Theatre alive and well in the New England region

Theatre alive and well in the New England region

Founded by UNE alumni in 2017, and primarily made up of past and current UNE students, Veracity Theatre Company is presenting its second full production in Armidale this May.

Founder, Michael Cornford, completed a Bachelor of Media and Communications at UNE (2013). Alongside other members of the UNE community and the public, Veracity premiered After Dinner by Andrew Bovell late last year as their debut production.

This year, the company is presenting Cosi, by Australian playwright Louis Nowra. First produced in 1992 it was made into a film in 1996. It features a university graduate directing his first show (Mozart’s opera ‘Cosi Fan Tutte’) in a mental asylum and grappling with the importance of making light art when those around him would prefer political action.

Cast member, UNE graduate, and Creative Arts Coordinator at The Armidale School Andrew O’Connell shed some light on what it’s been like working on the production thus far.

‘”The work is rich with humour and the ensemble has given it such colour and spirit.

“Despite time pressures and the many commitments that all cast members have had to juggle, it has been a focused, hard-working rehearsal room (with a healthy touch of goofing around). There is such a sense of reward already felt in seeing the results of the hours we’ve put away, particularly in the last few weeks.”

What makes Veracity Theatre Company so special is the focus it has on staging Australian theatre locally in the New England region.

“Michael’s vision for the company is to have it operate as professionally as possible as he seeks to create meaningful theatre and stage Australian stories,” says Andrew.

“It’s important that audiences get to experience our nation’s stories on our stages; theatre otherwise remains a mix of international adaptations of the old, and staging of the new.”

Despite certain challenges associated with being a regionally-based theatre company, Andrew believes it is the passion and dedication to upholding this mission that makes working with Veracity so special.

The company has proved a beacon for many young graduates from the theatre and performance courses at UNE and other aspiring actors in the region, providing opportunities to experience theatre and get involved in a pro-amateur project.

Though the Arts industry can be a tough one to crack, Andrew says sometimes you just have to take matters into your own hands.

“Pitch someone an idea, develop a performance, start a company, head to a fringe show or make an excuse to get in front of and audience and share you work.

“Theatre in a regional area is not impossible and prove anyone who says so wrong by getting out there and creating your Art.”

If you’re lucky enough to be in Armidale, Veracity Theatre Company production of Cosi will be showing until 15 May at TAS Hoskins Centre. Tickets and further information are available on the Veracity Theatre website.

Author: Alexandra Cook
Office of Advancement
02 6773 2933