Work experience student Emma Jaeger-Pound tells us about her week in the rehearsal room at MTC.
The moment I stepped into MTC HQ and was cheerfully greeted by the gentleman at reception, I knew I was in for an exciting week. After completing the application process at the end of 2016, I was thrilled to have received an offer to spend the week in the rehearsal room with director Marion Potts for MTC’s production of Di and Viv and Rose.
During my initial tour, I was amazed by the amount of people working behind the scenes, as well as the magnificent collection of props and costumes accumulated over the span of the Company’s existence. It was quite remarkable seeing familiar faces, from screen and stage, peering back at me from posters and photos which lined the walls.
I was fortunate enough to have the opportunity to observe the second week of rehearsals of Amelia Bullmore’s Di and Viv and Rose. My first day, spent solely in the rehearsal room, is where I gained awareness of how meticulous and repetitious you must be in order to produce such a high-quality production; it was also wonderful to see how open and free everyone was to express themselves and their ideas within the rehearsal room. As the week progressed I began to really notice and appreciate the wonderful environment this created and how it allowed the actors to explore, and to bring their characters to life. One of my favourite things about theatre is how collaborative the process is; this was evident in the rehearsal room as people were constantly asking questions about their characters, motivations, and settings. I loved how thoughtful everyone’s responses were and the support they showed for one another.
The play consists of a small cast, and includes prominent Australian actors, Nadine Garner, Belinda McClory, and Mandy McElhinney. Despite being quite nervous to meet everyone, I was so grateful of how welcoming and kind they were; so much so that the director, Marion Potts, invited me back to a Saturday rehearsal at the end of their fourth week of production.
One of the most insightful parts of the week, especially as an aspiring actor, were the conversations with the cast and crew about their careers and lives. It was truly invaluable learning about working within the creative industry and the life of an actor; where and how they gained experience; how they balance family life; and how they support themselves if there is a lapse in performance work.
Outside the rehearsal room, I was also fortunate enough to attend one of Belinda’s costume fittings, as well as helping the team in charge of the props room by spending one morning cleaning and organising a section of props storage. It was wonderful seeing so many aspects of production – watching sections of set being built, seeing the sound designer being present in the rehearsal room, and the dialect coach working with the actors each morning.
My work experience week at MTC was extremely enriching and allowed me an insight into the world of professional theatre; this time has inspired me to continue to explore possibilities in my journey within the industry. It was wonderful being able to spend the week being surrounded by such inspiring female creatives, and in a professional setting removed from a school environment.
Amelia Bullmore’s Di and Viv and Rose plays at Southbank Theatre from 12 August.
Learn more about our Work Experience Program.