Bridgetown’s drama queen

Tristan WheelerManjimup-Bridgetown Times
Meegan Cullen on stage in One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, playing Candy Starr.
Camera IconMeegan Cullen on stage in One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, playing Candy Starr. Credit: Manjimup-Bridgetown Times

It took a hiatus in odd jobs and primary school teaching for Meegan Cullen to find her way back to drama, but she has grasped it with both hands.

As a teenager, Meegan took a theatre arts course at John Curtin College of the Arts but didn’t find her way back to the stage until she auditioned at the Bridgetown Repertory Theatre for Jack the Ripper: The Musical, while she was teaching at Balingup.

“As soon as I was back on stage, I really enjoyed it and was keen to do more of it,” she said.

Her opportunity soon came and she was offered a job as a drama teacher at Bridgetown High School.

“I had a lot of good training, even though it was at high school, it was a very good course, something that I could lean on and that’s something that I like to pass on to others and to the young people.”

“I love working with kids, in the primary setting, in the high school setting and then certainly with drama thrown into the mix.”

Meegan has lived in the area for 13 years and estimates she has performed in at least one show a year, taking her tally into the teens.

“I love performance, I just love being another character, imagining how someone else would act and react, and working with others on stage to create a new scene,” she said.

In her most recent role, in the play Calender Girls, Meegan had to appear on stage fully nude, an experience she described as nerve-racking.

“I was covered by a vase of flowers, so you still know you are naked,” she said.

“At first it was really nerve-racking and then it was liberating, and myself and the other women involved used to joke about it.

“By the end of it, we were more comfortable with it and I think also because it is theatre and it’s live and you just have to do it, you don’t have the time to think about it.”

Meegan said it was hard to choose a favourite role she had played.

“It really is hard to choose, I love drama and I like those challenging female roles, but I also loved playing a crazy pirate in the pantomime,”

“I like playing the bumbling fun, bad guy in the pantomime, I have done that twice now, as a pirate and a wizard.

“With the wizard, I was channelling a little bit of Angus Young in a guitar solo and the pirate probably had a touch of Johnny Depp or Keith Richards.”

Meegan hopes to one day branch into directing and already has gained experience working with the youth theatre group that she runs.

“I will do directing, I would like to do my directorship down here at the club,” she said.

Of the roles she is yet to play, or plays she is yet to direct, Meegan would like to see Australian drama on stage at the Bridgetown Repertory Theatre.

“I think if I direct, I would try to choose a challenging piece that is an Australian piece,” she said.

“I’ve been reading some recently for youth that are good, but no I haven’t picked one yet.

“If I do it would include adults and young people, I think it would be great to get some of the teenagers involved in one of our regular productions.

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