The Australian School of Performing Arts, Film and Television (ASPA-FTV) have announced their end of year production, 2036: The Future is Now, which will be performed at The Queensland Performing Arts Centre (QPAC) on Saturday the 12th of November.
The students, who range in age from eight to seventeen will perform three plays, all with a unique interpretation of this years theme. Co-Founder Amanda Hardwick was inspired by an episode of Four Corners which broached the subject of how stressed kids are about their futures. Thinking it was a relevant topic she approached the students for their thoughts. She was impressed and excited by how the students took to the idea and came up with the unique and varied subject matter for the three plays.
“… and what I felt was underneath this theme was the sense of powerlessness that we as adults feel with our own future and how our kids can’t help but feed off that too. So I wanted to give them an opportunity to discuss what would it be like if you could walk into a future which was there for you and what would that look like?” Hardwick said.
As with other years the plays are a collaboration between the students, their teachers and directors. So the plays are a true mix of talent with the voices of the students not forgotten. After all it is their future.
Sarah Davis, who teaches at the school and is directing two of the plays is always inspired by the students, their hard work and the ideas they bring. “…We can have three different plays with the same theme and have very different subject matter explored, they work at their own level so the younger kids get to work on themes that they are dealing with now”
I spoke to Charlotte Sturgess, who at 15 years old is in her second year with ASPA-FTV, and will be performing in the first play 2036: Into the Bunker with other senior students.
This play is rather a dark, dystopian look at a future society torn apart by global warming and nuclear war. Inside 100,000 bunkers are the future of the world: Young people under 18. What future will they create?
ASPA-FTV students Kirrily Nicholls and Charlotte Sturgess

ASPA-FTV students Kirrily Nicholls and Charlotte Sturgess

Sturgess enthusiastically explained the play to me, telling me that half of the young people were chosen because of ability or because of wealth and the other half were chosen out of a lottery. “So there is a little bit of conflict between the ones who were chosen and the ones in the lottery because the chosen think they have more reason to be there than the rest.” Sturgess says.

Sturgess is surprising in her ability to understand the way the world can be but also in her optimism. In the play the have and have-nots need to work together and this is what excites her. “… we want to come out and create a better world.” Sturgess says.
The second and third plays, directed by Davis, are performed by the younger students who range from ages 8-twelve.
Genetic Decode tells the story of a future society where some parents can afford to have their children genetically modified to give them an advantage in life. What happens to those who can’t be upgraded?
I’m a Teenager, Get Me Out of This is the third play and is very focused on the stresses faced by young people being forced to make decisions about their future. If you had an idea for the future what better way to trial it than through a game show format?
That Sturgess and her fellow performers feel anxious about their future and are unsure what path to take is certain, yet they also give us this amazing idea that the future need not be doom and gloom and that indeed, there may be something better coming.
In each of the three plays the situation that the characters find themselves in could be seen as dark or even hopeless. Certainly a world destroyed by nuclear war is not a future we hope for, nor is it a feel good theme for a play. Yet like the furies that were unleashed upon the world when the mythical Pandora’s box was opened here too is something lying at the bottom, something that instinctively the young might reach for, hope.
That these kids have a chance to perform at QPAC is almost certainly a dream come true. Yet this is not any end of year school concert. These students are professional and talented and the show will be worth seeing by anyone interested in watching a good story come to life on stage.
“ I think the show has something for everyone so even though its kids performing they are at such a professional level that it’s so much fun to watch … I think it is exploring a subject that is really relevant now: the future and what’s going to happen and each of the students has taken a different spin on it so you get to see what the youth think of what our future might be.” Davis says.
2036: The Future is Now, presented by ASPA-FTV will be performed at QPAC on Saturday 12th November at 6:00pm.
For tickets and more information see qpac.com.au or phone 136 246.
For more information on ASPA-FTV courses, classes and productions visit aspaftv.com.au

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