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HotHouse Theatre Studio Ensemble's 'Between the Clouds' crosses country-metro divide

It’s a year of firsts for Hothouse Theatre’s Studio Ensemble. This year not only have they worked with the Sydney based Australian Theatre for Young People (ATYP), but they will also bring the co-production, Between the Clouds to Sydney and perform in ATYP’s Studio 1 at Walsh Bay for a four night season from 25 – 28 November.

The play has just completed its season at the Butter Factory Theatre and was, according to HotHouse Theatre General Manager, Tahni Froudist, received fantastically.

‘The play has had an incredible reception and we’re looking forward to sharing it with Sydney audiences this week,’ Tahni said.

Written by Sydney based stage and screenwriter, Julia-Rose Lewis, Between the Clouds, is based on the real-life social media experiences of teenagers – in fact members of the Studio Ensemble contributed to the development of the script giving the young actors the chance to be involved in a professional development process and rehearsal before the premiere season.

The play explores the online power technology gives people – travelling the globe with the click of a button, starting and breaking trends, and even the thousands of different versions of themselves they can create. But it also asks what this means for people who live in regional Australia. Is there a disconnection even when people are connected to the internet?

The Studio is an advanced, comprehensive skills development program for 16-25 year olds who identify as potential professional actors or theatre-makers. They are selected through an audition process and commit to a year of intensive tuition and performance preparation. The year also includes voice and movement, performance, theatre-making, play construction, and arts marketing and fundraising.

The 2013 and 2014 Studio Ensembles created and performed highly successful new works based on local stories, and with the commissioning of Julia to write Between the Clouds, this tradition continues. The 2016 ensemble will research and perform At the Hip, a verbatim work about Albury-Wodonga and border culture.

The HotHouse –ATYP Partnership

At the time the work was being conceived, HotHouse former Artistic Director, Jon Halpin and Associate Director, Travis Dowling, thought it would be a great opportunity to partner with ATYP on a new work for and by young people.

‘The two companies have a strong history of supporting emerging artists and it felt like a fantastic partnership to develop,’ Tahni said.

The partnership was strengthened further with ATYP’s Writing Coordinator, Jenni Medway working in on Between the Clouds as dramaturg.

‘This has meant that Julia has been supported as she writes from her home in Sydney, as well as in creative developments here in Albury Wodonga,’ Tahni added.

HotHouse has a long history of partnering across the country with some of Australia’s best arts organisations, collectives and artists.

‘It’s been fantastic that through our partnership with ATYP, and with the help of an Arts NSW Regional Theatre project grant, we’ve been able to continue this with our emerging artist program.

Between the Clouds has been created by the Studio and the creative team in regional Australia, and is using our stories, but they’ve been able to create a piece of work that speaks across geography.’

For tickets to the ATYP season click here.

Read more about STUDIO

Read The Border Mail review here.

About the Playwright

Julia has worked with companies including Belvoir St, ATYP, La Boite, The Brisbane Powerhouse, and HotHouse Theatre.  Her first full-length play Samson made its mainstage debut in a Belvoir St/ La Boite Co-production in 2015 starring Ashleigh Cummings (Puberty Blues). She received the 2014 Philip Parsons Award for Samson.

Julia’s short film, This Feral Life was released online in 2014. It had its international premiere at Tampere Film Festival, Finland and is currently on the festival circuit. Julia has been mentored by Lally Katz through an Australia Council JUMP Mentorship. She was a previous Playwright in Residence at La Boite Theatre, Brisbane.