University trio’s message TOO good not to take show on the road

MESSAGE: Rebekka Manns (front), Taylah Evans and Gabrielle Allen have a show about self image that they have been taking to rural high schools. Photo: CHRIS SEABROOK
MESSAGE: Rebekka Manns (front), Taylah Evans and Gabrielle Allen have a show about self image that they have been taking to rural high schools. Photo: CHRIS SEABROOK

THREE recent Charles Sturt University (CSU) graduates are learning a lot as they tour a show through regional NSW.

And they are teaching as well: the show, TOO, has a message about being comfortable in your own body for a generation exposed to an avalanche of images of unattainable perfection.

Rebekka Manns, Taylah Evans and Gabrielle Allen graduated from CSU last year with a Bachelor of Communications specialising in theatre/media and have since formed an amateur theatre group, TOO Productions.

The show was created as their major work in the third year of their degree and was performed at CSU’s Sprung Festival last September.

After applying for and receiving the Blair Milan Memorial Touring Scholarship – which is selected by the academic staff of the theatre/media course, with input from the late Mr Milan’s peers and the Milan family – they were able to take the show on the road.

They have since taken TOO to high schools in Cobar, Bourke, Walgett and Nyngan in western NSW, where theatre performers don’t traditionally tread.

And the reaction?

“Extremely positive,” Ms Manns said.

The director of the show, and its sound engineer when it’s on the road, Ms Manns is able to surreptitiously see the audience’s reaction while Ms Evans, Ms Allen and the other performers are on stage.

“You can see the audience engaged,” she said.

The show uses the words of a diverse range of people collected in interviews during the development of the production.

“Every single word in the show is 100 per cent people's words,” Ms Evans said.

The trio say they have been excited by where the production has taken them so far and how it has affected those who have seen it.

“We have had teachers say that it's the best show that they have had at school,” Ms Allen said.

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