School Dance

The story of three awkward teens and their hormone-fuelled quest for social acceptability.

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About

A Windmill Theatre Co production

This is a story of three teenage boys. They’re going to the school dance. They’re on a mission. But they are losers

First, there’s Matt. He’s 15, although he doesn’t look it. Then there’s Luke, also 15. Luke likes dancing. And for a loser, he’s pretty good at it. Neither Matt nor Luke has a girlfriend (if you hadn’t already guessed).

Then, there’s Jonathon. Even though he’s taller, he’s only 14. He’s excited about the dance – as long as he doesn’t run into Derek Sturgess, who threatened him with certain death if he appeared tonight.

These three are the awkward kids. The invisible teens. Fuelled by a diet of raging hormones and mee goreng noodles, they exist in a misfit realm, navigating complex waters with little success.

A highly personal work that, just like its central protagonists, is funny, sad, scary, weird, really stupid, endearing and repulsive.

  • Recommended for age
  • Theatre
  • 70 minutes
  • Depictions of violence
  • Occasional coarse language
  • Strobe effects

Awards

  • 2013 Sydney Theatre Awards Winner: Best Production for Young People
  • 2013 Sydney Theatre Awards Nomination: Best New Australian Work
  • 2013 Sydney Theatre Awards Nomination: Best Score or Sound Design in a Mainstream Production
  • 2013 Helpmann Awards Winner: Best Female Actor in a Supporting Role in a Play: Amber McMahon
  • 2013 Helpmann Awards Winner: Best Presentation for Children: School Dance
  • 2013 Helpmann Awards Nomination: Best Sound Design: Luke Smiles
  • 2013 Helpmann Awards Nomination: Best Direction of a Play: Rosemary Myers
  • 2013 Helpmann Awards Nomination: Best New Australian Work: Matthew Whittet
  • 2013 Helpmann Awards Nomination: Best Scenic Design: Jonathon Oxlade
  • 2012 Adelaide Curtain Call Award Winner: Best Show/Comedy: School Dance
  • 2012 Critics Circle Award Winner: Group Award: School Dance
  • 2012 Ruby Award Winner: Best Show: School Dance

Highlights from the Show

Meet the Cast and Creative Team

  • Rosemary Myers

    Director

    Under Rose’s leadership as Artistic Director, Windmill creates and presents work that is inspired by the vibrancy, sophistication and inventiveness of young people and the exhilarating challenges they pose to creating theatre of genuine relevance in this modern time. A multi-Helpmann Award nominated director, her productions regularly visit leading stages and festivals around Australia and the world, including the Sydney Opera House, Hong Kong’s Arts and Leisure Centre and New York’s New Victory Theatre. Her directing credits for Windmill include Pinocchio, The Wizard Of Oz, Fugitive, School Dance, Big Bad Wolf and Girl Asleep. Prior to Windmill, Rosemary was the Artistic Director of Arena Theatre Company and Artistic Director of Queensland Performing Arts Centre’s Out of the Box Festival in 2010.

  • Matthew Whittet

    Writer, Cast

    Matthew is an actor and writer who has worked extensively in theatre, film and television for the past 17 years. Matt’s first play Twelve was workshopped at the National Playwrights Conference in Perth, 2006. His second was Silver, directed by Ben Winspear for Belvoir downstairs in which he also performed solo. Matt’s collaboration with Windmill has resulted in four plays and one feature film with Girl Asleep being the most recent, in addition to Fugitive, School Dance and Big Bad Wolf. Matt’s two hander Cinderella garnered outstanding reviews at the close of 2014 in the Belvoir downstairs space and his most recent play Seventeen premiered in the upstairs theatre in 2015.

  • Luke Smiles

    Original Soundtrack, Cast

    Luke creates highly detailed soundtracks for theatre, dance and film, working across all areas of music composition, sound design, foley and sound effects editing. Working under his business name motion laboratories, Luke has composed and produced soundtracks for many Australian and international artists & companies. Various credits include: ʻGʼ (Australian Dance Theatre), Double Think (Byron Perry), Glow (Chunky Move), I left my shoes on warm concrete and stood in the rain (Gabrielle Nankivell), The Maids (Sydney Theatre Company), Wildebeest (Sydney Dance Company), Fugitive, School Dance and Girl Asleep (Windmill Theatre Company).

