Date posted: 21/04/2021 5 min read

Meet the CA in cabaret: Nikki Nouveau CA

Cabaret, songwriting, financial analysis… Melbourne-based chanteuse Nikki Nouveau CA knows show business from all sides.

In Brief

  • Nikki Nouveau CA has used her CA skills to develop her own theatre production company.
  • She completed an MBA in 2006 and then the CA Program.
  • Before COVID, Nouveau was performing full-time, but during Melbourne's lockdown she had a financial analyst role.

As told to Jo McKinnon

How long have you been performing?

Since I was a teenager. I took myself to opera lessons and my first performance was in a church where I sang the “Vilja” aria from The Merry Widow. I’ve always loved performance and the arts, so it was natural for me to follow that path. Now I’m a cabaret producer and performing artist.

Pre-COVID, I was performing full-time. That’s to say, I was earning a living from my performing. With COVID restrictions now easing [in Australia], I’m able to resume that schedule. I’ve been touring my show No Regrets – The Edith Piaf Story, which I first developed and performed in 2016.

Are people surprised to find out you’re a qualified accountant?

Yes! It’s not often that you get the two sides of the brain, the left brain and the right brain, working. I think that surprises people.

I decided to complete an MBA (in 2006 at the University of Technology, Sydney), and then the CA Program, because I realised I wanted to have my own business.

The skills I gained – leadership, analysis, professionalism – have been invaluable in running my production company. I absolutely love the analytical side of finance and using that training to assist in decision-making.

Nikki Nouveau CAPicture: Nikki Nouveau CA. Image credit: Bruce Daly.

“I absolutely love the analytical side of finance and using that training to assist in decision-making.”
Nikki Nouveau CA

Performance and finance are very different skill sets, but I think it’s important to combine the two working in the arts industry.

There aren’t too many accountants who do cabaret, but I’m starting to see a lot more performers incorporating business knowledge into running their arts business.

What does doing a show involve?

I write the scripts for my shows, come up with the concept and choose the talent. With the business side, I manage the finances, manage people and business development. Generally, it takes between two to four months to create a show. My Edith Piaf show didn’t incorporate any choreography or movements, so that one took a little bit less time than the others.

My favourite aspect of performance is connecting with the audience. It is such an amazing feeling. On the flip side, there’s also a lot of energy that goes into performance and a lot of practice, practice, practice. But this is absolutely essential to delivering quality, polished entertainment.

How did you deal with last year’s COVID lockdowns?

Because of COVID most of my productions were either cancelled or postponed. Fortunately, just before COVID hit, I was able to secure a full-time government contract as a financial analyst. This carried me through the heavy lockdown in Victoria. I was actually able to work from home, which was fantastic.

Lockdown offered me the opportunity to develop new skills and to explore new revenue streams. I was able to complete a music licensing course and take music business master classes.

Where do you see yourself in five years?

I hope to be expanding my performance and music business further, as well as creating more evocative and inspiring cabaret productions.

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