The Best is Yet to Come- is an understatement in relation to music theatre at the Arts Academy, University of Ballarat. They can boast a glittering list of alumni appearing in major roles in shows such as Legally Blonde, Jersey Boys and Hairspray (UK).
2013 is already shaping up to be a year of major of achievements for this premier arts training facility based in the beautiful regional city of Ballarat- just over an hour from Melbourne.
It has been a stellar year for David Wynen and his team since he took over leadership of the course in August last year. Not only did Wynen win a coveted Australian citation for contributions to learning and teaching, but he has launched "Tap Rhythm" nationally and internationally. At present he's in the USA lecturing and teaching in tap, Luigi Jazz and Music theatre at Carnegie Mellon – their premier music theatre course.
When he returns to Ballarat after the Easter break, Wynen and artistic director of the motion plus festival Tom Hodgson will lead a unique week of workshops and classes for both the acting and music theatre courses. All students will engage with other artists and practitioners from various genres including: Alexander technique, Bollywood, circus skills, physical theatre, contemporary dance, funk tap, fighting techniques, rhythm jazz, acrobatics and swing dance. Highlights of the week will include the launch of Tap Rhythm's new product, Swing dancing led by Swing Patrol and a performance and workshop with Freefall Physical Theatre company.
Such vibrant activity follows an acclaimed season of Parade directed by theatre makers Nathan Gilkes and Bryce Ives. Following on from this, students will work with well known journalist and cabaret artist Fiona Scott- Norman to create unique cabaret projects culminating in a season at the Butterfly Club's new Melbourne venue. Other improvements and innovations have included the introduction of private singing lessons and vocal coaching for 3rd year students as well as a targeted personal training program for performing arts students available on campus.
However, Wynen cites his favourite jazz standard " the Best is yet to Come" announcing a Masterclass with groundbreaking music theatre composer Adam Guettel ( Flyod Collins, Light in the Piazza) in June.
And to top it off Wynen will collaborate with Tom Hodgson (Billy Elliot) and Robyn Wommersley (presently MD for Their playing Our Song) to bring a full scale production of 42nd St to life at the historic Her Majesty's Theatre. This is the first time a production of this magnitude has been presented by the Arts Academy in a professional venue since 2007.
Theatre makers, producers, artists and prospective students need to watch this space for updates!