Behind the scenes: a UQ Drama production

When people think of studying drama at university in Brisbane, UQ isn’t the first place they think to go. Little do they know, UQ Drama is an amazing program.

One of the reasons UQ Drama differs from programs offered by other universities is students not only take on performing projects, but they focus on play texts from all eras and genres and aspects of production and administration.

For the past 12 weeks, UQ Drama students have been working with talented Brisbane director Daniel Evans to stage Martin Crimp’s post-modern play, ‘Attempts on her life’.

The cast, made up of 2nd and 3rd year drama students, have been committed to the production – so much so, they even didn’t mind coming into Uni on a Sunday!

In anticipation of the production’s opening night on Wednesday, 31 May, UQ Drama students have shared their experiences in preparing for the play:

Anastasia O’Brien:

“I remember reading the play and thinking ‘WHAT IS THIS?’ It wasn’t until we sat down and really went through the play and each scene that I realised that maybe this is what Martin Crimp actually wanted us to think… Maybe he wanted us to have no idea.”

Brenna Dransfield:

“UQ Drama productions allow me to gain an insight into the life of a professional theatre actor, director, dramaturg, sound and lighting technician, costume designer and other production roles. I feel like I’m part of a tight-knit family every time I go to rehearsal and class at UQ in general.”

Christy Wright:

“The rehearsal process has been challenging but rewarding. This play is intense and makes you push the boundaries of theatre and your own personal boundaries. Working on this production has provided essential knowledge of how to create a show. It encouraged me to consider not just being a professional actor but pursuing backstage roles.”

Jade Fox, exchange student:

“Our ensemble cast have been moulded into performers by Dan Evans, a director who is no less than a genius and a visionary. Our ideas have been explored and debated, and collectively we tackled how such a provoking, fragmented and open-ended text could come to be understood and appreciated by an audience. After two weeks of discussion and a research essay worth 10% of our grade, we felt completely immersed in the logic behind the play. We then entered the main bulk of the course: getting it on its feet.

Every single one of us – whether we are onstage or watching Dan’s direction from the outside – have been taken aback by the intricacy of his blocking (for non-drama folk, this means putting action to the text). He has created a dynamic and visually engaging performance with ideas that seem to stem from the world’s rich catalogue of human existence. In other words, it is alive. We, as performers, have been faced with the challenge of being part of this living statement.

As well as acting, we all have a production role, with some of us choosing to be Stage Manager, Production Manager or Dramaturg as an entirely non-acting role. Week by week we have kept on top of lighting, sound, set design, choreography costume, front of house and marketing. This has been valuable experience for those of us wishing to go into the world of theatre. UQ Drama provides us with many amazing theoretical and practical courses, but for those wishing to be immersed in a performance process that will leave them feeling knowledgeable, skillful and part of a hard-working drama family, I would suggest getting yourself signed up to one of the production courses!”

Kate Fester:

“The production course is such a valuable learning experience. To get that kind of mentorship and teaching from industry professionals is such a privilege and really helps you grow as a performer, dramaturg and practitioner. The course really helps set you up for future projects in the industry – production experience, fundraising, marketing, technical development – all the things really required for emerging artists and theatre makers. Above all – it's just a fantastic experience to get to be a part of.”

Attempts on her Life runs at the Geoffrey Rush Drama Studio from 31 May – 3 June. Email UQ Drama for tickets.

Last updated:
30 May 2017