Adelaide College of the Arts acting graduate Jane Mahady has worked for two years with national theatre company Bell Shakespeare and is coming home to direct her first play.
Jane graduated in 2012 with an Advanced Diploma of Arts (Acting) and has returned to direct second year acting students in a reworking of the medieval morality play Everyman premiering in late June.
Through Bell Shakespeare’s touring ensemble Jane has performed The Bard to the tough adolescent audience and is drawing on this experience in her current directing role by reworking and contemporising the play’s language.
“It's not easy to perform Shakespeare to 15 years olds at 9am but the way you do it is by showing them it's all just about people falling in and out of love, being ambitious, going through existential crises, adolescents trying to break away from their parents.”
Connecting with the audience is something Jane is familiar with and cites a career highlight as playing Helena in A Midsummer Night’s Dream at the Opera House. On opening night Jane was soliloquising about how Helena is 'as ugly as a bear’ when a young boy in the audience started laughing.
“He (the boy) was cackling away in the front row which started the whole audience off, tears were streaming down my face as I pondered how I could get Demetrius to return my affections - and all the while I was just beaming inside, I couldn't have been happier,” she said.
Jane sums up her three years at Adelaide College of the Arts as the perfect preparation for a career in the theatre industry.
“The full time tutors are so wonderful at seeing your potential and coaxing it out of you. They also know the value of having professionals working in the industry as guest lecturers and guest directors.This vital connection to the industry that Adelaide College of Arts fosters is one of the reasons our graduates are so prepared for the realities of professional work.”
Head of Acting Terence Crawford describes Jane as one of the College’s most successful graduates of the last few years and her being in constant work is a testament to this.
“Not only has Bell Shakespeare employed her (Jane) during this time as an actor, but her potential as a director has also been recognised,” he said.
To her cast Jane will pass on this advice: “You’ve got to work hard so that when you get opportunities you’re able to capitalise on them. Always look at how you could improve. Always be learning.”
One Act Plays which includes Everyman directed by Jane Mahady runs from 24 to 27 June. Much Ado About Nothing directed by Terence Crawford with Jane as assistant director runs from 19 to 23 June.
Find out more about Acting courses at Adelaide College of the Arts.