The brainchild of Ian and Leanne White, Centrestage Performing Arts School's fulltime 1 year musical theatre course SHOWFIT may only be about to graduate its second class of students but it has certainly already had an impact on the Industry.

That's our own Emily Mercurio on the right. 🙂 Photo: Strafford Float

Graduates from the 1st year include Jack Pearson who is a core cast member of Winners and Losers playing Patrick Gross, Brent Trotter who has spent this year touring with Grandma from Gulligulch and is about to join the Australian tour of Jersey Boys, Mary Lascaris who is performing at Universal Studios in Japan, Amy Ruffle and Katie Wood who both recently appeared the new Paul Kelly musical The Last Train and Stephen Lopez who is currently rehearsing Café Rebetika which will open shortly at the Victorian Arts Centre. Several other students have gained work in film/TV and commercials. For these performers the one-year SHOWFIT course provided the consolidation they needed to make that step into the business.

For some other SHOWFIT students the course provided the solid stepping stone to gaining a place in a 3-year musical theatre degree course. Laura Johnson went off to WAAPA, Jason Kos is currently in the musical theatre stream at NIDA, and Yasemine Arifoglu is currently studying at Ballarat Arts Academy. Many others in the course are also creating their own work by writing their own shows that will be performed in the upcoming Short + Sweet Cabaret festival in Melbourne. 

With a dedicated team led by Simon Gleeson and Leanne White, (Course Directors) Mathew Frank (Musical Director), and Dior Deumer (Creative Administrator) SHOWFIT students are exposed to the very best of Australian and overseas tutoring. Guests for 2011 have included:  Noni Hazlehurst, Philip Quast, Rowena Balos (LA), Michael Lavine (NY), and Bryan Batt (NY).

One of the most innovative aspects of the course is that Showfit students all are assigned a working musical theatre mentor who helps guide them through the year and encourages them through the challenges of a full time course. 2011 mentors include: Ben Lewis, John McTiernan, Anne Wood, Amanda Harrison, Bert Labonte, and Amy Lehpamer, just to name a few.

This year’s 25 SHOWFIT  graduates will be showcasing at the Malthouse on December  15th at 4pm and 7pm. The showcase this year is being directed by Terence O’Connell, musically directed by Mathew Frank, and choreographed by Sue-Ellen Shook and Michael Ralph. This is a tremendous opportunity to see the wonderful work being done at Centrestage.

Keep a look out for the 2011 SHOWFIT grads – they are shaping up to be a very employable bunch of performers!

Photo: Strafford Float