Kong-Sized VCA Cast – The Road To Recovery

Posted by savevca1 on November 29th, 2012

Sam Hooper, Joshua Robson, Adam Lyon, Chris Ryan, Jacob Williams

In 2009 Uni Melb abruptly cancelled VCA Music Theatre and Puppetry. Today, VCA Acting, Music Theatre and Opera grads have dominated the KING KONG full cast announcement (read it on Aussie Theatre here).

Furthermore, the former head of VCA Puppetry Peter Wilson is now the Puppetry Director on King Kong.

You may remember the Producer of King Kong Global Creatures was one of the first to come out in defence of VCA in The Age, so we’re thrilled to see them hire so many graduates. Music Theatre is officially alive and well at VCA and we hope to see Puppetry return soon.

How’s VCA for you now? Tell us on Facebook!

Want to see how far we’ve come? Cruise through the media reports from 2009 in our Resources section – yikes!

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OFFICIAL VCA FACEBOOK https://www.facebook.com/thevictoriancollegeofthearts

KING KONG MEDIA RELEASE INCLUDED IN FULL (with our highlights of VCA grads)


Victoria’s elite art school grads dominate Kong-sized company

On 15 June, 2013 forty-nine actors, singers, dancers, circus performers and puppeteers will become the world premiere cast of the epic music theatre event KING KONG – and most of them are Victorians.

“We’ve been scouring the country since February 2011 for our cast and I am thrilled that we can finally reveal the all-Australian company that will join our principal cast, international creative and music team to bring Kong to life,” said Carmen Pavlovic, CEO of Global Creatures.

“Not only will KING KONG be exclusive to Melbourne, but we are building Kong himself in our West Melbourne workshop, and we were pleased to discover it was Victoria’s arts training institutions that have proven to be the crucibles of the talent we needed.”

The Victorian College of the Arts (VCA) is the biggest tertiary provider of cast to KING KONG, with both Adam Lyon (Carl Denham) and Chris Ryan (Jack Driscoll) being graduates, in addition to another six of the cast. In particular, the College’s Music Theatre course has made a miraculous recovery after being briefly cancelled by the University of Melbourne in 2009, supplying five graduates to the show.

“At the last election we committed to providing additional support for the VCA because we recognised the importance of access not only to world-class venues, but also to local, highly-skilled artisans if Victoria is to remain the arts capital of Australia,” said Premier and Arts Minister Ted Baillieu. “It is heartening that so many Victorian artists are involved in KING KONG, and we look forward to the production’s 2013 season being another reason for people to visit Melbourne.”

Professor Su Baker, Director of the VCA said, “It is thrilling to see so many of our graduates, across a number of art forms, working on KING KONG. It demonstrates the quality of education and strength of training at the VCA is proving attractive to producers like Global Creatures and establishes Melbourne as the home of Music Theatre in Australia, supported by the reintroduction of our Bachelor of Fine Arts (Music Theatre) program.”

Victoria’s National Institute of Circus Arts (NICA) has also proved an invaluable resource for the production, not only during the numerous workshops of KING KONG, but in supplying six of the “Kings Men”. These aerialists will be purpose-trained by Puppetry Director Peter Wilson (and former head of VCA Puppetry) and Aerial/Circus Director Gavin Robins to manipulate the one-tonne, six-metre, giant silverback Kong on stage, complimenting the animatronic wizardry for which Global Creatures is renowned.

“I am thrilled to see NICA graduates bringing Kong to life as part of the ‘Kings Men’. It is fantastic that NICA and its facilities are playing a vital role in this very exciting industry,” said Pamela Creed, NICA Director & CEO.

KING KONG has shied away from big-name casting, and put its faith in a diverse cast that are highly skilled in their respective fields of specialty.

“I am ferociously proud of our 100% made-in-Australia cast. Audiences should brace themselves; not only does our cast dance and sing and act, but they fly, flip, and fall through the air, looking darn gorgeous in the process. Never before have I had the privilege of working with such a group of world-class entertainers,” said KING KONG Director Daniel Kramer.

In addition to its 49-strong cast, KING KONG will also employ a crew of 76 for the entire run of the show. Because of the sheer scale of the production it will not tour to other states or to New Zealand.

KING KONG is authorised by the Merian C. Cooper Estate and is proudly supported by the State Government of Victoria and Tourism Victoria

KING KONG http://kingkongliveonstage.com/

Previews from 28 May, Opening 15 June 2013

Regent Theatre, Melbourne


Esther Hannaford (Ann Darrow)

Adam Lyon (Carl Denham) – VCA OPERA


Richard Piper (Captain Engelhorn)

Queenie van de Zandt (Cassandra)


Charles Bartley

Damien Bermingham

Amy Berrisford

Amy Campbell

Sophie Carter

Angelique Cassimatis

Will Centurion

Andrew Cook

Samantha Leigh Dodemaide

Simon Fairweather

Samantha Hagen

Ross Hannaford – VCA MUSIC THEATRE

Melanie Hawkins

Danni Hegarty


Loren Hunter

Travis Khan


Sam Marks

Hayley Martin

Scott McConnell

Tracie Morley

Glen Oliver

Chris Ostrenski – VCA MUSIC THEATRE


Romina Villafranca

Dean Vince

Leigh-Anne Vizer


Lincoln Barros

Steve Coupe

Adam Davis

Harley Durst

Ricky J. Everett

Josh Feldschuh

Brett Franzi

Nathan Jones

Nathan Kell

Russell Leonard

Brent Osborne

Troy Phillips

Mike Snow


Tayo Wilson

(note – one “Kings Man” still to be cast)

Full cast headshots and bios available at



KING KONG is the new epic music theatre event from Global Creatures, the makers of the international hits Walking With Dinosaurs – The Arena Spectacular (WWD) and How To Train Your Dragon Arena Spectacular (HTTYD).

The show includes new and existing songs from some of the world’s best contemporary artists, including 3D from Massive Attack, Sarah McLachlan, Justice, Guy Garvey from Elbow and The Avalanches. The music is being overseen by composer and arranger Marius de Vries, whose credits include the soundtracks for Moulin Rouge and Romeo + Juliet.

KING KONG has been in development for the last five years with an award-winning international team comprising: director Daniel Kramer, a rising star of the European opera and theatre stages; Tony-nominated writer Craig Lucas; BAFTA winner and Grammy-nominated composer and arranger Marius de Vries; young New York-based lyricist Michael Mitnick; American Choreography Award-winner John O’Connell; the multiple Helpmann Award-winning production designer Peter England; creature designer Sonny Tilders, the mastermind behind the amazing animatronics in WWD and HTTYD; Tony Award-winning costume designer Roger Kirk; the multi-talented UK lighting designer Peter Mumford; Grammy, Tony and Olivier Award-nominated US sound designer Peter Hylenski; Berlin-based, Green Room Award-winning projection designer Frieder Weiss; international aerial and circus director Gavin Robins and puppetry director Peter Wilson, a Sidney Myer Performing Artist of the Year.

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