“Casting all actors and directors: This is the month to make it Short+Sweet.”
The curtains may have just closed on the 2017 Melbourne Fringe but don’t despair, October still holds plenty of delights for the theatrically unsatiated.
Aside from the larger main stage events for the theatre-going, this independent production ‘shoulder season’ between the Edinburgh and Adelaide Fringe is a great time to incubate new projects and get back amongst the industry for some ‘connecting’ (the warmer and more mutually-beneficial version of the somewhat grubbier, graspier, and frankly a tad 1980’s cheap suit-sounding ‘networking’).
Connectivity is the lifeline of the industry, where we as artists, casting professionals and all industry talent can create a vibrant hub of collaboration. But how best exactly to get amongst it?
“Theatre is a huge part of my experience … Having connections with so many veteran actors in the industry certainly helped the casting process.” – Martin Sharpe
“I truly believe that theatre opens many doors. It is the gateway for any actor, director or even producer to understand the craft and work ethic required to achieve any form of success in our industry. “
– Ivan Bradara
Scene from ‘Serving Joy’, featuring a theatrically star-studded cast of some of Australia’s premier talent
At the age of two, Karis Scarlette had begun ballet classes. By six, she was handpicked to be taught by The Royal Ballet Company at The Royal Opera House’s Chance to Dance Program. At age seven, Karis was a Royal Ballet Junior Associate, quickly progressing to The Royal Ballet School. In her first major performance, The Royal Ballet Company’s Tales of Beatrix Potter choreographed by Sir Frederick Ashton, she danced the role of a baby mouse at the age of just 9.
“When you create great art the rest will follow.”
Luke Robson is the kind of filmmaker you can imagine one day quietly winning an Academy Award, then the next slipping invisibly back to work into teaching class or behind the camera.
“There’s something to be said for seeing someone go from working double shifts in hospitality 6 days a week to getting flown first class across the world to do something they love.”
Aussies in LA. For a relatively sparsely numbered, fairly chilled out bunch so far south that the next stop straight down is the South Pole, we certainly hold our own in the Megatropolis of Dreams.
What is the secret to this much touted Australian success in Hollywood? Is it training? Optimism? Opportunity? Work ethic? Is it positive subliminal conditioning from growing up in a society prizing, at least philosophically, ‘a fair go’? As our second year acting teacher, the indomitable Australian actor and director Mark Constable would cheerfully announce after we gave a particularly horrific performance: “well, you gave it a crack!” Without delving into a complex socio-cultural analysis, it is probably fair to say that Australian actors aren’t afraid to take risks. And it is certainly paying unmistakeable dividends.
Now there’s a new kid on the LA block and his name is Damian Sommerlad. Fresh outta Syd-city having filmed Australian feature Life of the Party starring Holly Brisely, Damian has worked in London, Australia and now is hitting LA with a vengeance — and he has some great ‘top tips’ for success.
The power of creativity.
“Virginia Woolf when starting out as a young writer described the curse of the phantom woman whose shadow used to watch over her shoulder as she wrote, the phantom insisting that Woolf mustn’t offend, that she shouldn’t let the world know that she had her own mind. Woolf killed that phantom woman with her bare hands. She had to.” – Felicity Wentzel
All artists have their phantom; actors, directors, writers, casting professionals, indeed anyone engaged in the artistic process, must wrestle the voice of fear and doubt in order to create. In such a subjective medium, often tackling life’s heavy-hitting moments, how do we overcome self-doubt to trust inspiration? How can art lend voice to stories that we feel deserve to be told? How can we use humour to heal and unite?
Image courtesy of LACE
“For me, the role of the artist is to be a rebel.”
This month, it’s over to Los Angeles for an empowering workshop with Brian Estwick. If you’re at all artistically “stuck,” feeling overwhelmed by the current political climate, or finding that despite your best efforts, success continues to evade you, then read on.
With an M.A. in Art History, Brian offers empowering strategies to help artists and actors live according to the “First Principles of their Life and Work” to become a “vibrational colossi of energy and truth.”
Together with his LA based theatre collective, The DIAMOND Theatre Project, upcoming film Desert Eyes, cable series Midvale, and a two-woman play Pressure Cooker, as well as commercial acting work, Brian works across a rich variety of artistic mediums.
The Ripper Street Cast onset. Image: BBC America
“It’s not just about the actors, the directors or your own team. Everyone is making this show happen and good working relationships are so important.”
Theatre, film, and TV bring imaginative worlds to life, transporting us through the magic of so many unseen creative hearts and minds. We so often celebrate actors, the ‘front-men/women’ of a production’s colossal galleon that is, in fact, sailed, steered, and charted by so many other (often unsung) talented artists: craftspeople and specialists. The very visual artistic screen and stage mediums owe much to their intricately styled and detailed costuming (evident in the jarring response we so often have to seeing, say, a watch on a Roman solider’s arm, instantly pulling us out of the world’s verisimilitude).
If you are one of these talented people who work so tirelessly behind the scenes to enrich our senses (and make actors’ lives so much easier), then we salute you! Or if, perhaps, you are an actor (or other creative) fascinated by the beautiful, tumbling world of silks, tapestries, scratchy old hessian sacks, gold, beading, and embroidery, then Casting Networks Australia is delighted to bring you these 5 Top Tips for Working in Costume with the gorgeous and talented Fern McCauley, actress and purveyor of costumes to the stars, who has worked on some of the UK’s best screen and stage projects.
Judi Dench, Luke Treadaway, Lesley Manville and Mark Gatiss come off stage at the Olivier Awards 2016. Image: Official London Theatre
London is undoubtedly theatre-lovers’ heaven—production variety, volume ,and quality are simply unrivaled. Londoners embrace theatre with the same enthusiasm and with as much gusto as Sydneysiders do brunch. Despite long work commutes, sky-high living costs, damp, dark, short days, and the exhausting, overcrowded daily battle, Londoners still find time for theatre. On any given evening, Leicester Square is packed with a throng of theatre-goers and shouting discount ticket sellers, Soho Theatre Bar is bursting at the seams, while away from the West-End, fringe theatres and pub venues spill out onto the footpaths, awash with the young blooded of theatre’s pumping pulse.
So you—stage-loving actor—land ready to tackle this wonderful world. You are British agentless, but with your hard-yakka Australian work ethic are confident that you can apply the same nouse to make it happen on the London stage.
Where to start?
Robin in Rehearsal. Photo credit Pamela Raith.
“The power of imagination makes us infinite.”
Despite being in the relative spring-time of his career, producer Robin Rayner has already gained a reputation as both one of the most sought-after and best-liked members of the UK theatre industry.
Robin’s work spans the stage’s most grandiose heights (as of this month, he is the Associate General Manager of the prestigious Olivier Awards) to its most intimate, providing a platform for bold new work through his production company TREMers and a voice for independent artists by way of the provocative showcase Political Pageantry.
“To create something (however large or small) is a wonderful thing—to excite and inspire, contagious.”
Together with TREMers co-founder Tom O’Brien (currently Resident Director of West End hit Half a Sixpence), Robin seems to have mastered the art of theatre production and its delicate demands of successfully gaining Arts Council Funding, receiving 5-star reviews and multiple award nominations.
“Groundbreaking theatrical productions can be created through spoken word and the power of imagination.”