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9 December 2021

Blackfriars makes Adelaide Fringe history

UPDATE: Due to covid-19 restrictions, these performances have sadly been cancelled. When the Adelaide…

UPDATE: Due to covid-19 restrictions, these performances have sadly been cancelled.

When the Adelaide Fringe kicks off in February next year, Blackfriars will be centre stage.

For the first time in the festival’s 62-year history, Blackfriars will be a Fringe venue, with the James O’Doherty Theatre set to host three shows of 19: A Reporter’s War.

The play was written and directed by Blackfriars drama teacher Bob Becker.

It tells the story of the main character of John Schumann’s iconic song I Was Only 19, as well as that of an Australian reporter and the Vietnamese Reuters officer manager, in the final days of the Vietnam War. Schumann, of Redgum fame, is a Blackfriars old scholar.

Mitchell Renton in the 2021 production of 19: A Reporter’s War.

The play was first performed, to high acclaim, earlier this year, with senior students Mitchell Renton, Jason Dinh and Ashton Glaister in key roles.

Mr Becker said, following those shows, Prospect Council approached him to be part of the 2022 “Prospect Fringe”.

“The decision was made for me. I invited Prospect Council to see the show and (the council’s youth officer) Mark Crabtree … sent us an email soon after that, inviting us to be part of the Prospect Fringe,” Mr Becker said.

Jason Dinh in 19: A Reporter’s War.

“I put it to the kids … asked ‘do you want to do it again?’ and the three Year 12s, who I couldn’t have done this without … were keen to do it.

“Blackfriars has never been a Fringe venue before (so) it’s a bit of an honour, you know. There are a lot of Year 12 drama productions and I kind of feel humbled and honoured that a play that I’ve, in this case, written and directed has been invited to be performed as part of the Fringe.”

The Fringe show will be presented by the original cast, under The Blackfriars Players banner.

The Blackfriars Players is a company of past and present Blackfriars students who are committed to creating theatre that not only entertains, but stimulates discussion about a range of social and political issues. The school’s motto, Veritas, the search for truth, underscores the work.

19: A Reporter’s War will be staged at Blackfriars on February 22, 23, and 24, at 7pm each evening. Tickets from FringeTIX.