"Where Am I Going? You Tell Me!" is the catch phrase that Charity Hope Valentine cries in Act 2 of the hit musical Sweet Charity. As far as Director and Arts Academy Music Theatre Program Coordinator David Wynen is concerned it is straight to the top.

Sweet Charity is the inaugural major production from the Arts Academy since David Wynen’s appointment at the forefront of the highly esteemed Musical Theatre course. Wynen asserts that the musical will be “An extraordinary show that will highlight this very talented group of graduates”. Sweet Charity provides the students of the Arts Academy with practical, firsthand experience in Musical Theatre, and also doubly serves as a “great opportunity for agents to see this talented cast in a full scale production.”  

Sweet Charity is an endearing and wonderfully humorous tale with a perennially popular score of song and dance sequences, including Big Spender, Rhythm of Life, and Where Am I Going. The story follows a dance hall hostess, Charity Hope Valentine, on her journey to find love in New York City. Wynen believes that their interpretation of the 1966 classic “Will clearly demonstrate to those looking for training in Music Theatre why we are at the forefront” with their Musical Theatre Course.

Actor Chernae Howlett, who plays the title role, states that “It has been a fantastic learning experience and I have enjoyed every part of playing the role of Charity and learning about myself as a performer. I have also loved working with such a professional creative team – to watch their vision come to life is an amazing gift”.

Alongside David Wynen, the creative team includes Tom Hodgson (Billy Elliot – Associate Choreographer, DV8, Scapino Ballet) and Daniel Puckey (State Schools Spectacular, Aida Cruises, Michael Buble).

Howlett describes Charity’s “Fighting spirit and her eternal optimism” as what appeals to her most about the role. “She is constantly getting her heart broken, and is pushed around – but she always finds a way to keep going”. Howlett describes “keeping her spirits and energy up constantly” as the most challenging aspect of the role, but acknowledges it as a learning experience in the stamina required to playing such a “fast paced character”.


Sweet Charity is not to be missed – featuring the industries next generation of performers and theatre makers, Wynen is bridging the gap between Performing Arts training and the professional industry with this production; not only for Graduates, but also for the community.

Sweet Charity will be performed at the Helen Macpherson Smith Theatre in Ballarat from the 13th Sept – 23rd Sept. 

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More info on the Music Theatre course

The Arts Academy will be auditioning nationally in October and November.

Photo Credit: Chris Parker Photography

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