Here’s a trivia question: Can you name a five-year New West Theatre alum who was born in Trinidad, raised in Australia and consistently wowed audiences with his exceptional singing voice? If you said Mark Nivet you get a free pass to every performance at the Yates from this September to May of next year. (The Yates will be closed for renovations at that time but it’s the thought that counts.) I caught up with Mark via internet to find out what he’s been up to.
How did you first get recruited to come to New West Theatre?
The year was 2005. I saw an audition notice through e-drive. I was in my first year of theatre school at Sheridan Institute in Toronto at the time. I sent a video and samples of my vocals to the artistic director and he called me. I was then offered a contract and subsequent contracts over the next five years.
What were your first impressions?
Everyone was very nice to me and very inclusive. It was one big happy family.
How long did you end up staying and performing in Lethbridge?
I returned during my breaks from theatre school over the next few years, then fell in love with Lethbridge & decided to stay for a year and a half when I was finished theatre school to write music.
What were some of your highlights of your time here?
I have to say my favourite song to sing was Desperado, which was also the first song I sang in the show, Gettin’ Rowdy.
My favourite show was the show we directed ourselves when the director was let go by the board during rehearsals. It was a 60’s show and we sang lots of Beatles songs.
The biggest highlight is the close friendships I made that I haven’t found since. Friends that became my family and love me as their own blood. These friendships have continued and are so rare. Friends that supported and helped me grow both professionally and personally.
Get us up to date. Where did you go after leaving Lethbridge?
I decided to return to Toronto to do some TV and appeared in a SyFy show called Paranormal Witness and a couple of commercials. After that, I was offered a job back in Australia and have been in Sydney since then.
What do you do there?
I am a vocalist in the Royal Australian Navy Band Sydney and live with my partner Kurt and my dog Dexter.
Do you ever want to come back to Canada?
Funny you should say that! My partner and I and our dog Dexter are returning to Canada next year! Vancouver to be precise. I am hoping to return to New West to do some shows.
What’s on your bucket list?
Do a Broadway show, visit Nepal, have a European holiday, have a child or two and get another dog.
Do you have any brush with celebrity stories you can share?
I attended The Grammy’s in 2001 and ran down to the front row to give my demo to Celine Dion and her husband. They were really lovely and generous.
Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
Doing shows and running a coffee shop making really good and strong Australian coffee.
Any regrets about the path you’ve chosen?
I’ve learned from my mistakes and reveled in my successes.
Top 5 favorite male vocalists of all time.
Top 5 movies of all time.
The Wizard of Oz
The Sound of Music
Gone with the wind
Top 5 albums of all time.
Thriller – Michael Jackson
Whitney Houston – self titled
Songs in the key of life – Stevie Wonder
Faure Requiem – Ensemble Musique Oblique
Graceland – Paul Simon
What advice would you give to kids wanting to choose the arts for a living?
Don’t do it! Jokes. You have to love it. Really love it. It needs to be your happy place.
Can I stay at your place if I come to visit Australia?
Of course but you better hurry because I won’t be there much longer!
Check out Mark’s music and performances.