The age-old tradition of experimentation is alive and well in Illawarra student theatre, according to those in the spotlight.

“The beauty of theatre is that it’s unpredictable. You can have a script ready to go and you can’t change the words on paper, but in almost every adaptation, the end product will be something different,” theatre director, actor, and third-year performance major Aaron Lucas said.

Despite significant acting experience, Lucas said, as a student director at the University of Wollongong, he is given ample freedom to explore unique and original methods of theatrical adaptation.

In March this year, Lucas directed his own play at UOW; British playwright Dennis Kelly’s ‘Love and Money’.

“Basically, the setup for my staging was the audience set up in the middle of the performance space on swivel chairs, with the four walls of the room the actors’ stage. The actors would also weave through the audience,” Lucas said.

“I did it to excite the audience, but also to involve them in ways that wouldn’t normally be possible in a place less open to alternative techniques of theatre.”

Samuel King, starring in next week’s production of Ross Mueller’s ‘Concussion’ at UOW said his director, Catherine McKinnon’s approach is no exception.

“The main character is a concussed amnesiac, so she’s incorporated a split-level staging style which kind of segregates his dazed and confused state-of-mind, and the audience’s reality,” King said.

McKinnon also incorporated a lighting setup inspired by the works of visual artist James Turrell, whose work can be enjoyed at this year’s Vivid Festival.

Maddy Stedman, who also stars in ‘Concussion’, said, while innovation is more obvious in stage design and lighting, her methods of acting stem from the same source.

“There are a lot of things, both on and off scripts, that I probably never would have undertaken three years ago. There’s some hard-hitting stuff in some of our productions,” she said.

“And every workshop, you have to sort of acclimate yourself. Once you do, you can let go and really focus on your art.”

‘Concussion’ will be show at UOW from Thursday 4 – Saturday 6 June, in the Performance Space (25.168),