A lifetime of theatre and performance experience inspired Tony Kishawi to create a ticket system for Gympie.
A lifetime of theatre and performance experience inspired Tony Kishawi to create a ticket system for Gympie. Scott Kovacevic

Ticket to success was easy find for Tony Kishawi

LIKE the character Bigweld from Robots, Tony Kishawi said his philosophy is simple.

"See a need, fill a need,” he laughed.

Caretaker of the Gympie Civic Centre, Mr Kishawi said the the need he saw was crystal clear, and one his one background in theatre and performance gave him the skills to fill.

"All the people in Gympie were saying 'we have to get a bus and go to Hervey Bay to see a show that we want to see,'” he said.

The reason groups were eschewing Gympie, while centres up and down the coast were attracting all types of shows?

Tickets.

As an unstaffed venue, Mr Kishawi said the best which could be suggested there was no sales options at the centre, which left asking shops and businesses down the road as the only viable outlets.

It was an option many groups found impractical.

"They'd go 'no, that's not gonna work,' so they didn't come here.”

It lead Mr Kishawi to create Gympie Box Office, an online ticket service exclusive to the region, one which he has used for almost half a decade to promote shows and breath life into the centre.

Now set to move on with a new manager being installed at the centre next year, Mr Kishawi said he has no intentions of leaving the town where he is raising his children, nor of abandoning his passions.

"I've been treating this as my day job,” he said.

"But really my love, the thing you wake up every morning and want to do every day, is the teaching of drama and acting.”

While his passion for theatre drove him, he said it was not one which he found easy success in when he started studying the craft.

"I found I wasn't as clever as some of the other actors,” he said.

"They learned their lines really easily, and I was terrible at learning my lines.”

It was a problem which pushed him to "performance” rather than "acting”, and which ultimately lead him to his love of the Italian Commedia dell'arte - an improvisational style which has a story, but no explicit script.

Much like Commedia, Mr Kishawi said he has an idea of what the future will hold, but not the exact way it will unfold.

He hopes Gympie Box Office will be a big part of it, running it independently to become a "one stop shop” and allow him to keep a connection with all of the towns artistic endeavours, and the people who are as passionate about them as he is.

"I'm hoping to establish myself as a household name.”

Gympie Times


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