Tag Archives: University of Wollongong

Preview: Woyczek

5 May

Second-year Creative Arts Performance students in ‘Woyczek’.

Rehearsals for the second-year production of Woyczek are well underway at the University of Wollongong.

Directed by Chris Ryan, Woyczek is a German play written by Georg Bücher in 1836.  One of the most influential German plays, Woyczek deals with poverty, infidelity, military oppression and medical experimentation.

According to performance student, Emma Hoole, who plays the doctor in the play, Woyczek is a tragedy.

Woyczek is about the downfall of the main character who is in the army and his wife is unfaithful to him and my character makes him only eat peas for three months and all these people really mess with him,” Emma says.

Chris Ryan has taken a post-modern approach, presenting Woyczek as a series of images and episodes.

The Faculty of Creative Arts performance of Woyczek opens Wednesday 16th May and will run until Saturday 19th May at the FCA Performance Space, University of Wollongong.

For full details:

Autumn Season of Theatre and Music



Strange Attractors of Physical Theatre

23 Apr

Robert Mapplethorpe and Patti Smith. Solomon will play one of three Robert Mapplethorpe’s in ‘Strange Attractors’, while Patti Smith will be played by seven different actors. Picture by Norman Seef.

When it comes to his future in theatre, Solomon Thomas is quite honest when he admits he doesn’t know which way to turn.

One thing is for certain, though, he is willing to twist himself into knots in the pursuit of his love of physical theatre.

In his latest production, Strange Attractors, the University of Wollongong performance student is not only acting in the play, but also co-directing and choreographing. And whenever possible, he is bringing his love of physical theatre to centre stage.

“The movement, physical theatre stuff, choreography is always a huge thing for me,” Solomon says.

“It’s always what I’m inspired to do and it’s always what I want to do.”

Besides first being introduced to theatre in year three when he played a pharaoh in Jospeh’s Techniclour Dream Coat, Solomon’s interest in physical theatre began a number of years ago when he joined a professional physical theatre youth company in Bega.  Although he has creativity pulsing through his veins thanks to his artistic parents, Solomon says his six years with the fLiNG Physical Theatre company has influenced and developed his love of theatre.

“That was like my starting in theatre and where it all comes from and that influences all of my work, especially this kind of stuff.”

As a physical, more external actor, Solomon has been struggling to learn a New York accent for his role as one of three Robert Mapplethorpe’s in Strange Attractors.

“My weakness as an actor is probably my voice, so that’s been really hard and I’m still struggling trying to get that accent,” Solomon willingly admits before giving us a demonstration.

“Can I some cawfee?”

Strange Attractors, a play based on the lives of Robert Mapplethorpe and Patti Smith and directed by Cath McKinnon, opens at the Illawarra Performing Arts Centre on May 24th.

Emma Hoole

23 Apr

Emma in ‘Woyczek’

She may be a little rusty, but Emma Hoole is eagerly anticipating her return to the stage.

Having been involved in theatre throughout her teenage years, the second year Creative Arts Performance student lives for the stage and is looking forward to playing a crazy doctor in the upcoming performance of Woyczek.

This will be the first show Emma has been involved in since beginning her course at the University of Wollongong in 2011.

“It’s really exciting! I’ve done plays and that outside of uni before but I haven’t done it for a while, so I feel like I’m a little bit rusty.  But it’s so much fun; I’ve forgotten how much fun it is!”

Although her role in Woyczek, directed by Chris Ryan, has proved a challenging one, Emma is fully embracing it and enjoying every minute.

“It’s a pretty big part I guess, I have heaps of lines to learn, but I’m pretty stoked with it, it’s so much fun,” Emma says, unable to contain her enthusiasm.

“It’s such a caricature and it’s a really comic role as well, so fun to play around with.”

In order to prepare for the role, Emma has done a significant amount of research in order to perfect her portrayal of the doctor, who in the play performs crazy experiments on the lead character.

“I researched into scientific logic and how people use the left and right hemispheres of the brain,” Emma explains about her process of developing a walk for the character.

“I figured he’s a doctor and he probably uses a lot of his left brain, plus he’s a very curious character, so I kind of developed a walk where I walk really fast because he wants to get to his point, find out things really quick and kind of on his toes a bit because he’s really keen to know the facts I guess.”

