Mitchell Butel

Mitchell Butel

Helpmann Award Winner, Mitchell Butel, reflects on Sydney Eisteddfod and ‘taking that first step’

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Keeping track of award winning prolific performer, Mitchell Butel, is an art in itself! Celebrated as an actor, singer and cabaret star, Butel has worked across theatre, television, cabaret and opera and is at present appearing in ‘Pinocchio’  at the New Victory Theatre in New York. 

His love for performing began as a child and, as he recently recalled, a significantly influential part of that journey was over 25 years ago when he won gold in the new ‘Variety Division’ at the 1989 Sydney Eisteddfod. With little formal training and a dash of courage he performed ‘Anthem’ from the musical ‘Chess’ and hoped he might scrape in third. He won the $250 first prize and remembers “I was completely over the moon”. “I’d never won anything before…it was an honour and thrill that inspired me to believe I was on the right path.”

On leaving school Butel studied Arts and Law at the University of New South Wales but never finished his study of Law. Instead he majored in Theatre Studies and, while at university, successfully auditioned for David Atkin’s production of ‘Grease’ which began his professional career.

Since then Butel has worked for Sydney Theatre Company, Melbourne Theatre Company, Belvoir, Shakespeare, Opera Australia and many other companies as well as being the voice of ABC’s ‘Play School’ theme song. He has been recipient of three Helpmann Awards for ‘The Venetian Twins’, the ‘Avenue Q’ and for Opera Australia, ‘The Mikado’ as well as having received rave reviews for his recent cabaret show ‘Killing Time’.

Later this year on his return to Australia, Butel will play in Sydney Theatre Company’s ‘Arms and the Man’. Much has happened since his first career-building step on to the Sydney Eisteddfod stage, and, as that experience marks a turning point in his life story to date, it was a step he notes as something he will never forget.