Steven Rooke plays Ned Kelly
At the ripe young age of four, Leon Cain initially threw tantrums upon joining the Fame Theatre Company, protesting “that’s what girls do”.
However, Leon grew to relish acting and made his on-stage debut with the Queensland Theatre Company at the age of ten.
“My first job with the Queensland Theatre Company was in 1994 or 1995 when I was ten years old and I played Prince Mamillius in Shakespeare’s ‘The Winter’s Tale’,” Leon explains.
“But it wasn’t until when I thought ‘what am I going to do with my life?’ in high school where I realised it was something I cannot not do. It’s interesting because there was a large cast in [‘The Winter’s Tale’] and most [of] the cast in that play I’ve now worked with professionally.”
From playing the Sicilian prince in ‘The Winter’s Tale’ to his Matilda award-winning role as Johnny in ‘I Love You, Bro’, Leon enjoys acting because every performance offers a new challenge.
“I definitely would prefer that my career would cover a diverse range of roles – that’s the fun thing about acting and one of the reasons I like doing it. Even though the financial security is rubbish, the good thing is you don’t get bored because when you do get jobs, every job is likely to be completely different. I don’t have the looks to do the same character over and over.”
Leon plays Dan Kelly – brother of Ned – in playwright Matthew Ryan’s controversial interpretation of Australian history entitled 'Kelly', which premieres this weekend.
“There’s three different guys [who claimed to be Dan Kelly] and the one which we based our story on, James Ryan, was a man based in Ipswich. In our story, Dan escapes and goes north but because of guilt, he feels like he needs to get Ned’s blessing before he's executed. Dan disguises himself as a priest and goes in to talk to Ned the night before his execution, and that’s where the play begins.”
‘Kelly’ runs from until October 20 at the Cremorne Theatre, QPAC.