28 alumni and guests were hosted at the State Theatre Company of South Australia’s Corporate Hospitality Night for the company’s 2015 Adelaide Festival of Arts production Beckett Triptych which featured three of Beckett’s best known plays Footfalls, Eh Joe and Krapp’s Last Tape.
Prior to the performance, the directors of each play spoke about the plays and their roles as directors. All three, Geordie Brookman, Nescha Jelk and Corey McMahon, are Flinders alumni and each also commented on the role Flinders had played in their training as directors.
Geordie Brookman (Footfalls), also the Company’s Artistic Director, spoke of how Flinders taught him, amongst many other things, “a great respect for the expertise of the rest of the creative team. The collaborative precision required to pull off a piece like ‘The Beckett Triptych’ would have been hard to achieve without this shared approach.”
Nescha Jelk (Krapp’s Last Tape) who started out as an acting student pointed to the intimate class sizes at the Drama Centre where individual students get greater attention from their teachers. Dr Anne Thompson, the current Director of Studies at Drama Centre, noticed her abilities would be suited to directing, and invited her to start the directing course. “Without this individual attention”, Nescha said that she “may have never considered becoming a director. Needless to say, I am eternally grateful to Dr Thompson and Flinders Drama Centre for leading me to a passionate career path.”
“Flinders’ Directing Course is the only 4 year course in Australia” said Corey McMahon (Eh Joe) and “I found the combination of academic rigor, comprehensive training in dramaturgy and theatre design plus the opportunity to direct up to 9 productions across the life of the course set me up for the best possible entry into the industry”
Since 2011, the University has been in a valuable partnership with the State Theatre Company which provides valuable opportunities for the next generation of actors, directors and playwrights to develop their skills and knowledge in a creative and innovative environment through real-world experience. The engagement between students and staff provides invaluable extension to the formal program of studies provided at the Flinders Drama Centre.
Many Drama Centre graduates have become key personnel at the State Theatre Company which is South Australia’s flagship professional theatre company, and where they have contributed to its historically successful programs and productions since its founding in 1972.
The partnership also seeks to promote the University brand, profile achievements, provide opportunities to entertain and connect with stakeholders and alumni, and enhance educational opportunities and the ‘student experience’.
Testament to its capacity to establish and maintain strong programs with long-term relevance is the Flinders Drama Centre. For more than 40 years it has been recognised as a Centre of Excellence for acting and directing programs, selecting and training precociously talented young people for professional careers in theatre, film and television.
Flinders Drama Centre graduates make significant contributions to the entertainment industry – nationally and internationally – and have been founding members of numerous creative companies.
State Theatre Company is the principal source of professional theatre in South Australia and a vital component of the dynamic cultural sector. On the national stage it is recognised as one of Australia’s key cultural assets: one of 28 companies that comprise the Major Performing Arts sector which is funded through tripartite agreements with the Australia Council for the Arts and respective State Arts Ministries.
Recognised as a performing arts organisation with a strong brand and profile, the State Theatre Company provides South Australia with high-quality theatre that is diverse, entertaining and challenging, and is recognised also as one of Australia’s key cultural assets.