SPOTLIGHT: Jemma Ryan
We’re putting a spotlight on our brilliant Playwave Creatives. Read about their highlights as part of the Creative team and the inspiring journeys they are on.
Next up is the super talented Jemma Ryan!
When did you become a Playwaver and what drew you to become a Playwave Creative?
I became a Playwave Creative at the end of 2022 after performing successfully in my HSC Drama major work in Theatre Criticism. I found the process so enjoyable and thought Playwave would be a great creative outlet. I had a chat with Playwave at the Walsh Bay Arts Precinct Open Day last year and the rest is history!
Your favourite memory as a Playwave Creative?
My favourite memory as a Creative was definitely when I was given the opportunity to speak to the Griffin Ambassadors about Playwave. As someone who is passionate about theatre, especially among young people, it was a privilege speaking to young thespians and encouraging many of them to sign up to be Playwave Creatives.
What is keeping your busy in 2023?
I am currently in my first year of uni studying to be a high school drama teacher. My primary focus this year has been the liberal arts so I have been exposed to lots of rich Greek and Roman texts, not only plays and literature, but philosophy and politics! My long-term goal is to study at VCA and become a director or dramaturg. I want to stage the classics through a contemporary, stylised lens and really bring out the heart, soul and beauty in texts often deemed as ‘archaic’ or ‘outdated’.
Who inspires you creatively?
Kip Williams is my primary inspiration in the Sydney theatre space. The fact he has the creative licence to bend and twist classic texts into campy, decadent masterpieces is truly inspirational, and similar to what I hope to accomplish someday. I also had the privilege of attending an ATYP Industry Studio workshop last month with Damian Ryan, and his wealth of knowledge about Shakespeare and interpreting the classics is truly remarkable.
How has being a Playwaver impacted your experience of the arts in Sydney?
Playwave gave me the opportunity to see more indie theatre in Sydney, from companies and in spaces that I was not previously familiar with! I have reviewed two productions at KXT and have also been introduced to Ensemble Theatre. Playwave has challenged me to look deeper for more niche theatre in Sydney!
Your top 3 picks for the best places to experience the arts and live performance in Sydney.
My top three picks for the best places to experience theatre would be the Roslyn Packer Theatre (because all my favourite STC productions have been staged there!), the Hayden Orpheum Picture Palace (I mean, it’s heritage-listed and absolutely gorgeous), and also Belvoir (specifically the downstairs theatre where 25A shows are presented because the space is far from the traditional proscenium-arch style theatre and challenges me to consider new ways of staging theatre!)
What would people be surprised to know about you?
People might be surprised to know that I only started doing Drama in Year 11, so two years ago. I never would have expected that it would consume my life in so many ways, but it really shows how seemingly small decisions have the propensity to change your life!
What has been the best arts event you’ve been to this year?
The best arts event I have attended this year (so far) has definitely been The Picture of Dorian Gray. This was my third (or fourth, I’ve lost count) time watching this production. As reductive as it is to say, this play is just…everything. It is everything I aspire to create in theatre and more, and it never fails to move me to tears.
What arts events are you most looking forward to this year?
I am really looking forward to watching The Visitors at the Opera House, and also seeing Summer of Harold at Ensemble Theatre (as I am a big Harold Pinter enthusiast and loved Window, Cricket Bat which has now been developed into this longer play!)
You can see Ensemble Theatre's production of Summer of Harold until 4 October 2023. Exclusive Playwave tickets can be purchased here.
Photos from above:
1. Jemma with Kip WIlliams
2. An excerpt of Jemma's review of Act Natural, KXT.
3. Jemma in a production of Cosi