“Great theatre is about challenging how we think and encouraging us to fantasize about a world we aspire to” – Willem Dafoe
Western Edge Youth Arts’ flagship ensemble, the Edge Ensemble, brings together young people from culturally diverse backgrounds to devise high quality contemporary theatre performances. The project-based ensemble has consisted of members from Sudan, Australia, Nigeria, Croatia, Vietnam, Samoa and Zimbabwe.
This cultural complexity strongly influences their work and promotes inclusivity within the company and the community. They weave physical theatre, music, rap, dance and Shakespeare into unique performances under the mentorship of artistic director, Dave Kelman, and co-artistic director, Penny Harpham. The results have been electrifying.
Through our professional development program, ensemble members are being mentored to develop broad performance, theatre devising and writing skills. Some members of the Edge Ensemble also have the opportunity to support WEYA’s community youth theatre projects as workshop facilitators, inspiring others to express themselves through theatre.
Check out the Edge Ensemble's latest work here.
Past Edge Ensemble members:
Abraham Herasan is an actor and theatre maker who first joined Western Edge as a member of the Flemington Theatre Group in 2011. He has performed in WEYA’s King Lear, Grusha’s Story and Caliban (2016).
Achai Deng is a singer and dancer with the Phoenix hip-hop group. With WEYA, she performed in Iago and Scheherazade and in 2016, she performed in Caliban (2016).
Amarachi Okorom is an actress who has been part of WEYA since 2017. She has performed in At First Glance and TIG with the Wyndham Edge Ensemble, and Caliban (2018) with the Edge Ensemble.
Ebony McGuire is an actress who has worked with Yirra Yaakin, ILBIJERRI Theatre Company and wit incorporated. She was inspired to work with WEYA after seeing Six Hours in Geelong and performed in Caliban (2018).
Craig Gungata is a dancer, actor, musician and peer facilitator. He performed in Six Hours in Geelong and Antigone as part of Geelong Edge, and in Caliban (2018) with the Edge Ensemble.
Legrand Andersen is a writer and performer who was awarded Emerging Community Leader of the Year by Maribyrnong City Council in 2010. He played the lead role in Iago for two seasons as part of the Edge Ensemble and in Caliban (2016).
Natalie Lucic is a talented writer and actress. She has worked on projects with Platform Youth Theatre as well as recent Western Edge productions Iago, Scheherazade and Caliban.
Oti Willoughby is an actor and rapper. He has performed in Scheherazade and Iago and played the lead role in Caliban (2016) as part of the Edge Ensemble.
Piper Huynh a writer, production manager and actress who has been a leading figure in WEYA’s community youth theatre projects, Chronicles and Fate, and performed in both versions of Caliban.
Rex Pelman is a skilled musician, member of a hip-hop choir and performer. He has performed and worked as a peer facilitator with WEYA for 10 years.
Ror Akot is a hip hop artist, poet, and actor who recently starred in SBS series, Sunshine. He joined WEYA in 2016 as a peer facilitator at Wyndham Edge and performed in Caliban (2018).
For further details on their next performance click here.
Past Edge Ensemble
WHERE DO SPIRITS GO WHEN THE WATER RISES?
Alright, so here’s what I know.
Me. My island.
My space, my peace.
Knew this place like the back of my eyelids,
Could read it like a book, cover to cover, leaf to root to paw print to coloured flower and fruit.
Caliban’s island is sinking. Ariel is an artificial intelligence system with the power to save the world. But as she learns more about the people she was built to protect, she is forced to make a choice that could destroy them.
Exploring the battle ground of global climate politics through the eyes of those on the front lines, this brand new Australian work reclaims Shakespeare’s iconic character of Caliban and gives him his own voice in a world where only the richest survive.
Floating stories from Sudan, Nigeria, Zimbabwe and Noongar country in Western Australia, Caliban is a dynamic and energised performance that draws from the past to question how we’re living in the present. Crashing between Shakespeare and rap, nature and technology, physical theatre and audio visual projection, this electric performance allows young people to grapple with Australia’s most urgent question: how do we save the planet if we’re the ones to blame?
