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Lord of the Flies

Alexander and George Missailidis take up residence at Arts Centre Melbourne

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31 March 2017

Although published over 60 years ago, Lord of the Flies is still one of the most widely read and frequently examined books today. In this theatrical performance, the action is transferred from deserted island to deserted theatre as a group of schoolboys find themselves abandoned. With no adults around they start to make their own rules and create their own civilisation, before order breaks down and the story builds to an electrifying climax.

In what promises to be the theatrical event of 2017, Arts Centre Melbourne is bringing the beloved William Golding novel to the stage from 5 – 9 April, bringing the legendary characters to life with raw physicality, emotional intensity, and breathtaking performances.

The cast includes New Adventures Professional dancers from the UK, professional dancers from Australia, and remarkable young talent from across Victoria, who have been sourced through a grassroots community outreach program.

After an extensive workshop and audition process, 23 boys were chosen to form the Young Ensemble. Ranging in age from 10 years to 25 years the performers come from regional Victorian areas including Leongatha, Shepparton, Swan Hill, Mildura, Beaconsfield, and Cranbourne as well as metropolitan Melbourne suburbs including Blackburn, Box Hill, South Yarra, Brunswick West, Preston, Reservoir, Hoppers Crossing, Edithvale, Dandenong North, Oakleigh, Hampton Park, Hampton, Mentone, and Bentleigh East.

The performers were selected by Sir Matthew Bourne, regarded as UK's most popular and successful choreographer and director, who creates and directs dance for musicals, opera, theatre, and film.

He has chosen a mixture of boys and young men with varying experience including some who have little to no dance experience, those from Singapore, Afghanistan, and the US, and a cast member who is also in a heavy metal band. With the inclusion of two 10-year-olds and two 11-year-olds, the average age of the Young Ensemble members is 14 years and seven months.

Alexander Missailidis (11 years) and George Missailidis (15 years), Greek brothers from South Yarra, are two of the talents invited to take up residence at Arts Centre Melbourne and join the ground-breaking professional production.

The brothers' musical theatre debut was Opera Australia's 2014 production of The King and I at the Princess Theatre, in which George was cast as "Crown Prince Chululongkorn" and Alexi as "Prince Bunmi" in the Children's Ensemble - starring alongside Lisa McCune, Jason Scott Lee, and Lou Diamond Phillips. They reprised those roles with Babirra Music Theatre the next year and received Guild and Lyrebird nominations for their performances.
Lord of the Flies will be the second professional production in which the boys share this amazing experience together. They are both very fond of ballet and contemporary and are extremely excited to be cast in this show.

"Contemporary is one of my favourite dance styles and I could not wait to be in a professional contemporary dance production," Alexander Missailidis tells Neos Kosmos.

"It's also very exciting to be part of the experience with my older brother! I've done jazz, tap, hip hop, ballet, contemporary/lyrical, and musical theatre for eight years and I'm training in a performing arts and classical ballet squad now. I enjoyed the contemporary choreography and making new friends at the Lord of the Flies workshops, and being a member of the Ensemble is most exciting to me because it's my first professional contemporary dance production."

Alexi is also cast in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang with Babirra Music Theatre in the Children's Ensemble in June 2017 at the Whitehorse Centre.

"I'm so excited to be joining the cast of Lord of the Flies as a member of the Ensemble," enthuses older brother, George Missailidis.

"I love musical theatre but I also wanted to be in a professional contemporary dance production. This is my first professional contemporary dance production and I'm excited to be sharing the stage with my younger brother. I have eight years of dance experience in jazz, tap, hip hop, ballet, contemporary/lyrical and musical theatre, and I'm currently training in the performing arts and classical ballet. I enjoyed meeting lots of different kids at the workshops and the various styles of choreography. In my free time I like chess, reading, writing, and creating math theories," he said.

Neos Kosmos went on to ask the talented brother a few questions, here's what they told us:

(L-R) Alexander and George Missailidis. Photos: Mark Gambino

When did you first start acting/ dancing?
Alexi: I was five years old when I started acting and dancing with the Children's Performing Company of Australia (CPCA, now known as Stage School Australia.)

George: I was six when I started acting and dancing with CPCA.

How did you get cast in the play?
A: I did two of the workshops, then I auditioned and then I found out the good news that I was in!

G: I attended two of the Lord of the Flies workshops, followed by an audition for the Young Ensemble. Then I received the exciting news that I had been successfully cast.

How do you feel about being part of such a big production and especially for experiencing this with your brother?
A: Since moving to the Melbourne Academy of Performing Arts (MAPA) I've really enjoyed ballet and contemporary and I was really hoping to be part of a professional show in ballet or contemporary. I am so, so excited to be part of Lord of the Flies - my first professional contemporary production! I'm also very excited to be sharing this experience with my brother George because this will be our second professional show together as performers. The King and I with Opera Australia was musical theatre. This is contemporary dancing. So different but so exciting.

G: I've been undertaking extra ballet and contemporary classes at MAPA since we joined at the beginning of the year. I'm really loving ballet, contemporary, and hip hop. Having had previous experience in musical theatre I was really hoping to be cast in a professional show in either ballet or contemporary. I'm beyond excited to be part of Lord of the Flies as this will be my very first professional contemporary show. I'm also equally excited to be sharing this awesome experience with my younger brother Alexi. Now, I can't wait to perform in the Young Ensemble of Lord of the Flies at the prestigious State Theatre at Arts Centre Melbourne.

What has been your biggest challenge so far?
A: I've really enjoyed the whole process from workshops to audition to rehearsals. The biggest challenge is probably trying to get the choreography right because it's a different style of contemporary where you have to express your character through movement and dance. But I'm loving it!

G: From the moment I participated in the workshops, audition process and now rehearsals, I've thoroughly enjoyed every aspect of it all! The biggest challenge I'm currently facing is trying to master the parkour stunts in such a short amount of time, but I'm working on it! Some parts of the contemporary choreography are also a little challenging but I love that I get to push myself further.

What have you enjoyed the most?
A: Meeting new people and working with professional dancers and choreographers from the UK.

G: I've really enjoyed making new friends and working with the professional dancers and choreographers from Australia and the UK. I also love the fact this show enables us as dancers to freely improvise and develop our own characters through movement and contemporary dance.

What do you aspire the future will bring?
A: I'm training in Performing Arts and Classical Ballet so I'm hoping to become an established triple threat. I'd love to work in LA, New York or the UK as well and travel the world dancing, acting and singing!

G: In terms of singing, dancing, and acting, I'm currently training in the Performing Arts and Classical Ballet elite squads at MAPA and so I aspire to become an established triple threat. I'd love to be in a Broadway musical in New York or a contemporary/ballet dance production in the UK. However, I also love mathematics, science and creating math theories! I would also love to be an astrophysicist one day and visit NASA.

The Lord of the Flies runs from Wednesday 5 to Sunday 9 April at the State Theatre, Arts Centre Melbourne. For more information, visit www.artscentremelbourne.com.au or phone 1300 182 183. Become a fan of Arts Centre Melbourne on Facebook or follow @artscentremelb on Twitter / Instagram.

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