Interview: Benjamin Maio Mackay – (Part 3) Vocal Characterisation in The Phoenix Files


Young Adelaide actor, director, writer, singer, producer, host, podcaster and entrepreneur, Benjamin Maio Mackay, has adapted Chris Morphew’s best-selling Australian young adult novels, The Phoenix Files, into an exciting new audio drama; the first instalment of which will be available this coming Thursday, 30 Nov 2017. It will feature a multitude of local Adelaide talent PLUS BAFTA nominee and Doctor Who star Paul McGann (the Eighth Doctor), Australian acting legend John Jarratt (Wolf Creek) and Chaser member, Andrew Hansen.

Benjamin kindly took time to chat to Glam about this exciting new project.

In this third and last interview  Glam chats to Benjamin and and cast member, Jennifer Barry, an expert in vocal characters.

B.G.: Hello Jennifer, who do you play and what attributes do you really like about the character?

J.B.: I play Georgia Burke and a smaller character called Ms Benson. Georgia is the youngest character I’ve ever played at 6 years old and I’ve voiced a lot of child roles. It was therefore really interesting to get in the mindset of an even younger child, as a 27 year old because I had to breakaway all the adult thoughts in my head and Georgia became this very naive character – almost like a blank slate. She’s very innocent, which a lot of children are, but that changes a lot quicker for many of the older characters – so it’s nice that she’s a reminder of innocence. Georgia becomes the example of what they need to protect. Ms Benson on the other hand was a lot of fun, as she’s in her 50s and as a 27 year old the vast difference between the voices was fun to create. That’s the joy of working on an audio drama, as you can easily play roles well outside of your physical wheelhouse.

B.G.: Jennifer, a question for both you and Benjamin – Given that you have worked together a few times, what forges the special bond that you feel your working relationship has?

J.B.: We’ve worked together so much it’s very easy to bounce off each other and I know exactly how Benjamin would direct a scene without him having to say anything.

B.M.M.: I started working with Jenny almost 10 years ago and having a working relationship that spans that long is rare. Jenny has this great vocal versatility that is so rare these days. She can easily voice children and then go straight into someone 3 times her age; that’s such a rare quality that you don’t want to lose. As I’ve produced and directed a number of audio projects, it just makes sense to keep casting her. 

As of today (Thurs 30 Nov 2017), you can purchase The Phoenix Files: Man in the Shadows now from iTunes, Amazon and Google Play and from



Google Play:

Interview by Brian Godfrey



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Arts Editor, Glam Adelaide. South Australia's positive news website, proudly supporting the Arts.

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