Western Edge is one of Australia’s most exciting theatre companies, amplifying diverse young voices of Melbourne’s western suburbs. The Westsider’s Taylor Navarro recently caught up with one of its rising stars Kiril Stamenkov.
When looking at your bio, I noticed that it said that you got into theatre through high school. Can you tell me more about that?
Yeah, so Western Edge came to my high school to present themselves and their artists put on a little show for us. That was back in Year 9. And after the show they handed out flyers asking people to join in if they were interested in after-school programs, which I did. And that involved making up our own stories and characters. I was doing that for years as a volunteering participant. And now I’m also employed by Western Edge and I am one of those artists now that puts on plays for people and tries to get students involved.
Oh, cool! Would you say that Western Edge has had a difference in your life?
Yeah! Look– the great thing about Western Edge is that if you take the theatre outside of it, being part of a company that has such coherence between everyone that’s involved— it just gives me a great pleasure to know people and socialise. Like for example, it’s the only company that I’ve ever known or been a part of where the CEO is just as important as the participants. So there is no hierarchy, everyone is the same, everyone is accepted the way they are. It showed me a great way of life. Not just the theatre itself.
So like the community and the connections you’ve been able to make?
What else do you love most about Western Edge?
No-one is forced into doing anything they’re uncomfortable with and everyone can be as involved as they want. There are people who come and want to make a career out of acting and there are also people who openly just come to make friends and have fun and they don’t expect anything more than that.
Sounds like it’s a place for everyone.
On that note then, with how you’re saying this is a place for everyone, for teens and specifically people in high school who want to get into acting and don’t know where to start, do you think Western Edge is a great place to start?
Of course. Yeah, especially if you have never been on stage, it’s a great place to have your first experience. So this is actually the first year that they did separate age groups. I think the juniors are from 13 years to 18? So it’s a great way for students starting high school. It’s a free program for anyone who wants to get a taste of acting.
Just a finishing question: do you have any messages for young people thinking of trying it out?
Just along the lines of what I’ve already said is that everyone is welcome as they are.
It’s a great community to be a part of that just lets you be yourself and share your ideas with others. Have fun, eat a lot of food; after our shows, we usually have catering. So if anyone wants to come, that’s a bonus. [laughs]
Kiril Stamenkov is next performing in The Boss of Bakersfield on September 2 at Footscray Community Arts as part of the Edge Ensembles season, which runs until September 8 – Check details here: https://westernedge.org.au/escape-boss-of-bakersfield