Current Students

Positions filled: evil henchmen

Justin Groves, playing King Richard, is flanked by two of his evil henchmen, Jesse McCormack and Brenton Neighbour
The School of Visual and Performing Arts is in rehearsal for one of the most ambitious theatre projects in its 10 year history.

In May, a group of 20 second-year theatre students from across the state will perform two separate Shakespeare plays over multiple days and nights at the Annexe Theatre at Inveresk.

Director Robert Lewis acknowledged that the project to perform both Richard III and Othello was ambitious, but said he was quietly confident that it could be achieved.

The majority of the cast would undertake roles in both plays, Mr Lewis said, meaning rehearsals were already in full swing.

“It is big,” Mr Lewis said while overseeing  a rehearsal of Richard III.

“But I wanted to give each student the opportunity to have a good experience, and good roles. 

“The only way to do that is by performing two plays. It is hard to find a good play for 20 people, particularly with Shakespeare, when you want to give the students good, meaty roles.

“That is why I have split it in half, with two plays.

“Ninety per cent of the students are in both shows, and it means their heads have to be in two places at once.”

The performers have been rehearsing for four weeks, with a total of five weeks remaining until the first performance of Richard III on Wednesday, May 4.

King Richard is being played by Justin Groves, who has had to master the use of a wheelchair on stage – however two of King Richards evil henchmen, played by Jesse McCormack and Brenton Neighbour, have been on hand to help.

Mr Lewis said the cast and stage crew were working well as a team.

 “The last time there was a multiple plays like this was in 2004 and we did three plays,” Mr Lewis explained.

“However, in that instance the students were split into three groups and each group performed one of the plays.

“In this case the same performers have to master two different plays.

“But they seem to be managing quite well.

“They are really focused on pulling this off.”


Richard III will be performed on:
Wednesday, May 4 at 7pm;  Friday, May 6 at 7pm; Saturday May 7 at 1pm.

Othello will be performed on:
Thursday, May 5 at 7pm; Friday May 6 at 1pm; Saturday May 7 at 7pm.

Tickets are $20 for adults, $12 for concession cardholders, and $8 for students, and can be booked by calling (03) 6324 4450.

Picture: Justin Groves, playing King Richard, is flanked by two of his evil henchmen, Jesse McCormack and Brenton Neighbour.

Published on: 16 Mar 2011 4:04pm