Arts

Students thrive in theatre scene

JORDAN NIX

Performance students from Curtin University are taking the next step in their careers by working on several Perth theatre productions.

More than 10 students are involved in writing, directing, acting and designing the upcoming production of When We Wake by the Clap Your Hands Collective at The Blue Room Theatre.

When We Wake director Michael Collins says the collective was formed by young students wanting to create their own work.

“One of the most proactive things we can do as emerging artists is to find and create our own work,” Collins says.

Collins says the production will be the first time many collective members have worked professionally.

“University is a great place to develop our skills but now we are ready to put what we have learnt into practice in a space like The Blue Room,” he says.

“We’re really proud to say that young people have been involved in every aspect of our show.”

Other students are also involved in shows at The Blue Room and are being mentored in marketing and design.

Performance Studies lecturer Teresa Izzard says The Blue Room plays an integral part in developing Curtin students.

“It’s absolutely imperative that the Blue Room exists in Perth for everybody but it’s also becoming increasingly a place where emerging artists can get experience,” she says.

Ms Izzard is responsible for the Professional Performance Practice unit at Curtin University that introduces students to industry professionals and develops their grant-writing abilities.

“This is the only unit of its kind in Perth so it’s important it gets maintained,” she says.

“It’s a very wise investment and you can already see the effects through participation in The Blue Room.”

Student productions of established plays Zoo Story and Pool (no water) are now seeking opportunities to give the shows a life outside of university.

Pool (no water) co-director Verity Softly says the production has helped eliminate some concerns about the industry.

“As a young artist in Perth it sometimes feels there’s just no opportunity to develop your craft,” Softly says.

“I feel like we’ve helped eliminate those feelings.”

Softly says the group aims to keep working and is in talks with The Fremantle Arts Festival to remount the work, a preview of which is shown below.

“The real pleasure in being able to work on Pool was the opportunity to play with such an amazing text, and in a space where we were free to experiment,” she says.

Performance Studies Course Coordinator and Lecturer John Freeman says working on productions is a positive step but needs to be put into professional context.

“The amount of production work available, both on and off campus, is really useful, but the reality is about making a living, rather than making work in a different venue,” he says.

“That said, bridging the gap between university and professional work is always something to be encouraged.”

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