Graduate Programme Annual Intake
The injection of new talent and ideas into the ensemble is encouraged with the Graduate Program initiative in which the company selects two recent graduates to become full ensemble members for a year. In turn, Graduate Ensemble members are provided with invaluable production experience, media exposure and support in the important first twelve months out of their training institution. This initiative has been created in conjunction with the Victorian College of the Arts, The National Theatre and Swinburne University.
Each year one actor selected by audition and one production crew member are invited to join the company as full ensemble members. Successful graduates who join the Red Stitch ensemble are given the same responsibilities as other ensemble members, and treated as key stakeholders in the company. They will have a hand in all productions and be involved in major decision making, including the sourcing and development of new work.
This initiative is designed to formalise the existing relationship between Red Stitch, the VCAM and Swinburne schools. Additionally it will provide some continuity and knowledge base in the Stage Management and technical division working at Red Stitch. In turn, recent production graduates will receive expert tuition and guidance from Red Stitch's resident Lighting Designers, Design and Production Management and work alongside industry professionals on a regular basis.
Those graduates chosen as acting ensemble members are guaranteed at least two substantial performing roles in that year's season of plays. In line with Red Stitch policy, all members may take leave of absence for professional acting work outside of the company.
The Graduate Program has made a significant contribution to the careers of performing artists and production crew since its introduction in 2008. Creatives leaving the program have significantly greater experience and opportunities, and a clearer idea of the direction they wish to pursue within the arts generally. Recent Graduate Program actors include Karen Sibbing (2010), Johnny Carr (2009) and Tim Potter (2008).
"Leaving drama school can be a daunting experience...I was attracted to the program as it provided me with a place inside an exciting company to perform, voice my opinions and remain part of an artistic community. Working with and meeting a variety of actors, directors and writers has been an invaluable experience and has helped me build relationships that I'm certain will continue into the future." - Johnny Carr (2009)
Production crew graduates include Emma Hale (2010), Olivia Crockford (2009), Isobel Ferns (2008).
With a vacancy in the ensemble created in late 2008, graduate actor Tim Potter was invited to join the company as a permanent member, although, generally speaking, graduates remain with the ensemble for a limited period of one year.
Auditions for actors are held in December of each year and are now a compulsory feature of the VCAM's graduate exhibition round. Production crew candidates are recommended to Red Stitch by their training institution and assesed by interview.
In 2011, VCA graduate actor, Anna Samson, and production graduate, Pippa Russell, from Swinburne University join the company as part of the Graduate Programme.