Platform Youth Theatre - Anyone can join in
Delighting audiences in Melbourne' northern suburbs, Platform Youth Theatre (new window) goes against everything that makes the acting business so cut-throat.
There are no nerve-wracking auditions. No acting or directing experience required. And definitely no divas fighting over the limelight.
Nope, Platform Youth Theatre doesn't knock back anyone aged between 16-26 who has a love for acting, directing, script-writing, stage-production or post-production.
To be part of this theatre company, there's only one prerequisite: a drive to push the boundaries of what society thinks young people can do.
Hoping to be part of the show
Now 25, Myf Clark has been involved with Platform Youth Theatre since she was 16.
"I saw an article in the local paper looking for performers and went along hoping to be part of the show," she says.
"I didn't have any real experience, just a few high school performances, but everyone who turned up that day got to be part of the show. There were no auditions."
The show Myf was cast in was a theatre production called Shimmer.
Written by professional playwright Angela Costi, Shimmer told the tale of two groups of ambitious young women who were willing to sacrifice everything for stardom.
The all-female cast performed for paying audiences for two weeks and Myf says it was fantastic to act in front of a crowd she didn't know.
"It was so different from my school productions, where I knew almost everybody. The people watching Shimmer weren't dragged there to see their kids, they were actually there to see to the show," she says.
Anyone can do anything
Since Shimmer, Myf has taken part in heaps of other productions with Platform Youth Theatre.
She's tried her hand at producing, stage management, directing and is now the theatre's arts manager, with the hopes of writing her own theatre production one day.
"Anyone can do anything at Platform. Everyone is really supportive and no one cares if you can act or direct," Myf says.
"In Shimmer, there was a girl who wasn't very good at speaking, so the playwright wrote her an entirely physical role. She only had one or two lines but she stole the show. She was so impressive."
So what can Platform Youth Theatre do for me?
Whether you're like Myf and want to kick-start your acting career or consider yourself the next Quentin Tarantino, the first thing Theatre Manager Rose Godde says you should do is come and have a chat with her.
"I get young actors, writers or directors coming to speak to me all the time. Sometimes they're looking for advice on how to develop a project they've written or tips on how to improve as an actor," she says.
"Everything we do, we approach with the attitude, 'How will this give opportunities and a voice to the young people we work with?'. We don't just put on productions. We do everything we can to help move you further along on your chosen path."
In 2008-2009, the theatre presented four projects, each of them based on one of the Four Horsepersons of the Apocalypse. The projects started with a musical production called ENOUGH, which centred around a city devastated by war and famine.
After that they held an improvisation workshop for young artists from various backgrounds, who then performed the work at the Melbourne Fringe Festival.
Then there was a hip hop workshop and performance by young dancers that was led by theatre director and writer Gorkem Acaroglu.
The final project was an open call for young writers to develop a script that would then be turned into a full-fledged production.
What's Platform Youth Theatre up to in 2010?
In 2010 the theatre is focusing on working with young people from culturally, linguistically and religiously diverse backgrounds to expose the realities of street violence and other issues.
They're also running a series of workshops for actors, directors and scriptwriters and preparing four productions, two of which will appear at the Melbourne Fringe Festival.
Even when Platform Youth Theatre isn't looking for directors or casting actors, though, Theatre Manager Rose is always free for a talk.
"Platform is here to support young people on the pathways to their chosen career. Anyone who wants to be involved with the theatre can be involved," Rose says.
So don't be shy! Embrace your love of the theatre and check out the Platform Youth Theatre website (new window). You never know, it might just be the thing to kick-start your rise to stardom!
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Articles Written by Elisa
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