WITH basketball in his blood, Skyler Ellis was on his way to sporting greatness when he had to make a life-changing decision.
The son of Perth Wildcats legend Mike Ellis and brother of basketball player Cody had grown up surrounded by the sport and represented WA in national tournaments.
“I thought I was going to stick with that until I was in Year 12 and I auditioned for the school musical and was accepted,” Ellis, who grew up in Sorrento, said.
“And then I also got in to the state basketball team again; they conflicted and I had to choose one. I did the full Zac Efron in High School Musical thing and went with acting and didn’t look back.
“My dad was actually coaching the state team as well and my uncle was assistant coaching, so you can imagine how hard it was deciding not to do that.
“But it was what I wanted to do and my parents and rest of my family were really supportive.”
Ellis studied for two years at WAAPA before being accepted in to NIDA in 2012 and has been based in Sydney ever since.
The 26 year old is starring as the Gruffalo, Predators and Narrator in CDP’s current tour of The Gruffalo’s Child, based on Julia Donaldson’s book, which is at Heath Ledger Theatre, November 21 to December 2.
Ellis said he was familiar with the children’s book thanks to his five-year-old nephew in Perth, Chase, who adored The Gruffalo, The Gruffalo’s Child and Room on the Broom, which he was in a production of last year.
“The show follows the Gruffalo’s Child as she journeys to explore the deep, dark wood after not listening to her dad, The Gruffalo,” Ellis said.
“She confronts a few predators that don’t seem to be very nice and trick her in to thinking she’s going to find a big, bad Mouse.”
Ellis said he had to be match fit to meet the demand of the non-stop 55-minute production featuring a cast of three.
“Jade Paskins, who plays the Gruffalo’s Child, gets about 10 seconds of rest at one point,” Ellis said.
“The rests I get are during my four ridiculously quick costume changes and don’t feel like a rest at all.
“We’re all super busy and if we’re not doing a dance number, we’re narrating or putting puppets up.
“It’s a workout and we don’t have to go to the gym while we’re in this show. I thought I’d departed from the sport world.”
What: The Gruffalo’s Child
Where: Heath Ledger Theatre
When: November 21 to December 2