Follow your dreams: celebrating drama and creativity at Joeys

St Joseph’s College is a place where creativity and drama thrive. The College has a rich history of nurturing artistic talents and encouraging students to explore their creative potential.

Recently, Joeys drama students showcased their innovative spirit by writing and performing Ultus: The forgotten story of Aurele de Lambert. Aurele de Lambert, an Old Boy of Joeys from 1897, defied convention by abandoning his medical studies to become known as ‘Australia’s Charlie Chaplin’, captivating audiences on stages and silent film screens in France and Britain during the early 20th century. His remarkable life story became the focal point for a self-devised play unit for Year 11 students, a testament to Joeys commitment to fostering creativity.

Under the guidance of Head of Drama, Mr Pat O’Shea, and director, Mr Simon Gleeson, students embarked on the challenging task of improvising, writing and performing a play based on de Lambert’s extraordinary life. De Lambert’s relative obscurity provided a blank canvas for the students to craft a unique narrative. They workshopped scenes and exchanged ideas, illustrating the magic of group creativity.

“It was a great example of their resilience and faith in each other,” notes Mr Gleeson. The process wasn’t without its challenges, as some scenes were cut or edited to refine the production. However, the students persevered, pushing for each other’s ideas and creating a 45-minute play that seamlessly blended elements of music, comedy and realism. The play culminated with rare black and white footage of de Lambert’s performance in Ultus, the first movie series ever created for a star actor.

The heart of the play revolved around the conflict between de Lambert’s father’s aspirations for him to become a doctor and his own yearning to be a performer. This internal struggle was artfully depicted, with the cast dancing to the Queen song Don’t Stop Now to underscore de Lambert’s anxiety about choosing a career in the performing arts over medicine.

In a stroke of creative brilliance, the students simulated de Lambert’s voyage to France by singing a sea shanty. Such innovative thinking enriched the play, and the involvement of actresses from neighbouring schools added depth to the production. Despite setbacks, including a last-minute cast reshuffle due to a Covid case, the students demonstrated resilience and unity, embodying the essence of drama and problem-solving in theatre.

The play’s success was undeniable, with packed audiences celebrating the students’ boundless innovation and energy as they brought de Lambert’s forgotten journey to life. Aurele de Lambert’s story serves as an inspiration for Joeys students to follow their dreams, take risks and embrace hard work to achieve their goals. The skills acquired during the creation and performance of Ultus will undoubtedly shape their future endeavours, opening doors to new forms of communication and artistic expression.

Creativity at Joeys doesn’t end on the stage. Old Boy Jackson Phillips, a 2018 graduate, exemplifies the College’s commitment to nurturing talent and fostering ambition. After pursuing a Bachelor of Arts in Screen Production at the Australian Film Television and Radio School, Jackson embarked on a career in the creative arts industry.

2018 Joeys graduate Jackson Phillips

His journey included working in Paramount and Network 10’s promotional department, scriptwriting and collaborating on independent projects. Jackson’s love for storytelling and his ability to evoke deep emotions through film are at the core of his work. His time at Joeys, particularly his involvement in drama, provided a safe space to express creativity and taught him valuable life lessons about determination and seizing opportunities.

Jackson’s story is a testament to the role St Joseph’s College plays in shaping the aspirations and careers of our students. As he continues to pursue his dream of writing and directing feature films, Jackson credits the College for helping him define his path.

In celebrating drama and creativity at Joeys, we highlight the College’s dedication to nurturing young talents and providing a platform for students to explore their artistic potential. From self-devised plays like Ultus to the blossoming careers of Old Boys like Jackson Phillips, St Joseph’s College is forging a path of creativity and inspiration.


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