One of the biggest challenges for Emma has been trying to find a voice and physicality for the gender-neutral character.

“There’s a scene where we’re at a club and we have to dance and first of all when we ran the scene I was just dancing like a normal sexy girl in a club and I was like, ‘wait a minute, I’m not a girl’. So I stopped dancing like that,” she says giggling.

When asked how one dances gender-neutrally, she replies laughing, “Like a real dag, basically, no hip action – it’s hard to restrain.”

Although she has struggled with the extra hours involved in second-year, Emma thinks it is worth every minute to be doing what she loves.

“I’m loving the course.  It’s really intense, I’m there 26 hours a week, it’s double the hours that I did last year, so it’s really full-on, but absolutely loving every minute,” Emma gushes.

And there’s nothing else she’d rather be doing.

When she first discovered the joys of theatre in year 8, after joining a theatre company in her home-town of Newcastle, Emma instantly knew that is what she wanted to do.

“I just thought, ‘oh my god, I could do this for a living’ type of thing.  It was the most amazing thing ever.  I don’t know what else I’d do really,” Emma says.

“I know it’s a really tentative industry to get in to, but I think it’s worth having a crack anyway because it’s what I love.”

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Time to re:group

23 Apr

A scene from ‘Floorboards#01’ – a site-specific work by ‘re:group’. Photo courtesy of re:group.

For someone who got into theatre because it seemed ‘like a fun thing to do’, Ryan McGoldrick has come a long way.

From doing drama in high school to co-establishing a theatre collective, the fourth year honours student can think of nothing else he’d rather be doing.

Although he does admit his direction has altered since beginning his degree.

“What I’m doing now isn’t anything like I thought I’d be doing when I came into the course three years ago when I finished high school.  I just wanted my name in the lights, like most people really, so yeah, I guess I’ve undergone a bit of twist on that,” Ryan says.

As a graduate of the University of Wollongong Creative Arts degree in Performance, Ryan played a significant role in forming the performance collective, re:group, which he says is something he had been considering for quite some time.

“Certainly for me, that was something that I really wanted to do,” Ryan says of forming the group.

“There was a lot of people in the year, in the faculty that I wanted to work with quite closely, so I just sent out a few emails and pitched to a few people, is anyone interested, and got a really overwhelming response and we’ve taken off since then.”

Ryan says that the group, which was established towards the end of last year and is made up of about 10 people, takes a cross-disciplinary approach to theatre, using a number of different mediums.

“Basically we’re just a collective of graduates from the performance course.  I guess we share an interest in aesthetically rich image-based work that crosses medium boundaries, so we play with obviously performance and the live body but also video and sound.”

So far, the group has put together two pieces that both explore what it is to inhabit spaces; Floorboards #1, which was a site-specific work and Brickworks, a video installation piece which was exhibited at Project Contemporary Artspace in Wollongong.

Ryan is modest in admitting that the group were chosen by the Wollongong Youth Centre for their National Youth week launch festivities.

He is also realistic in recognising the challenges of pursuing theatre, with re:group as well as personally.  He says that the biggest challenge, particularly in Wollongong, is finding an audience.

“I guess the challenges of any type of art endeavour in Wollongong is there’s just not a very large field of…I wouldn’t say interest, but you know, funding and stuff like that.

“It’s not something that I endeavour to make millions of dollars from.  I’m under no illusion for the funding restrictions and things like that in this country but having said that I’m absolutely dedicated to art, it’s what all of us in the group are so passionate about.”

And passionate he is.  Ryan’s love of theatre is obvious, especially when he gets to talking about hybrid theatre practices, which is the type of theatre he hopes to pursue.  No longer interested in being just an actor, Ryan has dabbled in writing and directing, and particularly enjoys experimenting with sound and video.

“Personally I’m leaning more towards the creative side of things now as opposed to on stage performing,” Ryan says, although he’s aware that he needs to keep his options open in this industry.

“I do believe that art is a utopian endeavour, particularly contemporary art, a lot of the kind of abstract ideas, the kind of Fantastical with a capital F, that you can engage with and ideas that you can engage with in contemporary art,” he says of his love of contemporary theatre.

“You can’t do that in any other institution or discourse in the world – its so boundary-less and exciting.  You can deal with so many issues and aspects of life and expression that you can’t in other institutions.”