THEATRE DREAM: Ben Anderson performing in A Midsummer Night's Midterm at USQ Artsworx Theatre.
THEATRE DREAM: Ben Anderson performing in A Midsummer Night's Midterm at USQ Artsworx Theatre. Contributed

Honour for thespian student

ONE TALENTED Clermont teenager has been accepted into an elite performance program after fighting his way to the top.

Clermont local and Toowoomba Anglican College and Preparatory School boarder, Ben Anderson, is one of 12 people who has been accepted, via audition, into the Empire Youth Arts IMPACT Ensemble.

The elite performance program is for young artists aged 14-20 to further their skills in theatre.

The Year 10 student said the audition was a great space for him to show who he was as a young artist.

"The audition was exceptional, mostly due to the incredible work of Youth Arts Director at Empire Theatres and leader of our ensemble, Ari Palani” Ben said.

"When Ari called to offer me a place in the ensemble, it was the middle of school holidays and we were just about to go out mustering on our beef cattle property, 110km west of Clermont.

"I answered with half a bar of reception, motorbike idling in the background, wondering, 'Who would be calling me?'. It was a pleasant surprise to hear his voice.”

The talented group of performers will create, market and perform a self-devised play, which will be performed at the Empire Theatre on October 19-20.

Ben said the group was in the planning stages.

He said the production was inspired by Joan Lindsay's novel Picnic at Hanging Rock.

"It won't be a direct retelling of the story, but rather we will be exploring a number of themes from the text, such as ignorance, myth and Australian identity, with a focus on youth voice and youth perspective,” he said.

"We're also scrutinising some of the problematic subject matter that the novel presents.

"We are progressing well, and I'm excited to see the product of this incredible group of young artists.”

Ben said the experience of working in the positive, open and collaborative environment that the ensemble provided was "invaluable”.

"Being in a group of such like-minded people is refreshing; it means that we can openly explore who we want to be as artists and the kind of content we want to create,” he said.

"It's also important because it gives us a voice as young people, lets us share our ideas, and deliver an audience the world from our perspective. That in itself is empowering.”

Ben said he wanted to be involved in more quality productions.

"I am just looking to gain as much experience as I can to develop my skills as a producer and performer,” he said.