Do you remember back in 2009 when Kevin Rudd sent us all a $900 payment thanks to his Stimulus Package? Can you recall what you spent that money on, in aid of breathing some life back into the Australian economy? Peta Spurling-Brown remembers exactly what she spent her payment on. The plane ticket she bought to fly to Brisbane and attend an internship with a music distributor, set her on a course that would lead to her starting her own independent production company: Hey Boss. Surely Peta owes Kevin Rudd a packet of Fru Chocs, at the very least.
Peta always knew she was destined to work in the arts scene. She started out in performing arts as a dancer and singer, dabbled in visual arts, and then when she realised that music was her passion, Peta completing a Diploma in Contemporary Music. It was her job working in a CD store that inspired her to take the two week internship in Brisbane where she acquired skills that were recognised back home and helped her land a role with the Adelaide Fringe.
Working with the digital marketing team at the Fringe gave Peta the chance, not only to see how the successful festival operates, but also got her up close and personal with the artists who had shows in the program. She quickly realised that the frantic pace of the behind-the-scenes roles was just as exciting as being on stage herself. Peta ended up using the amazing networks she had created to find work with the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, travelling back and forth between cities, thriving on the variety of no two days alike.
While she worked mainly in marketing roles, for both Fringe festivals, along with the famous Gilded Balloon venue in Edinburgh, Peta relished the collaborative nature that comes with working in the arts scene. She gained experience across a variety of different roles, which allowed her to take on a position as a production assistant with Strut and Fret, back in Adelaide, working with the artists who performed in the Garden of Unearthly Delights.
In 2015 Peta had the opportunity to work with a friend who was a publicist and suddenly realised that all the experience she had gained, along with her background as a performer, was a valuable commodity. She was being approached by artists who were looking for a producer and the natural progression was to start her own production company. Hey Boss was born later that year and now Peta is thrilled to be bringing five incredible shows to the 2017 Australian festival circuit.
As a producer, Peta can oversee a number of different aspects of bringing a show to life. Depending on how experienced and involved an artist wants to be, she can look after everything from negotiating with the venue, bookings, contracts, budgets and promotion of the show. Peta is the main point of contact for the venue, and to ensure there is an audience to fill the seats, she has to employ her marketing and public relations prowess to promote her artists. Although she sometimes gets pangs of regret when she sees performers giving their all on stage, her impossibly full schedule doesn’t give her much time to wonder what life would have been like if she was in their place. The phone rings constantly, there are emails to answer and people to meet with; Peta loves her job and has no doubt that helping artists realise their dreams is what she was meant to do.
This year Peta has five shows that she is bringing to the Perth and Adelaide Fringe and the Melbourne International Comedy Festival:
Jamie MacDowell and Tom Thum
Armed only with a guitar, a distinctive singing voice and a versatile voicebox able to convey any instrument, this duo is unique. Tom’s heavy hitting, world-class beatboxing, accompanies Jamie’s brand of heartfelt songwriting and melodic fingerwork. Playing off each other’s talents, Jamie MacDowell and Tom Thum are the perfect musical match and their live show is made even stronger by their utterly irresistible charm and wit.
Damian Callinan and Paul Calleja – The Wine Bluffs
Ever wondered what wine goes best with Fairy Bread? Why hasn’t the ‘Champagne Spider’ caught on? These questions and many more will be inadequately answered by the self-styled sommeliers of comedy, Damian Callinan & Paul Calleja. After ‘intoxicating’ sold out audiences in 2016, The Wine Bluffs are back, doing what they do best: bullshiting about wine. They’ll help you match wine to Chiko Rolls, translate over-written bottle blurbs and identify the biggest Wine Wanker in the room: if you have a wine fridge set on two temperatures… it’s probably you.
Shirley Gnome – Taking it up a Notch
Armed with her guitar and sharp wit, this internationally acclaimed, award-winning cabaret comedian will sing you shameless, obscenely honest songs about sex and human nature that will have you in stitches. Provocative truths go down smooth with her incredible voice and gorgeous guitar stylings. It’s unique mix of all original music, standup comedy, wickedly inventive lyrics, and biting social commentary. Taboo tribulations and sexual liberation are wrapped up in silly debauchery and soaked in enough wine to kill a horse. Fans of Garfunkel and Oats and Tenacious D, get ready to be taken to the next level.
Michelle Brasier and Laura Frew – Double Denim
Double Denim is a hour of absurd fun, high energy silliness and a lot of denim. Michelle and Laura invite you into their world, where anything can happen and usually does. Double Denim is a group date infused with dance, sketch, singing, jump rope and some jokes to fill in the gaps.
Is there any Shania Twain? The answer is yes. Michelle and Laura want to get to know you, and by the end of the show, you will know them a little bit too well.
Deanna Fleysher – Butt Kapinski
Adelaide’s favourite private eye invites you to co-star in a film noir murder mystery. Immerse yourself in a seedy world of shadows, sin and subterfuge. No seat is safe with Butt Kapinski. DA-NAHHH!!! From the director and co-writer of the internationally acclaimed Red Bastard show – last year’s Weekly Comedy Award winner returns for more seedy adventures. Kick reality to the curb with this full-on interactive comedic experience! Play in a world of dark dreams and bad similes. ADULTS ONLY.
Peta says that she loves to work with artists who have mass appeal and are easy to absorb, but who also have a message: something deeper than just fun and silliness. She is drawn to people who she respects, and people who she knows she’ll be able to work well with. It’s important to have a collaborative working relationship, and she would be prepared to turn down a show that she didn’t personally believe in.
Right now the demand for her services is high, and although she has taken on an assistant, she doesn’t have the capacity to produce any more shows for this season. While she would love to expand in the future, it’s a goal that will have to wait until she can breathe again when these shows have finished their run over the next few months. Peta is also hopeful to take a show or two to Edinburgh later in the year, which is a dream of so many artists.
If you would like to see one of Peta’s shows at the Adelaide Fringe, check out the details and book here:
Find Peta online here:
Let us know if you see any of Hey Boss’ shows and what you thought of them. Enjoy!