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nida : student production season

Darren Yap in between rehearsals for his production of ‘Next To Normal’
Costume design in the making for the production of ‘Orlando’ directed by Kate Gaul

NIDA’s Parade Theatre is reopening, with Darren Yap directing ‘Next to Normal’ as the headline production for the October Season of Student Productions.

The award-winning NIDA alumnus (Directing, 1997) directed sell out productions such as Belvoir’s ‘Jesus Wants me for a Sunbeam’, Griffin’s ‘Diving for Pearls’ and ‘Miracle City’ at The Hayes. He is working alongside Australia’s queen of choreography and dance icon Kelley Abbey (Happy Feet, Sweet Charity, E-Street) to bring the show to life.

After eight months without any rehearsals, I am so excited about getting back to work!’ said Darren. ‘We are rolling our sleeves up and getting ready. This is a piece that says ‘don’t give up’ and surely that’s a good message to say, particularly at this uncertain time.

Darren was in Japan earlier this year directing and rehearsing the musical ‘Joseph and his Technicolour Dream Coat’ when COVID19 hit. Even though the Japanese government were in denial, and were still planning on delivering the Olympics, people were telling me that Qantas was limiting flights and Australia was about to go into level 4 lockdown. managed to leave just at the right moment.
‘’Next to Normal’ is a confronting story about a woman with a rapidly escalating bipolar disorder and manic depression’ explained DarrenUltimately it says life can be really dark and terrible and you can lose people that you love, but in the end – and it’s not a Disney ending – if you can get out of bed then you can keep moving forward. And we all need that message now.

‘What is so clever about ‘Next to Normal’ is that the musical score runs alongside the main character, Diana’s, illness. It literally goes up and down with herAs a rock opera it is intentionally bare, it’s not an orchestral sound space.

‘Theatre begins discussions. People get angry, confront the cast, it provokes people. I love this piece as it captures a great musical theatre genre but deals with difficult issues about grief.

NIDA’s October Season of Student Productions provides a unique opportunity for students to collaborate with award-winning Australian and European directors. They include theatre director Darren Yap, opera and theatre director Mark Gaal,comedy specialist Darren Gilshenandirector and lecturer Priscilla Jackman, opera and theatre director Kate GaulEuropean film and theatre teacher and actor Clara Voda and NIDA Director Centre for Acting John Bashford.  

October Student Production Season
27 October – 4 November
Darren Yap, ‘Next to Normal’
Kate Gaul, ‘Orlando’

Mark Gaal, ‘When the Rain Stops Falling’
Priscilla Jackman, ‘Ghosts’
Darren Gilshenan, ‘The Government Inspector’
NIDA’s second-year BFA (Acting) students will be staging workshop productions of The Master and Margarita directed by Clara Voda and Shakespeare’s The Winter’s Tale directed by John Bashford.

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