›› Ross Currie
SKAM’s origins can be traced back to short one acts in a Chinatown café in 1995. The name is an acronym for its founders: Sarah Donald, Karen Turner, Amiel Gladstone and Matthew Payne. Still going strong to this day, SKAM is under the guidance of founding member Matthew Payne as Artistic Producer, alongside SKAM’s Operation Manager Kate Wallace.
Being a professional theatre company, SKAM still focuses on touring their work, but has expanded its scope in recent years. “With every show that we create, we look to see if there are any other groups that should be involved, or could be part of the dialogue around the creation of the work,” says Payne. This strong community focus has lead to SKAM’s vested interest in establishing a professional drama community within Victoria, keeping practitioners involving as long as possible. “We’ve been hoping to shift things locally, so we see more people stick around and make work here a little longer, because that is going to build our professional community,” adds Payne.
The acquisition of the Kate Rubin Theatre and Drama Studio—in North Park—in January of this year will see an added responsibility for the theatre company, which will oversee 200 casual students from three years up, working in comedy, improv and drama. “We’re looking at ways to expand that operation, and our own artistic practice at the same time,” says Payne. It also doesn’t hurt that the space is close to home for SKAM’s personnel. “We care about this community and we think there’s a real place for an independent professional arts organization here.”
Coming off the success of Joan in March, SKAM will feature After The Beep at Uno Fest, as well as curating their annual SKAMpede and Pop-Up Live Series in the summer months.