Australia in several productions. Alex, who loves nothing more than playing eccentric characters, talks about his hopes to make his career in the performing arts.

Why did you start acting and singing?

I was always a show off. When I was very young, I used to put on shows for friends and family in the back yard and make them watch! I started entering eisteddfods and winning prizes when I was six and kept on going.

Who inspires you and why?

I admire actors like Johnny Depp who can transform themselves into bizarre characters completely different from themselves. That’s what I like to do. I’m quite shy off stage, but when I’m acting I lose my fear and it’s almost as if I’m in another world. As a boy soprano, I worked with Opera Australia many times and this introduced me to the power of opera. I also admire singers like Michael Bublé and Josh Groban and pop artists like Kimbra and Daft Punk. My drama teacher Judith Burgess, singing teacher Tim Collins and music teacher Marco Susino are all very supportive and inspire me to do my best and try new things!

What do you dream to achieve?

I’d love to study acting at NIDA, train as an opera singer and eventually become a professional actor and singer working and travelling all over the world. My other interests include graphic design, writing dance music and making films. Right now I’m trying to get as much training as possible by taking exams, entering eisteddfods and getting experience in the industry. I’m a huge Doctor Who fan, so my ultimate ambition is to play the Doctor one day – maybe as his 15th or 16th regeneration! Like him, I am a bit crazy, so I would be perfect in the part!

What do you do to prepare for a performance?

I work hard learning lines, songs and practising technique. I get a lot of help from my teachers and parents. I start preparing for a performance a few weeks in advance so I have time to practise around school hours and other things. I’m not very organised, so like any kid, I sometimes have to be reminded to practise.

What would you say to someone that was thinking about entering the Sydney Eisteddfod? What advice do you have to offer?

DO IT! Eisteddfods are a fantastic way to get started as a performer. Having the opportunity to stand up in front of an audience and perform and receive feedback from professionals is a great way to learn and gain confidence in whatever discipline you enter. Entering eisteddfods has opened doors for me, I can’t recommend it highly enough, so get out there, do your best and believe in yourself!

What have you learnt through performing in the Sydney Eisteddfod?

Ever since I won my first gold medal, Sydney Eisteddfod has been supportive of everything I’ve done and given me opportunities to perform all around Sydney. I’ve learned a lot from the feedback given by adjudicators and I’ve learned what being part of a competition really means. Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose but it’s the experience that counts.

What was your most memorable moment at Sydney Eisteddfod?

Winning my first gold medal and some money for acting when I was ten.

You’ve performed a range of roles on Sydney Eisteddfod’s stages, what was your favourite role to play and why?

For one of my acting monologues at Sydney Eisteddfod this year I played the Mad Hatter from Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland. It was a perfect fit for me. I could be as whacky as I liked, so I brought the character to life with eccentric body language and facial expressions. I’ve since had success with the piece at other eisteddfods. Sometimes you get lucky and find a perfect piece for your personality.

You won 5 gold medals in the 2014 Sydney Eisteddfod, which of these medals are you most proud of and why?

I am proud of them all, but I guess winning the 16 and under World Song when I was 13 was particularly special. My voice had broken three months earlier, so I thought I would have to take time out from singing while it settled, but it kept going! I recently took my AMEB grade 7 and got an A+, so I’m pleased how things have worked out with my voice.