Never Know When – SEA Ensemble’s Cutting Edge

Never Know When – SEA Ensemble’s Cutting Edge

Regional Arts WA

This story was submitted by a member of the : Anne Sorenson from Southern Edge Arts. We love sharing stories from the sector. If you want to find out how to submit your own stories, take a look at the Submit Your Story page. We can’t wait to hear from you!

You never know when things are going spiral out of control. 

You never know when people [animals] you thought you could trust will start to turn; cut a deal.

Right before your eyes things can turn sour and nasty, or even violent. 

For SEA Ensemble, Southern Edge Arts’ youth theatre performance development cohort, never knowing when was the key ingredient for their most recent youth devised contemporary theatre piece, created by the ensemble under the facilitation and direction of Nelson Blake. It was one of the main stage productions for our Living on the Edge Festival of Youth Performance in September 2022.

Image: Hardey Croucher, Makayla Mole and Amanda Bunker in Never Know When. Photo by Bob Symons, ACE Camera Club.

Buried beneath the façade of invading soldiers and holidaying grey nomads (‘snow birds’), the feud between the dogs vs the birds created an absurd conflict that was subtly revealed as the play progressed. At the same time, a film-noir style detective, Mop Cop, tries to solve the mystery of the polar bear, who seems to have jumped from a boat, or appeared in an unusual location due to their usual residence melting, or been skinned by dog dentists trying to extract a golden tooth. Amongst what seems like chaos, order shines through when the work offers the solution to its own problem: Fibonacci spirals and patterns being formed.

Finally, the pizzas make sense.

The young actors played multiple roles, switched roles and costumes and utilised multi-media to create multi-layers, every boot-scooting scenario also revealing just how talented they really are.

Never Know When was a technical achievement with Campbell Creswick’s sound and AV and Luke Simpson’s Lighting delivering solid technical outcomes. And this is not the first time, SEA has been integrating live-feed greens screens, video projections and postmodern script writing techniques in our youth-devised contemporary theatre works for a few years now.

Image: Hardey Croucher and Rhyan Beckett-Kitson In Never Know When. Photo by Bob Symons, ACE Camera Club.

In the past few years at SEA, we have deliberately introduced these techniques, in addition to in-the-round staging, avant-garde music creation and bespoke lighting methods to ensure the youth engaged in our programs are learning relevant theatre skills for the industry they will be employed in.  Our shows introduce young people to the future of their craft, and help them harness it to tell their stories.

In the face of these achievements, it saddens us that all-too-often the public seem to consider youth theatre as something boring, only for the parents and friends, or as one-dimensional (cringey) angsty teenage themes. Our SEA Ensemble have presented works that confront the futility of community consultations, feuding between rival community groups, the absurdity of colonising other planets and the corruptibility of power. These themes demonstrate the maturity and complexity of youth theatre.   

Southern Edge Arts has been a champion of creativity and quality arts practice in the region for over 35 years. Driven by the passion of young people to perform, guided by professional practicing regional artists. SEA continues to create community, culture and contemporary arts experiences for regional audiences. Visit the Southern Edge Arts website to see upcoming events and workshops.

Southern Edge Arts is supported through the Regional Arts Sector Investment program, funded by the State Government and delivered by Regional Arts WA.

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