Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2017 Week 08 Hansard (Tuesday, 15 August 2017) . . Page.. 2731 ..
Proposed expenditure agreed to.
Community Services Directorate—Part 1.7.
Debate (on motion by Mr Gentleman) adjourned to the next sitting.
Motion (by Mr Gentleman) proposed:
That the Assembly do now adjourn.
Mr Toby Francis
MR RAMSAY (Ginninderra—Attorney-General, Minister for Regulatory Services, Minister for the Arts and Community Events and Minister for Veterans and Seniors) (5.44): I rise this afternoon to pay tribute to one of Canberra’s great artistic exports, the talented Toby Francis from my home suburb of Latham. Toby is currently starring as Charlie Price in the Australian production of Cyndi Lauper’s smash hit musical Kinky Boots, which has just finished its season in Sydney and opens in Brisbane soon. I understand that Toby has just arrived in Brisbane to prepare for the new season.
Twenty-eight-year-old Toby won the role of Charlie ahead of many Australian and international hopefuls. This success in such a relatively short career is a tribute to his upbringing in a city which values the arts as an integral part of life and an important part of our identity. It is a part of Canberra’s life which is dear to me, as the father of children who are musicians, directors and sound and lighting engineers, as the husband of a talented artist and museum exhibition designer and as a musician myself.
Toby Francis took to the stage in Canberra early, following his mother, Linda, with roles in productions such as The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, Tom Sawyer and Bye Bye Birdie. His singing lessons with the late Phil Perman were paid for by his grandmother, who remains today his biggest fan.
After attending St Francis Xavier College, Toby went to Hawker College to take part in the school’s high calibre drama program. While performing regularly in lead roles there he met his fiancee, Lauren Peters, now an award-winning set designer and producer. In late 2008 Toby was invited to audition at the prestigious Australian Institute of Music in Sydney, immediately gaining a place to study musical theatre.
He later won first place in the Sydney Cabaret Showcase festival with his one-man show Blokelahoma!, a performance which caught the attention of another great entertainer and producer, David Campbell, who soon became a friend and a mentor. Toby became a key member of the Hayes Theatre in Potts Point, where Campbell is a director, where he has staged his cabaret shows and performed in independent musicals, including Tim Freedman’s Truth, Beauty and a Picture of You.
Toby continued to write and to perform his own shows, winning the 2014 Sydney Theatre Award for best cabaret production and performing it at the 2016 Adelaide