The Flinders Festival of Creative Arts is in full swing and on 17 Nov the Drama Student Showcase: be/coming will be taking place. Time to meet two of the graduating students, Jack Calver and Ella Le Fournour.
Taking acting classes as a teenager, Jack found himself cast in a Fringe show in 2017. He then attempted his first script and won the State Theatre Company’s Young Playwright’s Award straight away. Encouraged by his success, Jack tried producing and directing for the first time.
“Shortly after, I started up my own theatre company, Glassroom Theatre, which I used to present my play at the 2018 Adelaide Fringe. But even as I presented another show in 2019, I didn’t see myself having a long-term career in the arts and the drama course at the Flinders Drama Centre was the only one I auditioned for. I thought to myself that if I wasn’t admitted, I would find a career elsewhere but thankfully, I won a spot and I now feel set on a career I will follow for my lifetime”, Jack tells us.
Jack draws inspiration from actors who also work as producers to proactively create their own content, rather than wait for opportunities to arise. “There are many amazing artists who do so but, I’m heavily inspired by the work of Cate Blanchett and Leonardo DiCaprio in particular. I love how they’ve used their platforms to promote social justice issues and have managed to stay grounded and down-to-earth. Their dedication and big-picture perspective are something I hope to emulate in my own work in the future.”
Whilst still wanting to keep himself open to opportunities in Adelaide, Jack is also looking to branch out interstate to Melbourne, Sydney, and Brisbane. “I am in the process of restarting my theatre company again so that I can create projects that allow me to collaborate with other new and exciting artists. I also have a keen interest in film and television and am very excited to be heading into the industry at a time when such wonderful content is being made locally”.
Jack feels like Flinders has prepared him well for his future aspirations. “The rigour and the professionalism required to work in the Bachelor of Creative Arts (Drama) course have helped me feel ready to step into an industry that can often be quite demanding and competitive. The sense of community within the Drama Centre is a great support network to have when things do become difficult. Not only are we working with teachers and directors who have a plethora of professional experience themselves, but we are also working deeply and personally with those who could be our collaborators in the future.
“There are many projects I have worked on with my ensemble that I look back on and am extremely fond of. However, a project that I could say I am most proud of is a Fast-Track Film & Movement devising project we had to undertake in the second year. We were split into two different groups. One group had to create and act in a short film, whilst the other group was tasked with creating a 25-minute physical theatre work.
“We each had two weeks to complete the projects before we swapped the tasks around. The results and creativity that came out of such a time-pressure situation still amaze me and both projects have helped equip me with various tools I can now employ when devising my own work.
“It can be very challenging to be involved in the Drama course and this field, and it is easy to feel stuck and that your work is not getting you anywhere. To this, I would say: trust the process, be patient and continue throwing all of yourself into the work. The more you put in, the more you will develop and strengthen as an artist, even if it doesn’t feel so at the time. Rather than feeling worried or uncertain about the future, let it surprise you and take you wherever it needs you to go.”
Ella Le Fournour
Ella’s passion for drama began after seeing various State Theatre productions during her time in high school. “I had the opportunity to view shows and engage in behind-the-scenes activities with the artists, which led me to dedicating most of my time in high school to the art of drama and performing.
“The next natural step was to take this passion further and forge a career in the arts by auditioning for Flinders. I feel as though my journey is beginning to come full circle now. I am meeting and working alongside artists who I had the pleasure to view when I was younger and once served as my inspiration, and who now are my peers in the industry.
“Every time I see a new show, or work with new artists within the industry I am constantly inspired by their talent, dedication and commitment to the arts, and I can’t help but feel motivated and inspired by them.
“One of my biggest inspirations in the last four years is undoubtedly my teacher Dr Renato Musolino. It is an absolute privilege to have learnt the foundations of my skills from someone who is not only so respected within the industry, but through his constant work outside of the uni. He is truly such an incredible artist, teacher and friend, whose constant work ethic, attention to detail, and creativity are so evident in all he does and all he teaches to us.”
Ella proudly looks back on her work in her third-year production, Revolt, She Said. Revolt Again. “This production just so happened to be directed by the director of the Drama Student Showcase: be/coming, Anthony Nicola.
“It was the first piece of work where the rehearsal process between myself and a director was an entirely collaborative process, and a piece of me was enriched in the characters I brought to life, which was such a fulfilling experience.
“I had felt as if my skills as an actor finally were showcased at a level I was proud of, after almost three years of training. Now with this showcase, it is the first time I have developed a piece of work, by collaborating with various playwrights, teachers, peers and directors, and I am feeling a sense of pride within the piece in regard to what it stands for, what it represents, and how it is challenging the norms of what audiences may expect, or be accustomed to seeing on the stage.
“It is exciting to be presenting a work where I have no clue how it will be received, but I am proud nonetheless of it being one of the final pieces I perform at Flinders.”
Any opportunity to create art, work with like-minded individuals, and strive to achieve said sense of pride within everything she creates is Ella’s driving motivator every day. “It is such an exciting time for emerging artists within Australia, both in screen and theatre.
“Due to my love for the arts beginning in theatre, my primary love and passion will always lie there – the adrenaline that accompanies live performances, real-time connections and relationships being explored in front of audiences, and the opportunity to inspire any future artists sitting in the crowd one day is very heart-warming to me.
Besides having been taught the necessary foundations for drama, classical texts, script analysis and contemporary theatre, Ella also considers herself lucky to have access to state-of-the-art technology to assist in learning and creating screen acting material.
“This technology has helped comprise our personal portfolios that allow us to make connections to the industry both locally and across the country. This year has been one of the most valuable so far, as the focus has been preparing ourselves as best as possible to put ourselves out into the industry – with the best foot forward and creating material that best showcases our skills and passions.
“This showcase for example, not only being performed live, but also being live streamed across the country just goes to show how lucky we are as students, and Flinders’ dedication to ensuring their graduates receive the best exposure they possibly can at such a pivotal point in their early careers.
Now at the end of her studies, Ella’s tip to prospective students would be to embrace every single opportunity that comes their way. “Every. Single. One. I wanted to make sure I soaked up all that I could during my four years at Flinders.
“All students are offered such exclusive and beneficial opportunities even at such an early stage in their training with industry professionals, new teachers, even new technology, and encouraging yourself to say yes to all things new and all things scary genuinely helps build resilience as not only an actor but as a person.
“As much as I have grown and improved as an artist during my time here, my growth also as a person has been so valuable, and it wouldn’t have been possible without everything we learn during our training. Whether or not you use these skills on your own journey once you leave, every little bit helps create who you are.”
Watch the Drama Student Showcase
See how Jack and Ella’s training at the Flinders Drama Centre has paid off and come to one of three live performances at the Adelaide Festival Centre on November 17th.
Unable to make it to the venue that day? Not to worry, the Showcase will also be streamed to the Plaza at Flinders’ Bedford Park campus as well as online.
Register for the Drama live performances.