A whole new world for Aladdin star

Musical theatre graduate Kimberley Hodgson feels like all her wishes have come true, after scoring a lead role in the national production of Aladdin.

The talented triple-threat star was cast as the understudy for the lead role of Princess Jasmine, and has toured across the country with the blockbuster Disney musical which opens in Brisbane this week.

“It has been an incredible journey, being part of such a huge show. We do eight shows a week, and it is such a powerful experience watching the audience respond to the show – the music, the colour, the story,” she says.

“This is what I’ve dreamed of doing since I was a kid.”

The show has played to packed houses in Melbourne and Sydney, and Kimberley is keen to bring the lavish musical back to her hometown.

“I have a niece and nephew who are coming along to see the show – it’s going to be special knowing that I’ve got family out in the audience,” she said.

Kimberley was part of the first class to graduate from the Bachelor of Musical Theatre at the Queensland Conservatorium in 2013.

“People in the industry are familiar with the course and it’s become an institution,” she said.

“It was a really demanding degree and it definitely pushed me outside my comfort zone, but my teachers were so inspiring and really prepared me for life in the industry.

“And when you love something, it’s not hard work!”

One of the highlights of her time at the Con was performing the lead role in Miss Saigon – an experience that gave the young performer a preview of life on the stage.

“I was so lucky to play the lead role in our final showcase performance – it was a vocally demanding role and one I aspire to play again,” she said.

“It was a real turning point for me – that production really opened my eyes and gave me the drive to pursue a career in musical theatre.”

The Queensland Conservatorium’s Bachelor of Musical Theatre was established in 2011, and was the first program of its kind in Australia.

Queensland Conservatorium Head of Performing Arts Associate Professor Paul Sabey said the musical theatre program set students up for a successful career in the industry.

“Our graduates have landed incredible roles, both in Australia and overseas,” he said.

“From the outset, it’s been our goal to prepare young performers for the world stage, and their success is testament to their talent and the calibre of teaching here at the Queensland Conservatorium.”

Queensland Conservatorium Director Professor Scott Harrison said graduates were appearing in a raft of blockbuster productions around the country this year.

“Our musical theatre degree commands enormous respect within the industry,” he said.

“It is fantastic to see our graduates so well represented in some of the year’s biggest shows – over the coming months, we have graduates appearing in Rent, The Book of Mormon and Beautiful.”