Arts Academy Graduating Students get Serious Courage

Posted: Thursday 10 August 2017

Federation University Australia’s Arts Academy is pleased to present a season of graduating theatre works from the Music Theatre and Acting programs.

The season, under the title Serious Courage, will showcase political performance. Contemporary, passionate, radical, and epic: Ballarat audiences can experience the work of Caryl Churchill, Stephen Sondheim and Bertolt Brecht.

Serious Money

By Caryl Churchill

Directed by Tom Gutteridge

Performed by the Graduating Third Year Actors Company, FedUni Arts Academy
22 September – 28 September

Serious Money was written in 1987, just after the deregulation of the UK stockmarket and in the same year that Gordon Gekko famously told us that ‘greed is good’.  Caryl Churchill’s rollicking take-down of the birth of casino capitalism is a cross between a rock musical, a murder mystery and a modern morality play. As we live through the aftershocks of the Global Financial Collapse, Churchill’s evocation of unbridled avarice and blood-thirsty competition is astonishingly relevant and current.

Written for equal numbers of men and women playing multiple roles in true ensemble style, Serious Money is the perfect play for the Arts Academy’s graduating actors to show their energy, commitment and skill.

Mother Courage and her Children

by Bertolt Brecht

Directed by James Wardlaw

Performed by the Third Year Graduating Actors Company, FedUni Arts Academy
23 September – 30 September

The second show in the program is a classic. In 1939, Europe was on the brink of war. Bertolt Brecht's response to the chaos was Mother Courage and Her Children, a play now celebrated as one of the greatest plays of the past century. In a period of global chaos and change, the Arts Academy’s presentation of this work is timely.

The show is an epic and deeply moving examination of the grim realities of war, a provocative rejection of fascism, and a masterpiece. It is an unconventional play, and a bitter and sardonic commentary on the struggle of survival. Mother Courage remains as intense in 2017 as when it was first performed 80 years ago. Set during 12 years of the 30 Years War in Europe (1618 to 1648), it is the story of Anna Fierling, a woman who survived by selling provisions to troops, including clothing and items she strips from the dead.

Sweeney Todd – The Demon Barber of Fleet Street

Directed by James Cutler

Musically directed by Rainer Pollard

Performed by the Graduating Music Theatre Company, FedUni Arts Academy

5 October– 14 October

Completing the program is Sweeney Todd - a masterpiece of suspense, obsession, revenge, madness and meat pies. Heralded as one of Stephen Sondheim's greatest scores, Sweeney Todd is indisputably a triumph of modern musical theatre.

Benjamin Barker, aka Sweeney Todd the Demon Barber of Fleet Street, returns to London after 15 years in exile and plans to take revenge on the corrupt judge who banished him. When baker Mrs Lovett is in desperate need of fresh meat for her pies, the two implement a cunningly murderous solution to both of their problems. 

The horror musical blurs the lines between fact and fiction, good and evil, madness and sanity, the consumer and the consumed, bringing with it a shocking, almost Orwellian dystopian reality, and a delicious serving of modern musical theatre best served piping hot.

This season is performed in conjunction with the launch of the Romancing the Skull exhibition at the Art Gallery of Ballarat. On Friday, 13 October, the Arts Academy presents a special midnight performance of Sweeney Todd for those seeking extra mystery and intrigue.

“Our graduating students are the future stars of Australian theatre,” Bryce Ives, Director of the Arts Academy Ballarat, said.

“With the strength and poignancy of these three shows in conjunction with the stellar talent of the creative team, the experience of the whole program is certainly a unique opportunity for Ballarat theatre audiences. 

“We couldn’t be more thrilled with the outcome of three years of hard work from our dedicated performance programs,” Mr Ives said.

“We encourage Ballarat audiences to book now for an Early Bird discount of 10 per cent on Adult and Concession tickets. Early Bird discount will be on sale until 2 September.”

More details and tickets:

Contact Matthew Freeman
Senior Advisor, Media and Government Relations
03 5327 9510; 0408 519 674