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Good Fortune for Otago Theatre students

Friday 19 June 2015 12:02pm

The cast of Punk Rock are (from left) Sinead Fitzgerald, Ailis Oliver-Kerby, Lana Walters, Ripeka Templeton, Jared Kirkwood, Hamish Annan, Taylor Barrett and Andrew Coshan (Absent Ross Johnston). The Otago students in the cast are Sinead, Ailis, Hamish and Andrew. Photo: George Wallace.

A long-term relationship between the Fortune Theatre and the Theatre Studies department at Otago is taking centre stage in the Fortune’s latest production.

Punk Rock, written by recent Tony awardee Simon Stephens, will run from 27 June to 18 July, and, in a new pilot programme, will feature Otago drama students on stage and behind the scenes.

“We’re very excited about this initiative,” Music and Theatre Studies Department head Professor Stuart Young says. “We’ve had a long relationship with the theatre, but this is the first collaboration of this type.”

"We’ve had a long relationship with the theatre, but this is the first collaboration of this type."

Ten third-year students are taking part in the programme as part of an honours level paper. Four will act on stage alongside professional actors in the cast, and the remaining six are in production and technical roles ranging from wardrobe to marketing.

“It’s an internship,” Professor Young says. “They get a chance to apply and extend their skills in a professional context.”

Fortune Theatre Artistic Director Lara Macgregor says the theatre benefited from the programme alongside the students.

“This collaboration enhances and strengthens the Fortune’s educational role through sharing its knowledge with the community. The theatre also benefits from the energy and ideas the students bring.”

The play selected, Punk Rock, explores underlying jittery tensions, hormonal headiness and potential violence in a group of affluent seventeen-year-old students as they begin to plan for university and the rest of their lives.

“It interests me because it is about societal pressure, particularly the pressure on privileged children,” Lara says.

Using students not too far removed in age from those featured in the play added a layer of reality, and the play seemed ideal to use for the collaboration.

Tickets for the play are available now and discounted tickets are available for university students.

Check it out:

Punk Rock
Sat 27 Jun to Sat 18 Jul
Fortune Theatre
Bookings available online.