5 Quick Questions with Jennifer Sarah Dean


How did the Melbourne Shakespeare Company come about?

To be honest because I couldn’t believe there wasn’t already a Melbourne Shakespeare Company! We formed the company because we love Shakespeare and wanted to work with other like-minded people to create easily accessible, dynamic, engaging productions using Shakespeare’s inspirational texts.

What made you choose A Midsummer Night’s Dream as the company’s first show?

A Midsummer Night’s Dream is the first play I studied at school so it has always had a place in my heart; it is the perfect combination of magic, comedy and romance. I have always wanted to direct the piece with a contemporary edge and when the opportunity to produce something at the Testing Grounds came up it seemed the perfect fit; this little pocket of greenery sandwiched between high rise buildings and busy roads!

What is your favourite moment in the show?

That is tough, there are so many great moments! I love the lovers big fight scene in Act 3 which in our interpretation is incredibly physical and high energy, and the mechanicals play at the end has me (and audience members) crying with laughter every time!

What inspired you to become a director in the first place?

I love the theatre and telling stories, being able to bring a text to life and share a story with people is an incredible privilege.

What has been a highlight in your time spent in theatre?

The highlight so far was getting to work at the Sydney Opera House last year, it is such an iconic space, and it was an honour to be part of a production there.

Eleanor’s Story Comes to Chapel off Chapel – an interview with Ingrid Garner


What was the inspiration behind your show?
Eleanor’s Story is a theatrical adaptation of my grandmother’s best-selling memoir of her youth, growing up as an American caught in World War II Berlin. In 1939, when she was nine, Eleanor’s family moved from the US to Germany, where a great job awaited her father in Berlin. But war broke out when they crossed the Atlantic, and returning to America became impossible. Her family faced hunger, fascist oppression, carpet bombings, the Russian invasion and the terrors of Soviet occupancy.

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Phantom Ride


Opening at ACMI this week, Phantom Ride is a two-screen video work inspired by the history of cinema and the way in which trains have featured as an extension of the camera for the purposes of experimentation with the moving image. Taking as a starting point films such as the Lumiere Brother’s Leaving Jerusalem by Railway (1896), regarded today as the first ever tracking shot, Daniel Crooks’ latest installation creates a continuous, seamless tracking shot that moves the viewer through a fragmented reality, constructed from a collage of Australian railways.

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Top moments of 2015



Once again, it’s that time of year to write about my favourite things, namely my favourite shows of 2015. So without any further ado…

Favourite shows of 2015 (in chronological order):

Backwards (created by Emily Taylor, MICF)

Lawrence Leung: The Escapist (created by Lawrence Leung, MICF)

Timeshare (written by Lally Katz, Malthouse Theatre)

The Dust and Us (presented by Human Animal Exchange, La Mama Courthouse)

Shit (presented by Dee & Cornelius, MTC Neon)

We Get It (presented by Elbow Room, MTC Neon)

Richard III (performed by Emily Carding, Edinburgh Fringe)

Suburbia (presented by Gold Santino, Melbourne Fringe)

Gin Sister (presented by Man With A Plan, Poppy Seed Festival)

The One (presented by Fire Curtin Co., Poppy Seed Festival)

Special mentions: Wander Women (created by Chelsea Hughes, Lauren Bok & Megan McKay, MICF), I Call My Brothers (directed by Nadja Kostich, MTC), The Platform @ La Mama Collaboration (presented by Platform Youth Theatre, La Mama Theatre), Wasted (written & directed by Kat Woods, Edinburgh Fringe), Welcome To Nowhere (written by Angus Cerini, Zoey Dawson, Daniel Keene, Fleur Kilpatrick & Morgan Rose, Melbourne Fringe) and Someone Like Thomas Banks (presented by Platform Youth Theatre & Straightjacket Productions, fortyfivedownstairs)

Other highlights of 2015

Best films: Inside Out and Stories I Want To Tell You In Person. And seeing many amazing films as part of the Girls on Film Festival, including Romy & Michele’s High School Reunion, The Loved Ones, Whip It, Thelma and Louise and Desperately Seeking Susan.

Best tv shows: Parks and Recreation (oh how I miss it!) and iZombie

Gin Sister


Photo by Sarah Walker

The third show in Melbourne’s newest festival, the Poppy Seed Festival, Man With A Plan’s Gin Sister highlights the acting talents of three talented women in a poetic and often thought-provoking theatrical response to women’s drinking culture.

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The One


Concluding the season for the inaugural Poppy Seed Festival is Vicky Jones’ award-winning hit The One – a viciously funny new play about Harry and Jo, a couple trapped in a violent and destructive cycle of co-dependent love and lust. Winning the Verity Bargate Award for new writing and premiering in 2014 to rave reviews, the show is 65 intense minutes of sex, violence and snack food and brutally asks ‘in the warfare of modern relationships, what are the rules of engagement?’ Beat had the chance to sit down with performer Kasia Kaczmarek (TV’s Wentworth) to have a chat about Fire Curtain Co’s new production at fortyfivedownstairs and what makes it such a fascinating show.

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