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August 2009 Issue
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No dramas about acting

 Theatre Guild

Students who give up drama to study other subjects at university don't need to completely abandon their enjoyment of the theatre.

That's the message from students and staff involved with the University of Adelaide Theatre Guild.

For more than 70 years, the Guild has played an important role in the broader cultural life of the University and the city of Adelaide.

With four productions a year, students, graduates, staff and members of the community can become involved at all levels, both on the stage and behind the scenes.

In its latest production for the 2009 season, the Guild will present Shakespeare's Richard II (8-22 August).

Depicting the struggle between English king Richard II and his cousin, Henry Bolingbroke (the future Henry IV), Shakespeare's play details the fundamental clash between the right of the king to rule and the right of the kingdom to be ruled well.

Directed by Harry Dewar and starring Graham Self as Richard II and Russell Slater as Bolingbroke, the production also features a number of University of Adelaide students among the cast.

These include Science and Arts student Josh Coldwell, who plays Henry 'Hotspur' Percy, one of the rebels against the king, and International Studies, Media and French student John Dexter, who plays the Duke of Aumerle, one of those faithful to the king.

Josh, 19, from Nairne, completed Year12 Drama at Oakbank Area School and has been acting in amateur productions for a number of years.

"When I read Richard II I really enjoyed it. Unlike a lot of Shakespeare's other plays, it's not as clear cut in this as to who's good and who's bad," Josh said.

Josh said he remained keen on drama performance. "It's a good release," he said. "It gets you to use a different part of your brain. If you're doing the same thing all the time, it can get a bit unhealthy."

John, 20, from Heathfield, agreed that drama provided a balance to academic pursuits. Having won a scholarship for Year 12 Drama at Scotch College, John sought out the Theatre Guild after his first year of university studies.

"I love acting because I love inhabiting a story, seeing things from a different perspective," he said. "It's very good for getting rid of stress and keeping you sharp. Even though I'm not studying drama anymore, it feels great to be able to keep acting."

Also joining the cast is a familiar face among Theatre Guild followers: two-time former Chair of the Guild and University of Adelaide staff member John Edge. His first Guild performance was 40 years ago - also in Richard II - just after he had graduated from the University with Honours in English.

Forty years ago he played the role of Sir Henry Green. This month, he will play John of Gaunt, Bolingbroke's father.

"I believe there is self-evident value in working in theatre - you are individuals working towards the benefit of the group, which is the production. There's great value in what you learn from that. The Guild has provided this opportunity for students, staff and many others over the years, while maintaining a tradition of campus-based theatre," Mr Edge said.

Richard II opens Saturday 8 August, then Tuesday to Saturday 11-15 and 18-22 August at 7.30pm in the Little Theatre, North Terrace Campus.

Tickets: $25 full/ $20 concession; Tuesday performances are $15 for current University of Adelaide students and staff.

Tickets available from the Theatre Guild on +61 8 8303 5999 (fee applies for credit card bookings), from BASS on 131 246 (booking fee applies), or online.

For full details, visit:

Story by David Ellis

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From left: University of Adelaide staff member John Edge with students John Dexter and Josh Coldwell
Photo by David Ellis

From left: University of Adelaide staff member John Edge with students John Dexter and Josh Coldwell
Photo by David Ellis

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