Welcome to 2017!

Kids Acting Classes Perth

My favourite moment during last year’s Barking Gecko shows was when a six year old girl sitting in front of me turned to her friend and said, with a massive grin, “I am so scared right now!” That heady mixture of delight and terror, distilled for me in an instant, why I love my job. It’s often said that the theatre is a safe place to explore dangerous ideas. But what is sometimes forgotten in that neat equation, is just how much fun this can be. To enter a theatre and be taken by the hand by those most wonderful and mischievous of creatures – actors – and be led somewhere new, scary, inspiring and altogether unfamiliar! That is an adventure that can be had nowhere else.

So this next year we are going on adventures to many new and exciting places, but perhaps the most exciting place is where all these journeys begin. We are already stretching our toes at the State Theatre Centre of WA as a resident company and we are incredibly excited to have you visit us in our beautiful new home.

We begin the year with Saltbush, an exhilarating, immersive digital journey for children who are led through stunning indigenous artworks and introduced to traditional dance and music from one of the world’s oldest living cultures. A very special work that will ignite conversations with those you love, both large and small.

And our newest work My Robot takes us on a technological trip into the future, with a real, functioning onstage robot! We gathered data for this show from a sparky group of 5-7 year olds whose creative input blew our circuits. Anything can happen, and anything will!

And our journeys are not just imaginary. From our home at the State Theatre Centre of WA, Barking Gecko is touring the world. Bambert, the tiny man with the huge imagination will set sail again. Our Helpmann Award winning production of Bambert’s Book of Lost Stories is packing its bags for its European and Australian tours.

Want to get involved? Our Gecko Ensembles are year-round drama classes for all ages! Last year our Gecko Ensembles grew to five locations around the state, including our first regional Ensemble in Broome. We are ranging further afield in the coming year, with Ensembles popping up across Perth and the state. Full of thrilling learning experiences, this year the Gecko Ensembles are mucking about with robots, ripping into Shakespeare and learning how to devise plays of their own. It’s going to be brilliant.

So come with us on our adventure this year. This is your state children’s theatre company and we want you along for the ride. Whether it’s seeing our shows, learning something new at our Living Lectures or getting creative in our Gecko Ensembles. We can’t wait to see you at the theatre.

Rehearsal Reflections Part Two – Francesca Savige

Francesca Savige and Scott Sheridan in In a Dark Dark Wood kids theatre production. Image by Jon Green.

When we began rehearsals in late August, we had the gift of Caleb’s presence again. He and Matt had continued liaising and Caleb’s script was onto its fourth or fifth draft. It was thrilling to see what had been included, inspired by the development. But the process was far from over! Caleb stayed with us for the whole first week of rehearsals and continued to make changes – some minor tweaks, others large re-writes or edits. On the first full script read-through with all the creatives in attendance, Caleb asked us all to be very frank about what we thought worked and what didn’t. It was a beautifully open and fruitful discussion, with Caleb always pressing us to be more critical and more challenging in our dissection of the play! His lack of preciousness about his work, his open-mindedness and his ability to listen and filter through thoughts and suggestions was extraordinary. And I think this open-mindedness and awareness is what makes his work so brilliant and so very accessible.  Over that first week of rehearsal, Caleb continued to tweak and edit and absorb new ideas that emerged from explorations on the rehearsal room floor.

On a personal level I learnt that this interaction with the writer in the room made me feel a very powerful sense of ownership in the work. Of course, the writing is more than 99 percent Caleb’s words, but because we were so integral to the process, I felt like we embodied the character’s dialogue truthfully. This is what we aspire to as actors – to feel as though the words are our own as the character speaks them. It was profoundly rewarding to feel this as a result of this collaborative process.

Probably one of the most ridiculous, and yet undoubtedly invaluable, things to come out of the development, as Scott and I happily and freely improvised around Caleb’s wonderful script was; a fart joke. Essential for every good youth theatre show, surely? When rehearsals officially began in August, Scott and I were thrilled to discover the fart had made it into the rehearsal script. This of course, gave us true ownership of this moment in the play, and confidence in our own creativity of high-class comedy. Then by the second week of rehearsals, Scott had managed to include two more fart jokes in the show! Victory! I think he throws them in as gentle reminders for me to not take myself too seriously. It works. Double victory! By week three, our fiercely intelligent and considered director Matt had culled us back down to just the one fart joke in the show. Boo!

We pipped him at the post by squeezing out one more irresistible fart joke during production week! And I conclude, with confidence, that the creative contribution of actors should never be underestimated.

– Francesca Savige


This is part two of a special two part rehearsal diary. Part one is available here.