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Celebrity Spotlight: Stevie Nicholson
Get Ahead Kids - Vol. 1, No. 3 - May/June 2010

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How does Hi-5 contribute to the education of kids?

We work tirelessly to make sure that every song we sing and every scene we film is pitched at the right level to engage, entertain and educate kids.

On television, we each have a segment which is focused on different forms of learning. My segment is titled 'Shapes in Space' and is focused on spatial awareness. We also have kinesthetic, problem solving and music based segments. It's great to be educating kids in a fun and engaging way.

What skills, talents and qualifications are required to be a member of your group?

Each cast member has had various training and brings a different skill to the group. Personally, I studied Shakespeare at the Royal Academy in London as well as training in Music Theatre at NIDA in Sydney.

Before joining Hi-5 I toured to primary schools all over the country performing plays that were used to help children deal with bullying. The main criteria for being a member of Hi-5 are to be in touch with your inner child and you must be prepared to have fun!

What are the main benefits of belonging to Hi-5?

Hi-5 is a truly wonderful group to be a member of, but the thing I am most proud of is being a role model to young children all over the world. We take this responsibility very seriously and hope that we can give kids role models that they can aspire to be like. With this responsibility we hope to educate kids too.

What is involved in a typical days filming of Hi-5?

Filming our television series is a lot of fun and a day on the set can involve dressing up like a Rapping Kangaroo, an Irish fiddler, or even a merman. They are long days but we are often found laughing in a heap because it really is as much fun as it looks.

What age groups does your show target?

We are focused on 2-6 year olds but we are so fortunate to have fans across all generations. There is a group of mums that come to our live stage shows in Aerobics gear and do their workouts to our show.

What do you do when you are not performing?

When we have time off I often fly to Melbourne to be with my family and I also try to get to the beach. I find the water to be very therapeutic.

Where do you tour and what is your favourite destination and why?

I love touring Australia. We have so many hidden gems and when you are on the road you are always charmed by the locals. My favourite destinations while we are on tour are the theatres that we perform in. For most of our fans, coming to a Hi-5 concert is their first time going to a theatre. It is a really magical atmosphere seeing the kids faces as they enjoy the fantasy of theatre.

What was your best audience experience?

The highlight of my performing career is and probably always will be, performing at Carols by Candlelight in Melbourne every year. My first year was in 2007 and I'll never forget the atmosphere walking out to over 30,000 happy families. For me it was the culmination of years of hard work and training. My mum also snuck into the choir so it was really awesome to share the stage with her.

Please tell us about your most memorable Hi-5 songs?

It's one of our newer songs called 'Happy Monster Dance'. It's a really catchy song and one that not only the kids get into but the parents love to groove along to as well. It's amazing when we tell them we are about to do the 'Happy Monster Dance'. The entire audience stands up ready to rock.

How do you ensure that the five of you get along?

We're really lucky that we all get along but we work hard on communicating alot each day. We do spend a lot of time together but it's just like a family. We look after each other and respect each other as fellow cast mates and friends.

Are there any plans for overseas tours? Tell us about them.

Hi-5 has over one million children watching all over the world each week so we are very fortunate to do a lot of overseas travel. We spend a lot of time in Asia and will be back in the Philippines later this year with our new stage show 'Hi-5 Surprise'. These people love dancing, singing and colour, so Hi-5 is a good fit over there. I can't wait to get over there!

Hi-5 Biographies

Fely Irvine

Fely's training in theatre, acting and dance is extensive and has seen her travel the world.

Fely says: "There isn't anything in the world I'd rather be doing; I'm thrilled to have the opportunity to be part of the much loved Hi-5 brand and look forward to entertaining our audience both in Australia and overseas."

Lauren Brant

A born entertainer, Lauren has been training in the arts since she was three. Now an accomplished dancer, singer, actor and model, Lauren loves what she does and would not change it for any other career.

Lauren says: "The greatest thing about being in Hi-5 is having four best friends to play with everyday! It's a great privilege to be able to follow my passion and to dance, sing and act as a job."

Stevie Nicholson

At the National Institute of Dramatic Arts (NIDA) where Stevie trained, he worked with a variety of Australia's top directors, choreographers, and music theatre experts under the lead of Avigail Herman.

Stevie says: "Being a member of Hi-5 is a dream come true. The opportunity to work with and for children is an honour."

Casey Burgess

Casey's love of performing started at a very young age. She trained at the famous Brent Street Studios in dance, jazz, tap and by the age of 11 she was in a production of 'Annie The Musical' and soon followed this with singing solo in 'Hats off!'

Casey says: "Everything about being in Hi-5 is great; the kids, being part of a team and working on a wonderful show that is so much fun and so inspirational to all of its viewers."

Tim Maddren

Tim was raised in a musical family and was encouraged from an early age to follow his passion for performing and entertaining.

Tim says "You can't beat a job that encourages kids to be active and have fun! It's wonderful to be working with my talented friends and spreading a love for music and dance amongst children is a real reward."

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