Interview: Lauren Renee – playing Rita in IpSkip’s production of ‘Educating Rita’

Glam Adelaide spoke to Lauren Renee about her upcoming role in newly formed IpSkip Productions’ production of Willy Russell’s “Educating Rita”

 Glam Adelaide spoke to Lauren Renee about her upcoming role in newly formed IpSkip Productions’ production of Willy Russell’s “Educating Rita”
B.G. Hi Lauren, could you tell us a bit about yourself and your performing career?
L.R. I was born and raised in Johannesburg, South Africa, and moved to Australia in 2008 to study Law and International Studies at Adelaide University. I graduated in 2012, worked in Parliament for a year, and am admitted as a Solicitor in the Supreme Court of SA. I have been performing from childhood, in various capacities, but my musical career began in high school – culminating in a Year 12 performance of Grease, in which I played Betty Rizzo. After arriving in Adelaide, I took a break from theatre to focus on my studies, and then joined Soul Factor Gospel Choir in 2011 – I still sing with them when I can. Since 2014, I have returned to the stage in earnest playing Amalia Balash in Therry Dramatic Society’s production of She Loves Me, and am in the process of transitioning out of Law and into the Creative Arts professionally. My favourite roles include: Mary Poppins (for Matt Byrne Media 2015) and Tracy Lord (for Therry Dramatic Society 2016).

B.G. Who do you play in Educating Rita and what are your thoughts on the character?

L.R. I play ‘Rita’, though I should say Mrs Susan White. I have absolutely loved the opportunity to get to know this determined, passionate and courageous young woman. I am completely inspired by the way that suffering and difficulty drive her to action rather than retreat and I am deeply moved by her pursuit of herself in truth and ’the things that matter’. Her desire to empower herself to step beyond the mundane, material and every day is something I identify with very closely.

B.G. What are your thoughts about the play itself?

L.R. Willy Russell is an artist I have always admired for his ability to strike very deep and very relevant chords, while still producing work that is entertaining, warm and leaves an audience feeling light rather than overwhelmed. Educating Rita embodies these things amazingly, and the sharp wit, brilliantly interesting characters, and consistently relevant story are just some of the reasons audiences will love it.

B.G. What are your thoughts on Nathan Quadrio as a first-time director?

L.R. Having already been exposed to Nathan’s keen eye for theatre through his reviewing*, and the great opportunities I’ve had to work with him, I was unsurprised to find that he has a great talent for finding key moments within the text and bringing those things to life through his amazing attention to detail on the stage. It has been a delight to see him bring his vision to the table and work to ensure that the final product accords with it, while still maintaining a collaborative spirit and open ear to the thoughts and work of the actors under his command. I look forward to seeing what else he has up his sleeve!

B.G. Why should people see this production?

L.R. As I mentioned before, Willy Russell’s impressive script is not to be missed – there are moments that will have audiences laughing out loud, and those that will hit them right in the chest. It’s a thoroughly human, incredibly relatable story with beautiful reflections on issues that touch us all. Further, it is so exciting to see new endeavours in the arts in our state, especially as funding and support for it are dwindling. So, supporting our local companies and young directors is absolutely pivotal to maintaining our rich theatrical heritage. Please don’t miss it!

Since the putting up of this article, we need to announce that the entire season of the production is COMPLETELY SOLD OUT!!

Interview by Brian Godfrey
Twitter: @briangods

*Nathan Quadrio is an Arts Reviewer for Glam Adelaide


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