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Creative Students Form Acting Club

A team of creative students has formed a theatre club to deliver stage performances, encompassing all faculty disciplines.

The collaboration saw University of Canberra students from fashion, music, drama and acting come together to form the UC Theatre Club and perform for live audiences.

"We started the club to do extracurricular workshops and shows for students by students, encompassing everything from costumes, sound and light, acting, producing and everything in between," explained Samuel Peacock, the club's creator.

"When working together, we get instant knowledge and insights into everything that goes into producing a stage show.

We're learning every facet and applying it in a business sense, so when we put on a production, students from every discipline get an appreciation for other areas of the creative process."

Giving students an even better understanding of how the creative business works are industry speakers who offer expertise, advice and guidance on topics such as lighting, sound, storytelling and art, giving them a thorough understanding of the industry.

"We've had prominent actors visit to talk about the history of art, their journey, how they perceived creativity. We've theatre company speakers who spoke about what it's like touring, directing and running a creative business."

"While here, Allie Pope from Jally Entertainment cast a TAFE at School acting student into a lead role in her production of 'Snow White and the seven cool dudes' that's touring Australia."

Currently, the club is producing a play called "One More Hour" by Marianne Butler, which tells the story of three Dogs – Fate, Chance and Hope – who each try to lead their humans to safety in a fast-disintegrating post-apocalyptical world.

To bring the play to life, students from multiple creative streams, including drama, fashion, music, and lighting, will work together to dazzle the audience.

"By producing a play this way, we're learning in a collaborative 'work-simulated learning environment', and we're getting insights into how each team operates to meet timelines and simulating the industry," continued Samuel.

"Each production area organises costumes, rehearsals, stage lighting, sound and music, directing, marketing, ticketing, and finally performing in front of a live audience. It couldn't happen without each team working together to ensure they deliver their part of the production on time," said Samuel.

"There's magic to developing production, with all the different teams feeding into it. We make sure the production's look and feel matches the original, and it’s fun to collaborate, learn and develop everyone's skills and talents to bring it to life," he said.

The club's biggest challenge has been getting up and running, organising schedules with the already busy student timetables and projects and stepping out of the UC arena and into one that is purely responsible for students.

"Working with a diverse group of over 20 people from all over the faculty did confuse - as we often didn't understand each other's technical jargon, and it was almost like speaking a different language!" said Samuel.

"Most of us have never worked in any area of the industry before this, so it was a challenge to ensure everyone knew what was needed every step of the way to get the production completed.”

“But there's no other way to get the experience of working in a large cross-functional team as we will in the industry. And it's cool that we created a production the same way the industry runs their shows," he said.

Some key players that have made this happen for the Club include teachers Lisa O'Neill, Patrick Mitchell and Anatoly Frusin from the drama department have been key support.

The administration team including Megan Cowan, Sallyann Bower, Nicole Kaur Gill, Janelle Raynor and Elloise Hammerman have made such an impact in supporting and developing the club and dealing with the constant questions and developments Samuel has produced. 

Director of Faculty, Jackie French, says that considering the vital role that the arts play in society, it's fantastic that the students, teachers and administrators have collaborated to learn all the intricacies involved in creating a stage production in a 'work-simulated learning environment'.

"The arts are an important part of modern culture, with stage shows playing a massive role in the creative industry," said Ms French.

 "But more importantly, the creative industry offers employment opportunities to our students from all disciplines. Actors, costume designers, and stage managers are the tip of a massive and lucrative iceberg; there is real work for creators of all types. The key is working together," she said.