Two young Novocastrians passionate about theatre, acting and directing have launched a production company, providing equal opportunities for females and underrepresented individuals in the creative arts industry.
HER Productions is the brainchild of co-artistic directors Charlotte De Wit and Marigold Pazar, who decided to join creative forces and establish their own company.
“Our main goal is to provide opportunities for women and underrepresented people in all aspects of the industry,” Charlotte said.
“So not just telling stories for women, written by women, but providing opportunities for stage managing, lighting design, costume design, directors and writers.
“There are female producers, but many successful theatre companies in Newcastle are run by men, and they are choosing stories that interest them, which is absolutely fair, but we really wanted to offer a space for more diverse stories and more diverse people.”
Marigold said they were focused on producing professional work and finding cast and crew from all skill ranges and backgrounds.
“With every production, we will try for funding and get people involved not only at an amateur level but also include professionals,” Marigold said.
“This way, everyone can get something out of the experience, and the whole theatre company can really grow and evolve.
“Once I was in communication with Charlotte about the idea of a theatre company in Newcastle, it all just made perfect sense. We were both on the same page about what work we wanted to produce, so we just naturally came together.”
Officially launching at a special event inside the iconic heritage-listed Victoria Theatre on April 9, HER Productions showcased a taste of their debut theatre production Annie Baker’s adaptation of the Russian classic Uncle Vanya by Anton Chekov.
The full show will be presented from May 25 to 29 at The Lock-Up, located on Hunter Street, Newcastle.
It was a rare opportunity to access the 1870s Victoria Theatre, which is still undergoing restorations since its closure in 1966— both Charlotte and Marigold were honoured to reignite the flame of the oldest theatre in NSW.
“It was so amazing, and I was really proud for both Charlotte and I to have such a successful launch,” Marigold said.
“We had a beautiful, supportive crowd, and our actors were thrilled.
“I feel like we really gifted our audience with a real treat – we felt really supported, and that’s the most important thing, to be shaping this with a community that wants it.”
Charlotte said the audience had missed the “magic of live theatre” and were excited to see the full production soon.
“We had such great feedback from our launch, and we are so excited to showcase the full show come May,” Charlotte said.
The theatre production of Uncle Vanya was scheduled for release in September last year but was unfortunately postponed due to the COVID-19 lockdown.
Luckily, HER Productions was recognised by the City of Newcastle, who awarded the company Special Business Rate (SBR) funding to help produce the show.
The SBR program is a funding pool available for local businesses to directly run creative projects to promote, beautify, and develop Newcastle’s business precincts.
HER Productions is a collaboration and creative fusion of Charlotte and Marigold’s collective 20 years of experience in acting, directing and theatre production.
Marigold began acting at the age of 22, where she studied at various Sydney studios and schools, from the Actors College of Theatre & Television (ACTT) to ScreenWise Film and TV School for Actors.
“Throughout my 20s, I have continued to try and keep up with my education, so I can keep training and refining my skills,” Marigold said.
“Over the last four or five years, I have made two short films which required directing, producing writing, acquiring a crew and collaborating with other creatives.
“I’m also an actor, so I swing between producing and acting roles, which are both completely different experiences.”
As well as co-directing and producing the upcoming production of Uncle Vanya, Marigold is also performing in the show as Yelena.
Charlotte is a Newcastle local and started theatre classes at 14, where she “absolutely fell in love”.
“I did classes for many years at Hunter Drama and was given plenty of opportunities to perform, assistant direct and direct, so that was really rewarding,” Charlotte said.
“I went on to study in New York City at the Atlantic Theatre Company for their Summer Intensive Program when I was 21 and fell in love with it. So I came back to Newcastle, where I’ve produced, directed, acted, and performed for the past 10 years.
“After working for other companies, I’m really excited to be producing and directing work that I’m really passionate about, and it’s really nice to have a supportive partner to do it all with!”
To purchase tickets to see HER Productions’ debut theatre show, Uncle Vanya, visit trybooking.com.