Prove your humanity

Grok Magazine sits down with Miana Stiely, a third-year Bachelor of Arts student studying Creative Writing and Theatre Arts, to learn more about her experience with participating in various Hayman Theatre productions.

Miana first started acting when she was nine-years old, as her mother initially enrolled her in acting classes in order to improve her confidence and social skills. 

“Although I always knew that I wanted to be in the [theatre arts] industry, acting has been an on-and-off thing throughout the last ten to eleven years for me, as it’s really hard to commit to,” Miana says.

“But I didn’t realise that I wanted to pursue acting seriously until the beginning of this year, though it’s really hard to pin-point where exactly the passion began.”

Image Credit: Cheyenne Valero

Though she would often be met with hesitance upon telling others about her career aspirations, Miana notes how her parents and close friends have always been supportive of her dreams. 

“My mum is always super supportive of me, knowing from the very beginning that acting would be something I’d thrive in. My dad will also help me read for auditions,” she says.

Despite feeling inspired by everything and anything, Miana often engages with the fantasy genre, including notable productions such as “The Witcher” (Hissrich, 2019) and the “Lord of the Rings” (Tolkien, 1954) trilogy. 

She’s a huge fan of Quentin Tarantino’s films, and currently looks up to Margot Robbie, Heath Ledger, Viggo Mortensen, Henry Cavill, Freya Allan and Anya Chalotra 

“I just admire and respect everyone so much,” Miana laughs. “It’s really good to watch these actors and directors, and note down what you liked and disliked about their work. You gather knowledge as you go.”

Image Credit: Leigh Brennan

Miana has participated in various Hayman Theatre productions since 2021, with her roles ranging from acting on stage to working behind the scenes.

Whereas she already had previous experience and knowledge in theatre arts, she mentions how Hayman Theatre provides students with a more hands-on learning experience, and often teaches skills that aren’t introduced in the courses.

“Not only do you learn performance skills such as voice work and other helpful techniques to become the character you’re playing, but you’re also made aware of the importance of tech work, including scriptwriting, lighting or sound production,” Miana explains.

“Obviously, there’s still so much that I have to learn. But I now have a better understanding of all the work that goes on backstage, and I also feel more confident with my acting skills. Everyone there is so nice and supportive of each other too.” 

Image Credit: Jordan Paolillo

Through Hayman Theatre, Miana has performed in “Rats’ Tails” (Duffy, 2021) and “1:45, New Year’s Eve” (Sharp, 2023), helped design costumes for “All Quiet! On The Western Set” (Borbas, 2022) and “Dance of the Fantail” (Lindsell, 2023), and was a lighting operator for “When The Rain Stops Falling” (Trenos, 2023). 

Besides her contributions to Hayman Theatre, Miana also starred in a short-film project by a first-year Curtin film student titled “Friends ‘Till The End” (Easton, 2023), and was featured in a promotional video for local rapper, FKA Franky.

After she finishes her degree, Miana hopes to eventually get into the National Institute of Dramatic Art (NIDA) in order to continue acting and working in the theatre arts industry. 

Image Credit: Cheyenne Valero

When asked if she has any advice for Curtin University students who are either interested in studying Theatre Arts or who would like to work on productions for Hayman Theatre, Miana says to just ‘believe in yourself’.

“Being your worst enemy is going to be the only thing that stops you from thriving in the industry. With auditions, you will face many instances of rejection, but rejection is just one-step closer to getting a role,” she says.

“It’s also really important to listen to everyone. Listen to those who have what you want, and be that person who always asks questions. Be present and try to do a little bit of everything when it comes down to working on theatre productions. In other words, just be all ears!”