Interview with Ursula Yovich | The Magic Hour

Posted by Thom Smyth, May 20th, 2014

The Magic Hour is embarking on a mammoth five state and territory, 23 venue national touring, opening tonight at Queensland Theatre Company’s Bille Brown Studio. The show’s star, internationally-renowned performer Ursula Yovich, brings a fresh, urban flavour to classic Grimm’s fairy tales in the swansong performance from Fremantle’s now-closed Deckchair Theatre. Ursula took time out from rehearsals to answer some quick questions from Performing Lines WA’s Thom Smyth.

TS: You’ve performed on every main stage and with every major theatre company in Australia. What was it that excites you about The Magic Hour?
UY: The Magic Hour gave me the opportunity to do a play where I was not playing an indigenous character and to play complex and dramatically full roles on stage and it’s fun.

TS: You have appeared as the solo performer in a number of works, including The Magic Hour and your own show Magpie Blues. Are you drawn to this sort of raw performer/audience relationship, or it is it completely terrifying?!
UY: It’s always terrifying! I think I’m losing my nerve but then I get up and I have to push everything out of my mind and tell the story. That’s the hardest thing for me to do as my mind is always talking. I do like the rawness and hope I get better at controlling the terror and enjoying the interaction more.

TS: You’ve won and been nominated for numerous Helpmann Awards, featured on stage and screen around Australia and the world…is there a stand-out moment you’ll never be able to forget?
UY: I’ve never been in a production with Cate Blanchett, perhaps one day? Who knows? I don’t really have one stand-out performance. I have always found in every performance a moment that I like. I try and find something about every performances that I like. 'The Magical Hour' / Deckchair Theatre - 17th May 2012

TS: What can’t you live without when you’re on the road touring?
UY: For this particular production I would have to say I can’t live without The Magic Hour script. I always go through my scripts before I go in stage, they’re my security blanket.

TS: The Magic Hour is visiting venues across five states and territories, including seasons with the Queensland Theatre Company and Darwin Festival. Is there anywhere on the tour particularly close to your heart.
UY: Darwin is close to me – I have a love-hate relationship with the place I grew up in. I have a desire to go back and live there but after visits I change my mind but then a few months later I sway back to wanting to live there.

The Magic Hour national tour commences 20 May 2014, travelling through Queensland, New South Wales, ACT, Victoria and the Northern Territory. Keep up to date on the tour with the hashtag #MagicHourTour

Image credit: Sydney Theatre Company

Filed under The Magic Hour

$200k Funding Boost For Sensorium Theatre Announced

Posted by Thom Smyth, May 7th, 2014

Access to enriching artistic experiences in special needs education will get a dramatic boost in Western Australia with the announcement of over $200,000 in funding for Sensorium Theatre through the Federal Department of Education.

Sensorium Theatre, led by Co-Artistic Directors Michelle Hovane and Francis Italiano, create interactive sensory theatre experiences for children with special needs, engaging all their senses and fostering ongoing creative response and engagement.

This is a wonderful acknowledgement of the importance of Sensorium Theatre’s work for audiences with profound and multiple learning disabilities. We thank the Australian Government’s Literacy, Numeracy and Special Needs Programme for Children and Students with Disabilities for their overwhelming support.” said Producer Fiona de Garis from Performing Lines WA.

The funding boost will support a regional schools tour of their show The Jub-Jub Tree; collaborative residencies with Kalamunda Education Support Centre and Sir David Brand School; and a pilot program in partnership with Mandurah Performing Arts Centre to develop an inclusive performance model for their show Oddysea for children with disabilities and early-years audiences.

“This funding is so exciting – we will be able to bring the magic of live theatre to even more children with disabilities who would otherwise miss out,” said Francis Italiano.

Sensorium Theatre will also use the funding to create The Imaginarium as their permanent home-base and a Centre for Excellence at Kenwick School, allowing ongoing engagement with children with special education needs, their teachers, carers and families from across the sector, a project also supported by the Westpac Foundation.

Supported by Performing Lines WA, Sensorium Theatre work in residence at schools familiarising children with the characters and concepts from their shows, encouraging a deeper connection with the final performance and proven lasting benefits.

Recent qualitative research undertaken by DADAA Inc into Sensorium Theatre’s production Oddysea showed overwhelmingly positive outcomes including engagement, enjoyment and responsiveness for audience members with special needs.


Download the media release here: Media Release – Sensorium Funding Boost Announced

Filed under Sensorium Theatre