Guest blog: Anna Samson (BDrama 2010)
In our guest post series, we invite alumni, staff and current students to reflect on their time with the VCA. This week we catch up with VCA graduate Anna Samson to talk about her memories of the VCA, and appearing in the Malthouse’s production ‘Pompeii L.A.’
Anna Samson graduated from the Victorian College of the Arts in 2010. In her third year of study she received the John Tallis Award for excellence in drama. She was selected to be the graduate ensemble member at Red Stitch Actors Theatre after graduation. Here she performed in Ruben Guthrie, written and directed by Brendan Cowell, and in the World Premiere of Joanna Murray-Smith’s Day One. A Hotel. Evening.
She performed in After All This with the ensemble Elbow Room, in 2011, for the Melbourne Fringe. After All This went on to win Best Performance in the 2011 Fringe Awards and also received Best Ensemble Performance in the Melbourne Green Room Awards.
She performed in the Melbourne Theatre Company’s Australian premiere of Richard Bean’s The Heretic, directed by Matt Scholten.
In November 2012 Anna will make her performance debut at the Malthouse Theatre in Pompeii L.A. written by Declan Greene and directed by Matt Lutton.
Anna has also appeared in the television series Conspiracy 365. She has also worked for ABC Radio as a voice artist, reading a selection of short stories for Radio National.
I recently found my graduating photo, purchased last November at the graduation ceremony of the class of ‘2010’. I stuck it on the fridge with great fondness. I’m not sure anyone enters a ‘Bachelor of Dramatic Arts’ course for that certificate but I think it marks a great achievement and more so, a unique experience.
I am glad I was at VCA when I was. It was tumultuous time politically, as the federal funding cuts meant an imminent curriculum change. This meant that as a body of students we were camping out on the front lawns in tents between eight hour a day rehearsals and rallying together to create a protest march on a level of spectacle that only an ‘art school’ could lay claim. We had a great deal of fun in the process of being political. It also meant that as young artists we had to fight for something we believed in and give voice and value to what we do.
I went from one artistic family to another and after graduation was taken by Red Stitch Theatre as the graduate ensemble member, a beautiful theatre with the idea of empowering actors at its backbone.
Most recently I saw the close of my first Melbourne Theatre Company ‘gig’, The Heretic, a production that raised some politics of its own. Noni Hazlehurst who rallied with us students at the ‘Save the VCA’ protest was playing my mother and VCA graduate director Matt Scholten led the team.
One night when I was feeling particularly nervous before a show, Noni said to me that “You have to imagine that the audience is 560 cabbages, you also have to remember that it’s them we serve, we serve humanity”. It was nice to be reminded that we need to take what we do as artists incredibly seriously but not to take ourselves too seriously within it.
I am thrilled to be working on the Malthouse production of ‘Pompeii L.A’ for many reasons. Declan Greene is such a unique and lyrical playwright and his writing is so brave. It is such a thrill for an actor to come across writing that demands so much. As a fairly recent graduate of the Drama school, I have already worked with some talented artists. It is such a brilliant feeling to share the stage with wonderful actors and the Pompeii L.A team is one I am very proud to be a part of.
Graduating VCA certainly didn’t mark the end of my training as an actor. I’m learning more and more with every show, every audition and every day.
A version of this article originally appeared on Channel, the Faculty’s previous publishing platform.