  • Jonathon Oxlade

    Designer, Cast

    Jonathon studied illustration and sculpture at Queensland College of Art, and since leaving he has trained with Kid Praha in the Czech Republic focussing on puppetry. As a theatre designer Jonathon has designed set and costumes for Queensland Theatre Company, State Theatre Company of South Australia, Circa, Kooemba Jdarra, Zen Zen Zo, Arena Theatre Company, Polyglot, Bell Shakespeare, Polytoxic, The Escapists, The Border Project and LaBoite Theatre. Venues and festivals include Sydney Opera House, Melbourne Festival, Brisbane Festival, Adelaide Fringe, Sydney Theatre Company, Malthouse and Queensland Art Gallery. Jonathon is Windmill Theatre Co’s Resident Designer.

  • Richard Vabre

    Lighting Designer

    Richard is a freelance lighting designer who has lit productions for Melbourne Theatre Company, Sydney Theatre Company, Malthouse Theatre, Victorian Opera, Windmill Theatre Co, Arena Theatre Company, NICA, The Darwin Festival, Stuck Pig’s Squealing, Chambermade, Rawcus, Red Stitch, Polyglot, Melbourne Worker’s Theatre, Aphids and many productions at La Mama Awards. Richard has won 4 Green Room Awards including the Association’s John Truscott Prize for Excellence in Design (2004). He has also been nominated for 7 other Green Room Awards.

  • Gabrielle Nankivell

    Movement Consultant

    An avid maker, performer, educator and collaborator, Gabrielle has spent over a decade creating and performing for a worldwide audience. Her choreographic work has been presented in 10 countries across 3 continents. She was also co-founder/director of the project company OX (Belgium/Slovenia) with Jurij Konjar from 2003-2007.

    Gabrielle’s performance credits with renowned international companies and artists include Ultima Vez/Wim Vandekeybus (Belgium), Raul Maia (Portugal), Thomas Steyaert (Belgium), Alexander Baervoets (Belgium), Aaben Dans (Denmark), Splintergroup/Animal Farm Collective (Australia/Germany), Luke Smiles, Regurgitator, Daniel Jaber & Australian Dance Theatre amongst others.

  • Chris More

    Animation

    Chris studied Electronic Design and Interactive Media at Swinburne and his work with the moving image has led to several creative collaborations for live performance and theatre, including Starchaser for Arena Theatre Company, Half Real for The Border Project, Wizard of Oz and School Dance for Windmill Theatre, Girl Who Cried Wolf for Arena Theatre Company, Criminology for Arena Theatre Company (co-production with Malthouse Theatre), and Skid 180 with Arena Theatre Company (co-production with Contact). Chris runs the creative design practise Studio Organic, an interdisciplinary studio working in visual design.

  • Andrew Howard

    Sound System Designer

    Andrew is a founding member of theatre ensemble The Border Project and a sound engineer at the Adelaide Festival Centre. His credits as composer/sound designer include Despoiled Shore Medeamaterial Landscape with Argonauts (The Border Project), Disappearance (The Border Project), The War (The Border Project), The Rope Project (Brink Productions), Please Go Hop (The Border Project), One Long Night In The Land Of Nod (Floogle Productions), Highway Rock ‘n’ Roll Disaster (The Border Project), The Birthday Party (Flying Penguin Productions), The Homecoming (Floogle Productions), Trouble On Planet Earth (The Border Project). Andrew was sound designer for Helly’s Magic Cup (Windmill Theatre Co) and Highway Rock ‘n’ Roll Disaster (Sydney Theatre Company).

Show moreless

WHAT THE CRITICS SAY

"Windmill has all bases covered...Open-hearted and quick on its feet, School Dance is a Festival hit."

The Australian

"A brilliantly fun night out."

Vogue Australia

"One of the funniest things I’ve seen on stage in years."

Jason Blake, Sydney Morning Herald

"School Dance is what we have come to expect of Rosemary Myers and Windmill a dashing, daring and decidedly lateral production for young people of all ages."

The Advertiser

"The cast overall is outstanding - as is the compilation of familiar tunes."

The Age

"Witty, gloriously anarchic and bracingly honest."

ABC Arts

"Smiles…is an exuberance to behold. Oxlade is deliciously dorky."

The Advertiser

"Get out your dance cards... you'll need to make room for this one."

Sydney City News

"Great fun. Don't miss it."

Sun Herald

"Simply wonderful in all aspects."

Adelaide Theatre Guide

"Myers pulls out all the stops to produce an extremely entertaining night at the theatre."

Adelaide Theatre Guide

Credits

  • Director Rosemary Myers
  • Writer, Cast Matthew Whittet
  • Original Soundtrack, Cast Luke Smiles
  • Designer, Cast Jonathon Oxlade
  • Lighting Designer Richard Vabre
  • Movement Consultant Gabrielle Nankivell
  • Animation Chris More
  • Sound System Designer Andrew Howard

Listen to the Soundtrack

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