Urban Myth Theatre Company finds itself on the cusp of a new era, having helped guide the careers of some of South Australia’s biggest exports and rising stars – from Packed To The Rafters’ Hugh Sheridan to acclaimed young director, and ActNow Theatre founder, Edwin Kemp.
Urban Myth Theatre Company finds itself on the cusp of a new era, having helped guide the careers of some of South Australia’s biggest exports and rising stars – from Packed To The Rafters’ Hugh Sheridan to acclaimed young director, and ActNow Theatre founder, Edwin Kemp. After nearly a decade with the company, Artistic Director and CEO Glenn Hayden is wrapping up a tenure that has overseen some of the biggest changes in the company’s 32-year history, most recently relocating to its new home at the 130-year-old theatre, Goodwood Institute. While the move to the 212-seat theatre has thrown some challenges, Hayden and his team are keen to celebrate the company’s past, present and promising future with Hearts & Fire, a gala performance of the company’s new production of Romeo and Juliet. With a silent auction, wine wall and a range of door prizes, the August 15 event is the latest in a series of initiatives to secure Urban Myth’s future at its current Goodwood Road location. “The dream is for the building to become an international centre of performing arts with a focus on young people,” Hayden explains. “We want this to be a really funky venue where theatre, bands, spoken word, dance and visual arts can all come together in the one place in Unley. “This is the first gala we’ve held and it will be quite fabulous. [Adelaide jeweller] Albert Bensimon has designed a special ‘Hearts & Fire’ pendant inspired by Romeo and Juliet which will be auctioned off on the night.” Although fundraising remains an ongoing challenge, with a busy production schedule throughout August and September, the company will continue to do what they do best: engage audiences young and old with the unique magic of theatre, while nurturing a new generation of actors and directors. The August run of Romeo and Juliet will also serve as Hayden’s directorial curtain call with Urban Myth. “Ten years is a long time, so I think it’s time to let some new blood come in to the company,” he says. “It’s especially important, with a youth theatre company like Urban Myth, that it’s revitalised every decade to make sure it remains both contemporary and energised by an injection of new ideas and directions.” While adapting Shakespeare for school-age audiences can prove a challenge, following the success of the company’s 2013 production of Macbeth, Hayden couldn’t ask for a better play as his send-off. “Romeo and Juliet is a fantastic play for young actors,” he says, fresh from another run-through with his cast. “I think it’s really important for the senior ensemble to experience a classic text, and to tackle Shakespeare you really need to have all the skills that an actor needs to succeed physically and emotionally.” Ranging in age from 18 to 27, Urban Myth’s Senior Ensemble is testament to the success of Hayden’s team in cultivating a talented and assured crop of young actors. With an average of five students going on to drama schools such as NIDA, Flinders and AC Arts each year, the company is well-equipped to meet any future challenges head on while continuing to provide a thriving, inner-suburban cultural hub for South Australia. Romeo & Juliet Wednesday, August 13 to Saturday, August 23 The Goodwood Institute urbanmytheatrecompany.blogspot.com.au