Drama graduates come home to roost

Senior research fellow (drama) Associate Professor Stephen Curtis will deliver this year’s memorial Wal Cherry Lecture at the Space Theatre on 20 October.

Flinders creative arts graduates continue to make a big impact – from the bumper 2018 season for State Theatre Company SA to smaller productions by children’s theatre cooperative Windmill.

Several current Adelaide stage productions are featuring star graduates of the drama, directing and playwriting at Flinders.

The ‘all-Flinders graduate’ theatre company ‘isthisyours?‘ returns to the Matthew Flinders Theatre at Bedford Park this month (until 6 October) to rehearse their new show Angelique.

isthisyours? was launched in 2007 by Jude Henshall, Louisa Mignone, Nadia Rossi, Ellen Steele and Tessa Leong who have been collaborating since meeting as students at Flinders Drama Centre.

Their largest work to date, Angeliquewas written by Duncan Graham, designed by Jonathon Oxlade and Tessa Leong will direct. The show will feature Jude, Louisa, Nadia and Ellen with a total cast of 13.

Rehearsals will be held in their old stomping ground at Flinders for two weeks, ahead of the show’s premiere at Her Majesty’s Theatre in Grote Street, Adelaide.

Several recent and current graduates from the Flinders Drama Centre (Bachelor of Creative Arts) will have the opportunity work intensively with company members ahead of the show’s premiere.

They include Annabel Matheson, Rebecca Mayo, Mikayla Lynch, David Arcidiaco, Alice Marsh and Alys Messenger, who will have the chance to join the company in the future.

The theatre company was recently named as the recipient of the 2017 Capacity Building Program for South Australian Artists and Arts Organisations awarded by the Sidney Myer Fund and the James and Diana Ramsay Foundation.

It is the story of a young girl, Angelique, who is beginning to see the world crack open in front of her very eyes. Her sister is missing, her parents are acting like strangers and a talking bird haunts her day and night.

The Alice in Wonderland-esque style show is an immersive theatrical work specifically created with Her Majesty’s Theatre space in mind.

Angelique is presented by Insite Arts and Adelaide Festival Centre as part of the inSPACE Program and will run at Her Majesty’s Theatre from 13–21 October.

Also in the city, Flinders graduates have been involved with another experimental production at the Noel Lothian Hall at Adelaide Botanic Garden.

The premiere of Julie presented by Foul Play Theatre (29 September-14 October) features Flinders talent from playwright Holly Brindley, producer (Lisa Harper Campbell), stage manager (Chiara Gabrielli) and actors Lucia van Sebille, Emma Beech and Nick Bennett.

Julie explores female power and sexuality, re-interpreting August Strindberg’s 1888 play Miss Julie into present day South Australia. Bookings here

Tickets just $15 for people under 30. Go to Foul Play Theatre on Facebook Twitter and Instagram (and follow #foulplayjulie).

Next year, Flinders partner State Theatre Company of South Australia will mount its largest ever state-wide touring program taking productions to 14 venues across South Australia. Touring venues will include Port Pirie, Elizabeth, Golden Grove, Noarlunga, Mount Barker, Goolwa, Renmark, Barossa, Whyalla, Port Lincoln, Roxby Downs, Port Augusta and Leigh Creek.

State Theatre Company Artistic Director Geordie Brookman (and distinguished Flinders alumnus) with Executive Director and Producer Jodi Glass. Photo James Hartley courtesy State Theatre Company South Australia.

2018 marks the company’s biggest ever season with two additional productions, and its highest number of commissioned works – four of the nine productions will have their premiere in South Australia. Several feature the talents of outstanding Flinders alumni, including the next two ensemble productions by STC artistic director Geordie Brookman – Sense and Sensibility and In The Club featuring Flinders-trained actor Rachel Burke.

Written by Patricia Cornelius, one of Australia’s most awarded playwrights, In the Club explores the off-field culture surround AFL players, the treatment of women and the ‘club behind the club’.

In May 2018 the world premiere of Fleur Kilpatrick’s Terrestrial will be staged at the Matthew Flinders Theatre before going on tour in regional and metropolitan SA (until June 19) and returning to Adelaide’s Space Theatre (May 23 – June 2). Terrestrial is directed by former STC resident director Nescha Jelk, a graduate of Flinders’ directing course.

Set in remote South Australia, Terrestrial centres on the connection between a newly arrived outsider and a local in a small remote town, against the backdrop of the community collapsing in on itself with the impending mine closure.

Duncan Graham’s twisted new version of the Swedish great August Strindberg’s classic emotional thriller Creditors arrives in Adelaide in July.  Creditors is directed by Flinders acting graduate David Mealor and features stage and screen star Caroline Craig (Anzac Girls, Blue Heelers). After Dinner from master playwright Andrew Bovell (The Secret River, Lantana) will be directed by directing graduate Corey McMahon and star Jude Henshall from the acting course.

Rosalba Clemente, Head of Acting at the Flinders Drama Centre, will star in a new State Theatre Ccompany production called The Gods of Strangers.

Flinders Drama Centre director Rosalba Clemente will herself feature in The Gods of Strangers which finishes the 2018 STC program with a premiere in Port Pirie before it opens in Adelaide.

The Gods Of Strangers, by rising star local playwright Elena Carapetis, brings the stories of her Greek and Cypriot family to the stage in a play that explores the immigrant experience in post-war Australia.

The Gods Of Strangers represents a significant moment for State Theatre Company. The debut of a large-scale new dramatic work is a significant milestone for the company as it celebrates premiering a work made through drawing on the stories of two of our migrant communities and their experiences in one of our regional centres.

At the launch of the State Theatre Company’s 2018 season, Geordie Brookman announced his contract extension until 2019 when he’ll become one of State Theatre Company’s longest serving artistic directors. As part of a well-managed succession plan for the company, Geordie will program the 2019 season, his seventh for the company, before handing over the reins to a new Artistic Director in mid-2019. Later in 2019, Geordie is planning a move to Europe with his young family.

He says 2018 represents “another ambitious step in the company’s aspiration to deliver international class theatre all over South Australia”.

“I’m delighted that four out of our nine works come from our commissioning program, reaffirming our commitment to being one of the best new work companies in the country.”

Also next year, the award-winning Windmill Theatre plans to remount GRUG for an international tour. The production, by director and co-creator Sam Haren, also features a 2016 Flinders graduate Pat Macauliffe. Windmill this year staged a successful show called BEEP directed by Flinders graduate Sam Haren and featured another popular graduate Antoine Jelk.

Distinguished theatre designer Stephen Curtis (The Secret River), who is a visiting Senior Research Fellow (Drama) at Flinders University, will present this year’s Wal Cherry Lecture at the Space Theatre, Adelaide Festival Centre from 6pm on Friday 20 October. ‘How theatre works: the art of collaboration’ will give insights into making great theatre and even explain how theatre’s collaborative example can be used to transform corporate creativity. Register here 


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