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3..2..1…Blast off (to Space Dragon Adventure)!

Jayme Zimmermann sits down with the Newcastle University Drama Society and spills all the tea on their new production.

‘Space Dragon Adventure’ is a wacky, loud, intergalactic whirlwind show that is produced, performed and written by the Newcastle University Drama Society (NUDS). The show is a revival of the story by Jack Madden and Imogen Bilinsky, which was created and performed in 2016.

Jess Leese is making her directing debut with ‘Space Dragon Adventure’, and her passion and drive really shine through in her work. I sat down with her ahead of the show’s opening night to discuss what the show has in store.

“Space Dragon Adventure is about a space crew who is trying to discover the cure for their planet’s virus. So, they’re on this space mission, they’re completely dysfunctional. They end up crash landing. I mean I could say more. That’s the gist”.

Jack Madden, one of the original creators, explains that the show is a sci-fi wonderland that highlights many aspects of different sci-fi movies.

“Imogen Bilinsky and I sought to create a show the direct opposite of the first NUDS play ‘Things in Moderation’. We thought the best approach would be to prioritise entertainment over (the) rigidity of structure and conventionality, and space seemed the best frontier to serve as our playground.

“We were inspired most obviously by ‘Star Trek’ and our beloved ‘Futurama’, but other influences included the occasionally camp vibe of ‘The Fifth Element’, as well as little nods to ‘Star Wars’.”

NUDS is working very hard on their production, with Jess at the reigns. She describes the process of creating the show as fun and exciting.

“It’s been good. Basically, just a lot of rehearsing. We rehearse three times a week, which is a bit straining on some of us. It’s just a lot of fun. Everyone is really comfortable and (have gone) from strangers to best friends.”

Not only is the show amazing, but it also has an amazing cast.

“NUDS holds open auditions for all students. It basically had a big audition panel,” says Jess. We just decided based on how they went during that. But everyone was perfectly cast. Everyone just turned out to be the ‘perfect’ character. So, kind of a bit fateful in that way.”

The cast opened up about their experience of bringing the show together. In particular, Abigail Woods, who plays the ship’s commander, Galaxia, was very positive.

“It’s been hectic, but good hectic because we’ve only worked on it for a few weeks. It’s been a very short process, but I’m thankful we’re all so amazing and talented. Everyone has done so well together. If it weren’t for the level of ability of everyone it wouldn’t be as successful as it is right now.”

Zak Butler, who plays the ship’s engineer, Carter, highlights that “It’s great. People are great. Great fun. Great time.”

Georgia Burston, who plays a bitchy sass pot called Celeste, believes that NUDS is unique and important to the uni community.

“I think it’s great because a lot of people who normally wouldn’t have talents they can utilise get the opportunity to come out. Like, you should see the alien make-up! It’s freakin’ cool!”

Recreating an original show from three years ago is an amazing accomplishment for NUDS.

“I just think it’s amazing that we’ve actually managed to do a revival of one of our own shows,” says Jess. “The drama society which started out from nothing has actually managed to do one of its original shows again. I find that kind of incredible, considering we’ve gone from nothing to here. We are being able to do it with a higher budget, with more resources for us, I find that really cool.”

‘Space Dragon Adventure’ is a fun and exciting show that will bring a lot of laughs.

“We want everyone to have a fun time. The show is just made to be a bit of fun, and so if you gather nothing from this show, I just hope everyone has the best time. It’s just a lot of fun,” says Jess.

Tickets are $12.50 for students, and $16.50 for adults, and are available on the Newcastle University Drama Society Facebook page or at the door. The show will be held at Tantrum Studio in Merewether, and goes from Friday the 17th and Saturday 18th – starting at 7:30pm, and Sunday the 19th – starting at 6pm.

Feature Image: Newcastle University Drama Society, no changes made 

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