Created and performed by the Edge Ensemble: Natalie Lucic, Ror Akot, Piper Huynh, Ebony Maguire, Amarachi Okorom, Craig Gunguta
Director: Penny Harpham
Writer: Georgia Symons
Set and Costume: Owen Phillips
Sound Composition and AV: Daniel Nixon
Stage Management: Jessica Hutton
Production Management: Sally Farr
Caliban premiered at the Coopers Malthouse 24-26 November 2016 with the 2016 Edge Ensemble. Original script by Georgia Symons, Achai Deng, Abraham Herasan, Piper Huynh, Natalie Lucic, Rexson Pelman, Oti Willoughby and Dave Kelman.
MEDIA & REVIEWS
“an adaptation that wreaks perfect havoc on its source text, layering the urgency of climate change into its plot and characters.” – ★ ★ ★ ★ Theatrepeople
“Western Edge Youth Arts have done and continue to do remarkable work but the real accolades go to the Edge Ensemble for a clever thought-evoking message.” – ★ ★ ★ ★ ArtsHub
“spirited, vibrant and painfully accurate” – Theatre Press
“Caliban is pertinent worthwhile theatre… Go Western Edge!” – Stage Whispers
TOURING DATES & TICKETS
14 May, 11am – Potato Shed (Drysdale)
16 May, 10.30am – Riverlinks (Shepparton)
17 May, 8pm – Wyndham Cultural Centre (Wyndham)
18 May, 11am – The Bowery (St Albans)
22 May, 6pm – Bunjil Place (Narre Warren)
23 May, 10am – Bunjil Place (Narre Warren)
23 May, 12.30pm – Bunjil Place (Narre Warren)
25 May, 1.30pm – The Wedge (Sale)
31 May, 7.30pm – Mildura Arts Centre (Mildura)
The Caliban Tour is proudly supported by:
Watch the waters rise on Instagram and Twitter at #CalibanSt
In the not-so-distant future, Caliban has left his island because it is disappearing under rising sea levels. He has come to Melbourne to search for Miranda, the girl he grew up and with and once loved. Now he searches the streets of the hot city looking for love and meaning.
#CalibanSt is a twenty-minute interactive street comedy by the Edge Ensemble that combines slap-stick, audience interaction, fast and funny poetic dialogue, and strange and complex characters.
Be a part of the story by posting thoughts and photos online with #CalibanSt. The best tweets or instagrams of the day, as judged by the Edge Ensemble, will win a $200 JB Hi-Fi gift card or second prize of a $100 iTunes gift card.
Iago Interactive has toured schools in Melbourne’s west in June and July, including North Geelong Secondary College, Footscray City College, VU Secondary College (Deer Park), Hume Central Secondary College and Manor Lakes P-12 (Wyndham) during June and July.
The interactive work takes selected characters and scenes from Iago, a radical contemporary adaptation of Shakespeare’s Othello, created by the Edge Ensemble, and performed in a highly acclaimed season at the Coopers Malthouse theatre in May 2015. Iago Interactive includes discussions of safe sex, pornography, male violence, women and men’s attitudes to sex and how to build respectful relationships. It challenges male violence against women and promotes respectful relationships through a unique interactive model that allows the audience to comment on, question and impact the outcomes of the piece.
Set in a fictitious boxing gym, Iago re-imagines Shakespeare’s characters as young people from different cultural backgrounds from Melbourne’s western suburbs. Expect to be captivated with this contemporary, fast-paced exploration of gender identity and sexual politics in a rapidly changing world.
Presented by Western Edge Youth Arts and performed by the Edge Ensemble.
Date: 7 to 9 May 2015
Time: 7 May at 7pm, 8 May at 7pm, 9 May at 3pm and 7pm
Venue: Malthouse Theatre, 115 Sturt St Southbank.
Tickets: Adults $28, Conc $20, group discounts for 10 or more.
MA 15+ Contains strong themes and sexual references
‘This vigorous contemporary adaptation of Othello transplants the plot of Shakespeare’s tragedy to a boxing gym in the western suburbs. It’s a thoroughly multicultural production – one of its pleasures lies in seeing an ensemble of young actors who claim heritage from countries as diverse as Samoa and Uganda, performing with confidence.’ – The Age, 8 May 2015
‘Tackling the themes of Shakespeare’s morally complex tragedy Othello is challenging, but this visceral and provocative re-imagining handles it bravely and delicately. A skilfully interwoven examination of identity in a modern multicultural society.’ – Time Out Melbourne, 8 May 2015