Old Scholar Josh Hollander Starring On Stage

Josh Hollander, a 2018 graduate, has successfully attained the lead role as Spongebob Squarepants in the upcoming musical, soon to be shown at the Regal Theatre in October.

We took the time to ask Josh a few questions about his role and time at St Mark's. Josh attained several awards whilst at St Mark's, including:

  • Year 9 Lions Arts Award
  • Year 10 Peer Support Leader
  • Year 11 Music Half Colours Award - Choir
  • Year 11 Music Half Colours Award - Jazz
  • Year 11 Production Half Colour Award
  • Year 12 Music Full Colours Award - Choir
  • Year 12 Music Full Colours Award - Jazz Band
  • Year 12 Production Full Colour Award: Secondary Production Cast

Josh has some great insights to share with current students.

What was your theatre experience at St Mark's?
I did not do ATAR Drama; however, throughout my years at St Mark's, I was a part of various productions as a member of the 'tech crew', and I also completed a Cert II and III in Music whilst at St Mark's.

Which productions were you involved in at school?
I was a part of various productions such as Jesus Christ Superstar (JCSS), Cabaret, Rise of Arturo Ui, Jungle Book, and Seussical Jr.

Any teachers you remember fondly?
Definitely, the two names that pop to mind are Mrs Grubb and Mrs McRae.
Mrs McRae was my piano (and later, Cert III) teacher and taught me a lot of the music theory I know today.
Mrs Grubb was my primary cert teacher, as well as the music director for JCSS. She helped me with my vocal abilities, as well as fostered a lot of mini-music groups I created.

How have you followed your theatre passions since school?
Instead of pursuing an ATAR in Year 12, I decided to engage in more of the ARTS, completing a cert II/III in Graphic Design and Music.
After graduating (2018), I completed a Cert IV in Music Performance at Mt Pleasant Baptist College, where me and my friends formed a 4-piece jazz band (with myself on keys and voice).
Since then, I have been a part of multiple productions with a variety of companies/scales/cast sizes.

What other productions have you been involved in since leaving St Mark's?
Since graduating, I have been a part of
• Jesus Christ Superstar (again) at the Quarry Amphitheatre
• Grease - The Arena Experience at the RAC Arena
• Spongebob The Musical at the Don Russell Performing Arts Centre
• Firebringer at the Melville Theatre
and most recently, Spongebob at the Regal Theatre.

Are you still involved with music since school?
I am indeed! As aforementioned, I am part of a band my friends and I created called "Take 4", where I play piano and sing.
I was also the "keys 1" player for Firebringer the Musical.
In terms of instruments I can play, I can play piano, voice, marimba, percussion and guitar, and I'm currently learning trumpet!

Are you currently studying?
I am currently completing my Bachelor of Computer Science, majoring in Software Development. I'm in the final semester of my degree and will graduate at the year's end!

Are you also working?
My current "job" is as a Gamemaster at an Escape Room in Malaga. Essentially, I lock people in rooms and watch them on cameras as they try and escape. Obviously, there's a little more nuance to it, but you get the idea.
However, I recently received an internship with IBM as an Applications Developer, which is very exciting and will be taking over as my primary source of income.

What other passions do you have?
As you probably guessed from my degree, my passions outside of the arts revolve a fair bit around technology. I love coding and teach coding workshops to kids during school holidays.

How did you hear about this role of Spongebob?
I am a huge musical theatre nerd, so I knew (and loved) the show before I heard about it actually being put on. I heard about it the first time round from a co-worker, and I heard about it the second time (this time) during the first show.

What made you go for the lead role?
Aside from the musical having AMAZING songs that I wanted the opportunity to sing, I was drawn to the role because I really resonate with the character; bubbly, funny, and optimistic.
It was also one of my dream musical theatre roles, so it was such a surreal experience getting to live that dream out.

Did you feel you had a good chance of getting the lead role?
The first time around, honestly, I wasn't sure. Before, I had no experience with a lead role (in a non-school production). However, I had had vocal and musical training prior, so I had that to my advantage.
This time around, I obviously had the experience of the role before, so knowing the show inside-out definitely gave me an edge, I feel.

Were you a Spongebob Squarepants fan previously?
Absolutely, I watched it all the time as a kid, so this show is very special to me in that regard.

How is the production shaping up so far?
Rehearsals have only really just begun; however, from the few we've had, it's shaping up VERY well. The production team are so organised, having major props and set pieces ready before rehearsals have even started.

What would you like to share about the production?
Spongebob the Musical is aimed at all ages, young or old. There are a lot of fun themes that adults will enjoy and a lot of homages to the original show that a lot of adults would have grown up watching.

Any message for aspiring actors who are in school?
"Just audition". It doesn't matter if you think you'll get the role you want or even make the cast. What matters is that you tried.
YOU put your face out there.
YOU got the experience of the audition.
Those are two things no one can take away from you.
The Perth community theatre community isn't very big, and once you get in, you're going to meet some AMAZING people who will support you and help you grow as a performer and a person.

Where do you want to take your acting?
In a perfect world, I would like to take my acting to a professional level, performing paid roles.

Any advice for current students?

You hear many people say it, but there's a reason for that. ATAR is NOT the only pathway. I did 6 ATAR in Year 11. Big mistake! I personally really struggle to apply myself in areas I am not interested in. I hated every second of it, and it affected my mental health significantly.
I then decided to drop to General for year 12, actually ENJOY my last year of school doing subjects I was interested in. I completed my Cert IV in Music, which gave me an automatic ATAR of 70 and got me into university to study Computer Science.
There are SO many different pathways you can take to get where you want to get. It's up to you which one you pick.

Thanks for your time and pertinent advice, Josh. All the best as Spongebob and we are all so proud of you!

To purchase a ticket to The Spongebob Musical, visit Ticketek: https://premier.ticketek.com.a...

Special thanks to The Spongebob Musical and Nickelodeon for the images.