The Beanies are a musical adventure for little ones with big imaginations – encouraging creative thinking by understanding the value of play. With more than 60 original songs The Beanies were nominated for an ARIA for Best Children’s Album in 2019 and signed to ABC Kids.
Michael, along with his co-stars Laura and Mim, perform live shows for families across the country, but they are best known for their award-winning podcast series hosted on PodcastOne, which won Australian Podcast of the Year – Kids and Family, in 2018.
Which Catholic schools did you attend?
Holy Family Primary School, Merewether, followed by St Pius X High School, Adamstown. I completed my high school years at St Joseph’s College in Hunters Hill.
Why did your parents choose a Catholic education?
I have three older sisters, and for most of the time we went to the same school. These schools gave us a great education with a strong sense of community.
What is your fondest memory from your schooling years?
Heading to the music practice rooms and making lots of noise with my friends. My closest friends were brought to me because of our shared taste in music and playing together.
What has been your greatest or most satisfying career achievement?
Oh, there’s a few. The Beanies heading to the ARIAs after we were nominated for Best Kids Album is one. I have also toured the country a few times performing; and being able to perform at the Civic Theatre, Newcastle to sold-out crowds – where I first fell in love with performing – was also a pretty special time for me.
How did The Beanies come about?
I met Mim Beanie performing in schools around Australia. At the time she was beginning The Beanies with Laura and our music wizard James Court. They needed someone uncoordinated with extreme facial expressions to come along for the fun, and I was perfect.
What inspired you to become a children’s entertainer?
I love the attitude of telling stories that are for a younger audience. You can be sillier, use magic, and interact in a way you rarely see in theatre for an older audience. Children are also the most honest audience you will ever have. If they don’t like it, they’ll tell you. But, if they like it, they’re the best audience you could ask for because they are with you so completely – they care so much. It’s very rare to find that in a theatre with an older audience.
The simple art of play is important. How do you feel play encourages learning?
I don’t think play is simple. It takes a lot of work to be playful. To play with someone else, you have to listen, communicate, and work together to build. You learn from other people through play with what they teach you, or what goes right and wrong. It builds relationships with those that you play with. You don’t stop “playing” when you grow older – or at least you shouldn’t. Play might change when you grow older, but the ability to play is a quality I appreciate highly in someone, and finding someone truly playful is unfortunately pretty rare in adults. Keep playing.
From award-winning music to award-winning podcasts. What is next for The Beanies?
World domination, duh. Before that there are a few steps … probably. We hope to perform in theatres more with our musical The Beanies’ Egg-straordinary Day and we also want to eventually have our own TV show.