VCA students collaborate in exciting new works

June 15 / 160

Irma. Image supplied.
Irma. Image supplied.

For the first time, music theatre, interactive composition and production students at the VCA and MCM have collaborated to produce ‘Mongrel/2015’, two programs of exciting new short works at Grant Street Theatre from 16 – 20 June.

The only creative boundary for the works was that the music theatre students had to employ at least two of their three key performance skill areas. 

“The artistic world in which they are playing is therefore enormous,” said Head of Music Theatre, Margot Fenley. “They could make dance theatre, plays with songs, chamber opera, song and dance (of whatever genre) or even work for which we don’t yet have a name.  

“And this world has only widened this year with the collaboration with the Interactive Composition students who bring new ideas about what music can be in a theatrical context.  

“For the music theatre students, this project doesn’t just ask ‘what is music theatre?’ Most excitingly it asks ‘what can music theatre be?’” 

The students have been worked under the guidance of actor/director/writer Maude Davey, known for her innovations in burlesque theatre, and composer/musician Peter Farnan, of Boom Crash Opera fame. 

“Maude Davey and Peter Farnan were my first choice for this project,” said Ms Fenley, “not only because of their professional experience in making music theatre and theatre with music, but also because of their history of collaboration on projects.  

“They are brilliant at teasing out ideas with students, allowing them to see where an idea might go, not limiting the work by their own artistic taste but always moving the ideas forward.”  

Head of Interactive Composition, Associate Professor Mark Pollard, said that while large group artistic collaborations can be complex and difficult to realise, “they come with enormous artistic, educational and personal rewards.” 

“One of the biggest rewards has been the opportunity for the interactive composition students to work with the brilliance of Maude Davey and Pete Farnan and of course collaborate with the amazing music theatre and production students,” he said. 

For the production students, the works have been an opportunity to practise and extend existing skills, as well as developing new skills. 

“Many of these students have not previously worked within this format of devised work and this opportunity exposes them to a new performance paradigm,” said Head of Production, Kym Williams.

Mongrel/2015 runs from 16 - 20 June. For the full program and bookings please see here.

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