A MTC Experience

 

In the first week of the September holidays, I was given the opportunity to participate in the Melbourne Theatre Company’s annual Youth Scholarship Course for 2015. I was chosen, along with 24 other students ranging from Year 8 to 11 from schools across Victoria, to participate in a week long program of acting workshops and to observe and create performance materials. When I found out that I was one of the successful applicants, I couldn’t believe it! I had never expected to be chosen to be a part of such an amazing program, and was both excited and curious for that week.

On arriving at MTC Headquarters at the start of that week, I didn’t know what at all to expect of everyone else or what we would experience through the program. The majority of the program took place in the main rehearsal room, which was the same space where the companies’ professional actors rehearsed. The whole course was led by Jayne Bayly and Andrew Gray, and we were lucky enough to have three past participants of the course assisting us- Frances, Sean and Spencer. At first, it was a little nerve wracking, as none of us had ever met, so we were all quite surprised- and a little shocked- as less than a day after we had first been introduced, we were working together as a team like we had known each other for months.

Through the course of the week, we created solo, duo and group pieces which were often originated from personal thoughts and experiences, and often incorporated the week’s theme ‘Same but Different’. These included solo presentations about a chosen object of significance, duet pieces where we had to act as two different people merged into one, a group performance about a turning moment in one of our group member’s life, duet movement pieces, group image scenes, and a rhythm session with musician Beth Matthews among many others. We also worked on focusing techniques, stillness, and discussed our chosen photos, items and music, which was a very emotional experience. During the program, we got the opportunity to witness three very different theatre shows. This included an improvisation performance by Melbourne Playback Theatre Company, in which they used our personal experiences and opinions to create unique pieces, ‘The Dream’, a modern retake on the classic Shakespearian play, performed by the Bell Shakespeare Company, and the first preview of ‘Marlin’, a MTC and Area Theatre production for primary students which explored the themes of grief, redemption and victory through the eyes of a twelve year old girl, her grandfather and a wild marlin. All three performances were exciting and entertaining in their own ways, and were a great part of the week. One thing which I had definitely not expected was the morning ritual of cleaning the floor, an exercise designed to clear the space of any bad vibes and for us to respect the space we would be working in. It was difficult for all of us at first, but it was a great way to start the morning session by getting into focus and stillness.

The program concluded on Friday afternoon, after we showcased to our family members and our teachers, a taste of what we had achieved and experienced throughout the week.  The whole performance that we put forward really showed the connection and friendship we had all created, and that this entire week was something we would always remember. I would like to thank MTC so much for giving me this opportunity, and to Jane, Andrew, Frances, Sean and Spencer for supporting each one of us throughout that whole amazing week.

-Kristen Sellings

 

 

 

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