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Seton Pollock and Amy Bradney-George in Maz and Bricks. Credit: Jamie Barber, House of Phoenix Eleven

We caught up with local artists Amy Bradney-George and Seton Pollock, who are the founders of theatre production company Et Tu Theatre, now based in Bellingen. Et Tu Theatre have been established since 2019 and just ran their first production in Bellingen, Maz and Bricks, at the Memorial Hall. We had a chat about their recent show and future plans for Et Tu Theatre.

Tell us a bit of background about yourselves and Et Tu Theatre

Et Tu Theatre was founded in Melbourne in 2019, by classically trained actors Amy Bradney-George and Seton Pollock. We first met in 2016 during a production of William Shakespeare’s Coriolanus, got together very soon afterwards, and got married in Bellingen in 2021 during the COVID pandemic. 

The idea for Et Tu Theatre came about In 2018. We were both working on different theatre and film projects and having lots of conversations about what we love about theatre, but also about the challenges. It’s often hard to find fulfilling productions as an actor and both of us felt there were a lot more interesting and entertaining stories to share with audiences which hadn’t been widely explored in Australia. So we decided to start producing it.

Our first play was Stockholm by celebrated British playwright Bryony Lavery, which Seton had read at NIDA. It was clever, entertaining, funny, physical, and topical, all the things that we wanted Et Tu Theatre to be. It also required a lot of collaboration from other creatives, including a director, fight choreographer, movement director and sound designer. The success of that show and the joy we found working with everyone on it set us on a path to find more plays that would be engaging for audiences and creatively fulfilling for everyone involved behind the scenes.

What has Et Tu been up to since coming home to Bellingen?

Amy grew up in Bellingen and we got married here in 2021, so we had a really strong connection to it before moving here. After enduring the COVID lockdowns in Melbourne (at one time the most locked-down city in the world), and navigating challenges with producing theatre at the time, we started to discuss the differences between theatre in major cities and regional areas. 

So we officially moved into Bellingen in May 2022, and since then have been working at introducing ourselves and Et Tu Theatre to the community. Our first production here was the Australian premiere of Maz and Bricks by award-winning Irish playwright Eva O’Connor, in September/October 2023 in the new Bellingen Memorial Hall studio space. We were absolutely thrilled by the amazing support and response from the community. It’s been both humbling and inspiring!

What’s coming up next from Et Tu?

We’re running a workshop at Camp Creative in January 2024 called Acting for adults: Finding yourself in the scene. We’ve based it on a core part of actor training known as scene study, which focuses on a specific scene so that you can find how you connect with the character. We’ve designed this course so anyone can do it and will hopefully get something out of it, just as a human being!

We also have several ideas for upcoming productions. We’re planning to start with one show a year and build on that from there. So we’re deep into planning and pre-production for our 2024 show, and without giving away too much, can promise that it’ll be an absolute cracker of a show!

How do you go about selecting and curating productions?

We believe that theatre is meant to be thought-provoking and entertaining. Theatre is at it’s best when it encourages thought, discussion, laughs and catharsis. You have to make it worth your audience’s hard-earned time and money, so it’s important that the shows we choose are a worthwhile night, or day, out for our audiences.

And it’s important to us both that the plays we choose have something to say, which gives people an opportunity to continue the conversation after the lights go down. So we read a lot of different plays, from all over the world, and then create a shortlist. After that, it’s about finding the one that resonates with us at the time, and which will allow us to work with other creatives who are available at the time.

How would you like to involve community and local artists?

There is so much creativity involved in producing theatre, both on and off the stage. And we know this is such an incredible creative community in this region. So we would love to work with local artists and creatives, from actors to stage managers, directors, set and costume designers, musicians, visual artists… so much more. Even if you’re not sure how your creative skills could be used, if you’re interested we would love to hear from you!

We want to continue to grow the professional theatre industry here, to do bigger and better shows and to give our audiences more of those “wow” moments. We want to really contribute to the outstanding artistic community that sets Bello apart. Our ambition is for Bellingen to be a centre for professional local theatre in the Mid-North Coast region. But it’s not something that can be done in a vacuum, and we can only reach those goals if we continue to grow, expand and embrace people from all backgrounds, cultures, and experiences. That is our aim! So let us know who you are, come work with us and let’s make great theatre together.

Find out more about Et Tu Theatre and get in touch here.

Seton Pollock and Amy Bradney-George in Maz and Bricks. Credit: Jamie Barber, House of Phoenix Eleven
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