There’s something unique about theatre productions. They are probably the most high pressure and demanding experiences you can have here at university: rushing to finish a set, posting maniacally on social media in mediocre attempts of promotion, the classic pre-show jitters. They bring the strangest of people together, all in the pursuit of entertaining, provoking, and challenging an audience. There is nothing more satisfying than opening a show to a receptive and engaged audience. That feeling is addictive.
Production weeks have been the best and worst weeks of my life. I’ve made life-long friends and probably some enemies behind the stage of student theatre, and it is something that I may never have been involved in if I wasn’t at the ANU. Backstage has seen my frantic attempts to finish a statistics assignment, cast love webs, and way too many nights out post-show. Seriously, I went out every night of Arts Revue – it was ridiculous. There is something truly magical about being involved in student theatre. It completely engulfs you.
The range and talent of theatre at ANU is astonishing. From Interhall Productions’ technical professionalism to the hard hitting dramas of N.U.T.S, to the well-written revues of the Med, Law, and Arts faculties, there is something to satisfy everyone. And it’s only getting better. These student societies are becoming more experienced, in terms of talent and technical skill, and more ambitious. This is telling from the sheer number of CAT (Canberra Area Theatre) nominations for N.U.T.S plays: in 2014, they included Interhall Productions’ “Spamalot”, Med Revue, and John XXIII College Production of “Cosi”, in categories ranging from best director, best production, and best featured actors/actresses.
2015 is already set to be a big year for student theatre, with the introduction of Science Revue, and rumours of a Griffin Hall Production. So what exactly should you being looking out for? N.U.T.S 2015 Season entitled “Two” is set to explore dualities within our society. Productions range from an examination of women and her role within a society in Sophie Treadwell’s “Machinal,” the classic Stoppard comedy “The Real Inspector Hound,” and the haunting Australian drama, “Wolf Lullaby.” Interhall Productions is taking on Miss Saigon, a dramatic piece set in the Vietnam War; this will be an ambitious project due on the stage in late October, finishing off the 2015 ANU theatre season.
The College Season will start in Semester 2, with various productions being put on by all residential colleges. I’m not privy on details as of yet, but I’m sure Fenner Hall can find another musical (one evenmore obscene than Moby Dick the Musical), B&G will steal a prime musical choice from Interhall Productions, and Johns may even do ANOTHER play within a play.
My advice to first years is to get involved in campus life as soon as possible in as many ways as possible, and one of the best ways to do so is through student theatre. From acting to directing to producing to stage management to more technical roles, the opportunities available are immense and it may be your only chance to get involved. Want more information? Check out some stalls at market day, talk to the exec and get amongst it – you won’t regret it.