This month’s Mama really does command the spotlight – Patrice Tipoki stars as Fantine in Les Miserables, coming to QPAC next month! Patrice is mum to Libby (Elisabeth) (6), and Addy (Adelaide) (3) with husband Richard Arkins.




Tell us about your current role?

I play Fantine every night onstage in the musical Les Miserables and it’s been a dream. Fantine is mother to Cosette and I get to sing the iconic song “I Dreamed a Dream”. Fantine has a short and tragic life as she tries to provide for her daughter in whatever way she can.


What’s your performing background?

I come from a musical family. My parents and grandparents are all entertainers and my siblings and I grew up performing with them. I had music lessons and trained at a tertiary level at WAAPA and have worked in musicals and recording since. I’m lucky that I sometimes get to work with my siblings on projects, like on Les Miserables; my older sister Laura is our Assistant Musical Director so she conducts us a few times a week and is involved in many aspects of the music side of the production. My little 11 year old brother Tama was also one of our little Gavroche’s (a young boy character) when we performed in Perth and Sydney.


Who were your mentors along the way?

Well, my family were a big example to me. I was also exposed to so many wonderful teachers and musicians who were great influences. There were just too many to name. I also grew up watching movie musical classics and learnt from the best including Barbara Streisand and Liza Minelli.


What time does a typical day start for you?

I’m normally up by 7am having typically done a show the night before. I will often wake my girls up so we can talk to their Daddy on the phone before he starts work. He is a chiropractor on the Sunshine Coast and has been commuting weekly since Les Mis started so he’s with us every Friday to Tuesday, then working on the coast Tuesday to Friday.


Who does the cooking and cleaning at your house?

I’m the domestic goddess in our house (haha!) although on the weekends, my husband is wonderful at cooking and making sure the girls have clean and ironed clothes for church on Sunday. Weekends are busy at Les Mis so it’s perfect having him home with the girls then.


If you have 10 minutes to yourself, what do you do?

Ten free minutes normally mean I’ll sit and cuddle my girls before I have to get busy again!




IMG_6379What do you do for childcare?

We have family or friends look after the girls if both my husband and I are working. Life on the road has meant I’ve committed to teaching my eldest school work from home until we’re in one place to send her to school. And I did correspondence for half of my primary school years so I know it can work well.


Do your kids do many extracurricular activities?

When we were on the Coast, my eldest was in swimming and piano lessons and once we settle down we’ll start those up again. There’s always adventures to be found wherever we are though!


What do you do for fun as a family?

We love going to the beach, the movies, and having a night at home together. We love food too so good Thai, Japanese or fish and chips makes us happy.




What is your favourite thing to do for date night with your partner?

It takes a lot for my husband and I to go on a date without our girls as we just don’t feel like we ever have enough time with them! Our favourite times are when we’re together. We do get to go to some fun parties and opening nights with my work. I just love getting home to the girls though, they’re the best!


What is your favourite Brisbane place?

I love it up on the cliffs at Kangaroo Point. My husband and I were married at the LDS temple there.




Where do you head to when you get time for a girls’ night out?

Girls’ nights out for me normally involve going to a girlfriend’s house who also has kids and they can play together whilst we catch up. That is when I’m not performing.


What is your best beauty tip for mums?

Hmmmm, two top tips: Carry a water bottle everywhere to remind you to stay hydrated. And involve your kids in your physical activity/exercise so it can double as fitness/play time with them.




Must-have parenting tip or tool?

Prayer and patience.


How do you stay motivated?

I think you need to actively and regularly fill your cup so you’re prepared to face the world/ children/ audience. Time out to read, meditate, reflect and commune with others can uplift and inspire you to be the best you can be so you can take care of those who need you. Being a perfectionist, I’m always trying to do things better, smarter, more efficiently and easier. So I enjoy learning from those around me to aid in that process. Everyone has something to teach you, even if it’s what not to do!


Les Mis hits Bris!

Les Miserables opens at the Lyric Theatre, QPAC on Tuesday 10 November for a strictly limited season, with shows Tuesday to Sunday until 27 December.


More: www.lesmis.com.au or www.qpac.com.au




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