NIDA’s June Season presents four re-imagined masterworks
NIDA’s 2022 June Season of Student Productions presented four fully staged and thoughtfully created plays showcasing the skills and work of 130 students. The season re-examined masterworks that speak to the here and now with Falsettos, How I Learned to Drive, Picnic at Hanging Rock and live cinema event The Seagull.
NIDA CEO Liz Hughes said, “As a training ground that is one of the most powerful launchpads for entertainment industry professionals in the world, NIDA never shies away from stretching the creative storytelling muscles of its students or addressing some of the most important and difficult issues in society today. This season of productions is deeply affecting, its themes and performances will resonate with audiences and create unforgettable theatre experiences.”
Along with impressive and moving performances by Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) Acting students, the season also showcased the work of students from the BFA Design for Performance, Technical Theatre and Stage Management, Scenic Construction, Costume and Props, Master of Fine Arts (MFA) Directing, as well as Diplomas in Musical Theatre and in Stage and Screen Performance. From revolving stages to a live fountain with running water and fully automated moving furniture, each show presented students with an opportunity to push boundaries and stretch their creative muscles, supported by industry specialists.
View the Season Program here.
Above: the live cinema experience of The Seagull
Benjamin Schostakowski’s version of The Seagull stripped back Chekhov’s original play in a fusion of live performance and cinema. He said, “Our Seagull waltzes between ‘slice of life’ theatrical realism and stripped-back contemporary metatheatre – a world of artists and art-making process: cameras, exposed sets, backstage dressing rooms, light, and the theatre space itself. At the heart, we hold dear Chekhov’s intricate character studies which make the play what it is.”
Above: the movable set of The Seagull
Picnic at Hanging Rock presented a new adaptation of a hallmark of Australian gothic. Director and NIDA alumna Claudia Osborne said, “Bringing Tom Wright’s adaptation of Picnic At Hanging Rock to the stage is no mean feat. Of its performers, it requires total vocal dexterity, and the ability to seamlessly slide in and out of multiple characters and performance styles; of designers and technicians, the challenge of realising Hanging Rock, the central symbol of the work, which can (for obvious reasons) never be actualised. Embracing every task with courage, generosity, creativity and extraordinary dedication, the NIDA students have made what might have been a daunting task, a joyous one.”
Above: Picnic at Hanging Rock's dynamic props; a working fountain and rigged swing
Above: the void-like set of Picnic at Hanging Rock
Fresh from her six-month term as NIDA’s Artistic Associate, Tasnim Hossain was deeply involved in the curation of this NIDA June Productions Season and directed Paula Vogel’s Pulitzer-Prize winning play How I Learned to Drive. Tasnim said, “My hope for all students involved across this production, from first years to Masters students, is that they enter the industry with a toolkit to bring complex work to life. As artists, we care immensely about our work, but this process has focussed on extending that same care to each other. It’s been a pleasure and an honour to bring How I Learned to Drive to NIDA’s audiences. It remains a shining beacon of what theatre looks like when it centres the voices of those who have survived.”
Above: the set of How I Learned to Drive, with an automated moving table
Above: life-like props on How I Learned to Drive
Visionary musical theatre work Falsettos was directed by NIDA Artistic Director in Residence David Berthold in collaboration with musical director Michael Tyack AM and choreographer Kelley Abbey. David said, “I know of few music theatre works that are as uncompromising as Falsettos. The characters are exhibited in all their flaws. William Finn’s central achievement is to make these horribly flawed people somehow shine. They are all of us, even though we might not want to think it. How do we hold to the ground while the ground keeps shifting? How do we break through the games? How do we make family? How do we love?”
Above: Vivid design a feature of Falsettos
Above: some of the Falsettos cast
NIDA couldn’t present any of these high-calibre productions without support from the Australian Government, our Principal Partner for Property Services ARA, Principal Patron First Nations Program The Balnaves Foundation and Major Partners Technical Direction Company, as well as the trusts and foundations and generous individuals who make up our donors and supporters.
Feeling inspired? Applications are now open to study at NIDA in 2023. It’s free to apply to any of NIDA’s 13 full-time courses this year. For all information and how to apply visit apply.nida.edu.au.