Ben de Pagter
Olivia Lucia Pimpinella*
*Second year Master of Production Design (Stage) student
Stagecraft Project Coordinator
Scenic Art Department
VCA Design Academic Staff
Jo Briscoe, Emily Collett, Dale Ferguson, John Ford, Richard Roberts, Leon Salom, Christina Smith
VCA Theatre Undergraduate Academic Staff
Dr Chris Mead, Dr Sarah Austin, Georgina Naidu, Amy Hume, Colin Sneesby, Steph Kehoe, Isabella Vadiveloo
Warriors for Justice and Using Theatre as a Vehicle to Make Change.
I’ve loved working with the third year acting students over the past five weeks to bring you this play by my good friend Nathan Maynard. Nathan and I have collaborated on several new works over the past five years and it’s always a fun and slightly crazy process. '37' is another work in the First Nations theatre canon that has something to say about the world in which we live. It speaks to the state of affairs in this country now known as Australia. We as First Nations theatre makers have been wielding the weapon of theatre for half a century, using it to bring attention to the things that matter to us. In the case of '37', race, racism and the wedge that exists between black, white and everyone in between. The collaboration with the students, key creatives and the Victorian College of the Arts (VCA) and the spirit that has brought this work to where it is now is the collaboration and spirit I hope we as a country will harness to build a more cohesive community. I cannot praise the actors enough for their contribution to this story and production. They are one of the very best ensemble groups I’ve ever had the pleasure of directing. Their integrity and care for each other and the story they are telling has been key to the show's life. They truly are servants of the story, masters of the craft. They made everyday fun and enjoyable and brought their A game even when they were in pain from the hours of choreography they did the day before. I feel like I’ve met 11 young men who are clearly allies of First Nations people in the ongoing fight for social justice, social change and conciliation. The world needs gentlemen like this. Our beloved theatre industry needs gentlemen like this. They exemplify the best of our industry. Congratulations to their parents and carers for producing them and the VCA for preparing them for their careers to come. Thank you to Melbourne Theatre Company for your in-kind support and for commissioning the play. Thank you to the Steve Vizard Foundation for your generosity and financial contribution. Thanks Chris Mead for the opportunity to bring this work to Naarm (Melbourne). Thank you to the Boon Wurrung of the Kulin nations for hosting us. And lastly thank you to my wife and kids for allowing me to be away for 6 weeks.
- Isaac Drandic, Director