Stars and students to share the limelight

21 JULY 2005

Hugo Weaving, Jeremy Sims, Bruce Spence, Phillip Quast, Stuart Buckland … Stuart Buckland?

Hugo Weaving, Jeremy Sims, Bruce Spence, Phillip Quast, Stuart Buckland…

Stuart Buckland? He's not a household name yet, but this Charles Sturt University acting student will share the stage with these big names of Australian film and theatre at the Olympic Arts Festival in August.

Stuart, 21, a third year Bachelor of Arts (Acting for Screen & Stage) student at the Wagga Wagga Campus, and 10 of his fellow students will travel to Sydney in July to begin rehearsals for their roles as extras in the Sydney Theatre Company (STC) production, The White Devil, which opens at the Theatre Royal on 18 August.

The other acting students who will share the limelight are Luke Finch, Rohan Maloy, Chris Smith, Jarred Smith, Aaron Johnston, Martin Viski, Erin Gordon, Jenelle Pearce, Jo Trentini and Caroline Stainsby.

The White Devil, set to be one of the STC's biggest productions in recent years, will be a showcase of Australian theatre for visitors to the Olympic city.

The month-long season will be the climax of a major project that began at CSU last year, involving the University's acting students working closely with the STC.

"We were approached by STC last year with a view to providing students for its Olympic Arts Festival production of John Webster's Jacobean revenge tragedy The White Devil, a major project of world renowned director Gale Edwards," said CSU's senior lecturer Ray Goodlass.

"Not only is this a great honour for us, as it provides significant professional recognition of our acting course, it is also a wonderful opportunity for our students," he said.

Stuart said he was feeling a bit nervous about making a big impression in front of such acclaimed Australian actors.

"We're all going into it with the most professional mindset possible," he said.

"We're very grateful for the opportunity. We're going to grab it and do the best we can."

The students recently finished a week-long workshop in Wagga Wagga with The White Devil's assistant director, Christopher Johnson, and the STC's casting director, Egil Kipste.

Preparation for their roles also included fencing lessons by STC's fight director, Steve Douglas-Craig, for the swordfighting scenes.

While in Sydney, the students will undertake a full program of acting classes with the STC.

They will also work with Mr Johnson to devise a Jacobean performance project to bring back to Wagga Wagga, which he has titled Malcontents, Machiavells and Mistresses.

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Wagga Wagga Charles Sturt University