ONE of the Canberra region’s best known – and most outspoken – directors has been chosen to replace Stephen Pike at the helm of The Q, the Queanbeyan Performing Arts Centre.
Jordan Best, also the artistic director of Echo Theatre established two years ago by Queanbeyan-Palerang Regional Council, has a long track record in Canberra’s arts scene.
She studied cello at Canberra (now ANU) School of Music and acting at the Victorian College of the Arts, then went on in Canberra to chalk up an extraordinary list of personal performance credits.
But directing is her metier. Among many others, she has directed rollicking kids’ shows such as “The Little Mermaid” and “The Three Musketeers” for Ickle Pickle Productions, classic plays including “The Crucible,” and “Macbeth” for Canberra Rep and a sell-out production of Joanna Murray Smith’s psychological thriller”Switzerland” for the Canberra Theatre Centre’s 2018 subscription season.
At The Q, Best has staged “The Imaginary Invalid”, “Love Song” and “Goldilocks and the Three Bears” for Centrepiece Theatre, Stephen Sondheim’s “Company” for Everyman Theatre and “Playhouse Creatures” for Pigeonhole Theatre.
Best’s entrepreneurial skills came to the fore after Stephen Pike, as program manager and artistic director at The Q, urged her to put in an application to take “Playhouse Creatures” to the 16th Mondial du Théâtre in Monaco in 2017. Her application was successful and the show was seen by Prince Albert of Monaco in the Princess Grace Theatre.
Back in Australia, she negotiated for “Playhouse Creatures” to tour NSW, where she learnt the ups and down of small-town touring and made connections now likely to benefit The Q.
She is part of an extended showbiz family. Her father, Peter Best, is Australia’s most famous screen composer, responsible for the music in movies like “The Adventures of Barry McKenzie”, “Muriel’s Wedding” and “Crocodile Dundee”. Her sister Blazey Best is a leading light on the Sydney stage, her husband, Jim Adamik is one of Canberra’s top comic actors and their son, William Best, is a rising film actor.
A strong advocate for women in theatre, Best’s directorial style is to focus intensely on the text and the characters. She is known not to tolerate fools or boring theatre gladly.
Having mastered the arts of acting, directing, producing and touring, her next challenge will be to learn the art of working for a regional council.