Meet Lucas Newland: BRENT STREET
Why are you so passionate about dance and performing arts?
"The short answer is, I love it. I love the discipline, the creative expression, the athleticism, the passion and commitment of the training. I knew I wanted to create things from a very young age. As I got into my 20’s I realised that I didn’t really like performing as much anymore, and much preferred creating choreography, directing movement, creative direction and training performers. Through my experience in choreography around the world, in multiple styles, for theatre and screen, I grew a strong passion for the industry and how it works. The combination of training performers and creating work (for them) is a dream come true."
You’ve had such an illustrious and busy career, why choose to also run a performing arts school?
"There are a few reasons why I chose to take over Brent Street. I have loved Brent Street since I was a kid, it has a really unique energy and vibe that is second to none. I knew as soon as I started in the kids agency, back in 1996, that I had found where I belonged. I have also spent a huge part of my life teaching dance. I enjoy helping students achieve their goals and seeing them progress into a professional career in the performing arts industry. The other main reason is that I believe in the professional performing arts industry in Australia. I feel that (at times) the dance school training has become a little disconnected from the actual professional industry. I am passionate about students at Brent Street being trained to work as professionals, be versatile, employable and not just focused on winning a dance comp. Connecting our training to what is required in the industry is important to me."
What sets Brent Street apart?
"I think what sets Brent Street apart is our strong connection to the industry. The teachers and choreographers are just the beginning, it’s also the senior staff members that drive the curriculum, mentor the students and provide opportunities. We also train our students differently - we train for longevity. It’s not about over training from a young age; training should be carefully planned as a journey. This type of approach keeps students motivated, interested, developing and peaking at the right age. We are lucky that most students who come to Brent Street are highly driven and passionate about performing arts. It’s a place where dreams come true."
Why did you decide to start Focus Talent Management?
"We train a lot of performing artists. In Australia, students seem to complete their training at around 18/19yrs old and hope to score an agent. I felt, at this stage, these young adults still need a lot of guidance, support and mentoring to help them achieve their goals. This is something that other agencies just weren’t providing. Hence, the name Focus. The agency was born out of wanting to focus more individually on our clients' specific needs, and give them more feedback, as well as continued training. Focus Talent clients get to choose two classes a week to attend for free from our Brent Street timetable, and have multiple opportunities to upskill before auditions, through casting technique workshops, vocal presentations and tutoring sessions."
What’s your greatest achievement as a performing arts school?
"That’s a hard one. It’s very rewarding being able to run Brent Street but it’s also highly challenging. There are always so many things going on across the company, Focus Talent Management, Brent Street Kids Agency and Brent Street Creative. I think being able to open the Brent Street Academy has been a highlight for me so far. I am passionate about kids finishing their HSC. So being able to combine academics and the highest standard of performing arts training in one program was one of my biggest goals. Being half-way through our first official year of the re-launched Brent Street Academy, I couldn’t be happier. These kids are uber-talented and are only just getting started."