AS SARAH Wynen went on date after date that did not quite go right - some more obscure than others - she decided to turn her experience into a musical theatre show.
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The Ballarat Clarendon College alumna's show You're a Catch! Why are you Single? is set for a run in the Melbourne Fringe Festival next week - and she has called on a College classmate to help bring her vision to life.
Wynen reached out and reconnected to her old College band mate Simon McWilliam to his dance expertise to the performance because she knew he was the best one for the job.
McWilliam had gone on to study film at Swinburne University of Technology when Wynen stayed in Ballarat to study musical theatre at Federation University.
"We can believe we've ended up working together," Wynen said. "We were in bands together - he played the trumpet. He had a dance background and I was more musical when we were involved in school musicals.
"...When I was writing the show I realised I needed someone with different skills. Usually I would be a one-man show and do everything but I needed other expertise. I knew a lot of people through uni but I really thought [Simon] was the best one."
It has been a prolonged build-up for Wynen, with the show picked up by the festival last year only to be plunged into rehearsals online. The show was offered a run at The Motley Bauhaus in Carlton in January, but Wynen said it was fantastic to be part of a larger festival offering.
Wynen's work has already gained international interest with an excerpt from You're a Catch? Why are you Single? being performed in the Titchfield Festival Theatre's New Song Writers Concert in the United Kingdom.
A career in musical theatre came in a late change of mind for Wynen in year 12. A classical oboist, Wynen had been preparing to apply for musical schools then she realised she loved using her body to tell stories.
Wynen said being accepted into Federation University on Camp Street changed her life - she could bring her musical background and acting passions together.
You're a Catch! Why are you Single?, written and composer by Wynen, is a fast-paced continuous plot with mini stories of characters looking for love in all the seemingly wrong places. There is a dorky dad, promiscuous uni students, a tent enthusiast and nice guy among those on the hilarious quest for love.
"There's a lot of pressure for people to be in a relationships and I think sometimes this comes from people in other generations who might not understand the way dating's gone with apps," Wynen said. "This show is for young people or anyone who has grappled with being single in their life. But also for older people, or those who have been in long-term relationships to have a glimpse of the other side.
"There are women who are learning it's okay to be single, empowered women.
"There are also characters of varying ages, like being 40 and all the baggage that comes with that."
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Wynen said the show was pieced together a little like the movie Love Actually, with characters of different gender, ages, backgrounds and sexuality but ultimately all looking for love.
In between the crippling COVID-19 stop-starts on the theatre industry, Wynen has undertaken a master degree in theatre writing with Victorian College of the Arts. As part of this she must pen another script and Wynen is creating Crossroads, a road trip musical.
"I like doing upbeat musical theatre that helps people feel good," Wynen said.
You're a Catch! Why are you Single? will play at Theatre Works in Acland Street, St Kilda, from October 4-8 in the evening, with a matinee performance on the Saturday.
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