Acting is something of a family affair for Scott and Gemma Northover, both former Murdoch University students, after both were recognised at Perth's Independent Theatre Association’s Finley Awards – the community theatre equivalent of the Tonys.
Gemma was named best actress for her performance in Blak Yak Theatre’s Picasso’s Women, performed at The Studio in Subiaco last year, while Scott took out the award for best male other than a lead in Black Books, a stage adaptation of the television series. (*note to subs: there is no ‘c’ in Blak Yak)
Both have been acting from a young age and Gemma, 26, is a recent NIDA graduate who will appear in Perth Theatre Company’s WA premiere of Speed-The-Plow in July and has previously played a feature guest role in TV’s All Saints.
“Picasso’s Women was a masterful, yet poetic piece of work, which gave me a challenging role that allowed me to become totally absorbed in the part,” Gemma said.
“The experience of playing Picasso’s second wife Eva Gouel was an opportunity to explore the darker side of human nature, mixing bitterness, brashness, greed and, ultimately, sickness.
“Scoring the Finley Award for best actress was a big surprise and it was a real thrill to be recognised in the independent theatre forum, where my passion for acting was first born.”
Scott, 23, has performed in a variety of roles over the years and last year he wrote and directed his own one-act play, Enmity, at Floreat’s Hackett Hall, winning an adjudicator’s certificate for political writing at the 2007 DramaFest.
“Obviously, people are familiar with the television series Black Books – and Blak Yak Theatre’s stage adaptation was actually a world premiere,” Scott said.
“While my multiple roles were supporting ones, it’s good the Finley Awards acknowledge these integral parts of any production, not just the starring lead roles.”
But Scott and Gemma’s love of acting is hardly a surprise, given their mother, Joy Northover, is no stranger to the stage.
Also a Cloverdale resident, Joy has mainly been involved with KADS Theatre in Kalamunda since the early 1980s, while living in the area, and in 2006 scored a double award for Best Overall Production at DramaFest and the Southwest Drama Festival for directing Two.
She has also been involved with several other theatres around the metropolitan area, most recently appearing at South Perth’s Old Mill Theatre in The Sum of Us.
“I was thrilled and elated when Scott and Gemma both won on the same night; they both put a lot of work into their roles and I felt really happy for them,” Joy said.
“Both have followed a similar passion for acting and, while awards are just the icing on the cake, it was their chance to shine.”