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NIDA embraces musical theatre with Starstruck partnership

NIDA is excited to embrace the world of musical theatre with the launch of a partnership for the development of Starstruck, the stage musical.

Photo: Starstruck the film is being workshopped into a stage musical at NIDA. 

NIDA is excited to embrace the world of musical theatre with the launch of a partnership for the development of Starstruck, the stage musical.

The film was released in 1982, directed by Gillian Armstrong, with the story of a young female singer trying to break into the male dominated pop music industry against her mother’s wishes. The plot still resonates today amongst teenagers keen to pursue their creative dreams.

The stage musical will be workshopped for two weeks with NIDA students across disciplines, with a particular focus on adapting the ‘book’ of the musical.

Above: Writer Mitchell Butell with director Gillian Armstrong.
Below: Destination NSW CEO Sandra Chipchase, Producer Gary McQuinn, Palm Beach Pictures' David Elfick, Director Gillian Armstrong and NIDA Director/CEO Kate Cherry.

The development of the stage musical is driven by Garry McQuinn and RGM Productions with direction by Simon Phillips, script adaptation by Mitchell Butell, design by Brian Thomson and choreography by Andrew Hallsworth. The partnership enjoys the crucial support of Mushroom Music Publishing, Foundation Theatres, David Elfick’s Palm Beach Pictures and the NSW Government, through Destination NSW.

‘What an opportunity for us – we only have to look around this room to see the amazing entrepreneurial spirit that NIDA has been famous for and the potential for an astonishing future in musical theatre,’ said NIDA Director/CEO Kate Cherry at the launch event.

‘Musical theatre is an important part of the creative voice that many NIDA students discover here and this project resonates strongly with our commitment to provide an immersive creative environment with innovation at its heart,’ she said.

Photo: NIDA Vocational Diploma Musical Theatre students with Gary McQuinn, Kate Cherry, NIDA Director of Vocational Studies Mark Gaal and tutor Luke Byrne.

‘This partnership brings together very talented Australian creators and industry and government partners,’ said Garry McQuinn. Garry acknowledged the film’s director Gillian Armstrong and designer Brian Thomson, who brings continuity into the new adaption.

Garry spoke of his enormous gratitude to NIDA, where he began as a student (Technical Production, 1977), worked as a teacher and is now with the NIDA Foundation. ‘Most shows from overseas go through a massive cauldron of development, from out of town theatres, regional try outs, off Broadway - a real process of testing the show. Here in Australia we don’t spend enough time getting the words right, and that is what this collaboration is about.’

NIDA Director of Vocational Studies Mark Gaal acknowledged the industry experience that the NIDA students will receive from the collaboration. ‘The Starstruck workshop is a terrific opportunity for NIDA’s Diploma of Music Theatre students – their training is all about preparation for industry and we are extremely fortunate to have this formal collaboration with guest artists of this calibre.’

Directed by Simon Phillips (Priscilla Queen of the Desert, Ladies in Black, Muriel’s Wedding), set designed by the Tony Award-winning Thomson, (for the 1996 Broadway production of The King and I) and choreographed by Andrew Hallsworth (Anything Goes, Sweet Charity), Starstruck the Stage Musical will be explored for NIDA’s graduating class of 2019.

Applications are now open to study NIDA's Vocational Diploma in Musical Theatre in 2019. Apply here.

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