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Melbourne Polytechnic Students Bringing the Laughs

10 Apr 2014

Two of Melbourne Polytechnic's Diploma of Live Production students are on secondment to this year’s Melbourne International Comedy Festival.

Sarah McSweeney and Bianca Gibson have been recruited to work on comedy shows across a number of venues during the internationally renowned festival and are gaining valuable industry experience and contacts.

Sarah is on secondment to the Festival’s South Precinct Coordinator and has been helping to ensure that everything goes smoothly at venues including The Forum, The Arts Centre, The Famous Spiegeltent, ACMI and the Swiss Club. “The roles I've been helping out with have varied immensely,” Sarah said. “During bump-in we set up all the rooms ready for performance. This sometimes meant turning a kitchen into a venue and putting up makeshift walls to transform a large room into six small rooms. I also spent a lot of time at the Portland Hotel setting up house and emergency lights, air conditioning, seats and green rooms.”

“In the first few weeks of the course at Melbourne Polytechnic, I gained basic light, sound, and stage direction knowledge, which has helped me immensely. Now, during the festival my primary role is to help with change overs and swap the sets between acts. This has brought me up close and in conversation with comedians like Sam Simmons, Ronny Chieng and Denise Scott.”

“The best part of the experience so far has been being able to ask industry questions to many different people, and learning how contractors with ABNs manage working for themselves. Secondments from last year are now light and sound technicians for 2014, which is what I hope to achieve next year.”

The Diploma of Live Production Theatre and Events (Technical Production) is a one-year, practical course that equips students with skills and knowledge in the areas of theatre lighting, stage/event management, visions systems and theatre sound. Most importantly, the course provides pathways to future employment in the live theatre and events industry.

Robert Hails, Melbourne Polytechnic’s Program Coordinator, Performing Arts, said that the entire department was excited by the secondments. “This experience will open so many doors for the students and will provide them with insights into how the industry really works. They’ll make valuable industry connections and have the ability to put their theoretical learning into action. This is a particularly good outcome for Melbourne Polytechnic, as the course only commenced in February.”

“As a department, we have developed strong links with industry. I invited the Comedy Festival’s Production Manager – Venues to come and speak to the students early in the year and students submitted cover letters and résumés to the Festival for consideration. As a result, Sarah and Bianca were offered secondments, which was a great outcome.”

“We do our best to get students out into the related industry from week one of the Diploma  and focus on practical skill development and networking, which are cornerstones to employment.”

Interview / Photo Opportunity

Media enquiries should be directed to: James Gardener, Melbourne Polytechnic Communications Coordinator 03 9269 1579 or 0413 483 182, ua.ud1481019387e.tim1481019387n@ren1481019387edrag1481019387semaj1481019387

Melbourne Polytechnic is an exciting new educational provider operated by parent Institute, Northern Melbourne Institute of TAFE. Melbourne Polytechnic delivers certificate, diploma and degree programs across a wide range of creative, commercial and service industries. In addition, Melbourne Polytechnic delivers selected higher education programs in conjunction with La Trobe University.

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