Tag Archives: Vass Productions

Art, Business & Creativity merge to expand the Paris end of Fitzroy Street, St Kilda.

By Kerrie Pacholli @ pationpics.com

 

Alex’s story, the connection to St Kilda.

In the early sixties Aleksandar Vass lived in St Kilda on Robe Street near the corner of Grey Street in the terrace houses on the left. It was 1966 and Australia had just adopted the decimal system, he recalls that his dad and mum gave me a couple of pennies to change into cents at the Milk Bar across the road and amazingly that Milk Bar is still there today. Not long after, the family moved to the Esplanade where he has distinct memories of the pony rides across the road in Catani Gardens. After 50 years they are still there too. That’s St Kilda for you.

In years to come he was fortunate enough to study at the National Theatre Drama School, perform on its stage and produce shows there.

In the early eighties he opened his first acting agency in Fitzroy Street before moving to Acland Street. The agency stretched from Sydney to Perth with over 400 actors on the books. He was invited to join the Agents Association and was soon to be made Vice President then President. He sold his agency in 1986.

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Susan & Aleksandar Vass image by Kerrie Pacholli © pationpics.com

It’s only years later in 2014 that Aleks, Susan, his wife of 16 years and their two daughters Madeline 7 and Georgia 6, made their way back to St Kilda. He purchased the old George Cinemas in Fitzroy Street and transformed them into the Alex Theatres.

,,,’Our vision is to create an off Broadway Theatre Complex where producers, performers, actors and creatives can work in theatre and film; and to create innovative, inspirational and affordable theatre. To teach young producers, creatives and performers the art and more importantly the business of show business, when you understand this, you have a chance to survive’…

As a performer, he was fortunate enough to work extensively as an actor in every major television series including Cop Shop, Division 4, Sullivan’s, Prisoner, Neighbours, Holliday Island, Skyways to name a few, but his passion was for the theatre. Performingboth non-professionally and professionally in over 60 shows.

In time he became a producer with a number of credits including Fiddler on the Roof with Topol, It’s a Dad Thing, Amadeus, Hair, The Last of the Red Hot Lovers to name a few and more recently, Bad Jews, You’re a Good Man Charlie Brown , Around the World in Eighty Days, Sexercise the Musical and currently in production we have Hand to God, Bent, Agnes of God, A Bronx Tale Starring Chaz Palminteri, Significant Other, Shirley Valentine, plus in theatre and film, the feature The Wolf Of Roztov.

The Vass Theatre group was formed to produce affordable theatre with high production values in boutique venues. It was originally formed in the early 2000’s in London and on returning to Australia head office was moved to Melbourne. On this journey, in looking for venues to stage shows, he found he couldn’t find a venue that was economical with all the facilities. Hence the Alex Theatre was born.

….’Our goal was to produce our own shows and create an Off Broadway Arts Hub in St Kilda. Susan and I had also decided to support talent in the arts on all levels hence we give grants away and over 30% of our theatre time away to up and coming producers, actors, and creatives. We hope the Alex operates like Off Broadway theatres where shows are born then moved on to the bigger theatres’…

The Vass Theatre Group incorporates a number of divisions, including the Alex Theatres, the Alex Speigel Zelt (The oldest Spiegel tent in the world) and the Alex Food Emporiums.

The Food Emporiums are a new division, which include the recently purchased Phamish and Tree House restaurants in St Kilda and Balaclava. Both restaurants are currently in operation but will be refurbished over the next three months. Their next new foray into food is the Alex Food Emporium Organic and Health Food Supermarkets. They have recently purchased one of the stores below the Alex Complex and in mid April the first organic health food store will open.,,, ‘We will be franchising these supermarkets with a twist’,,,

…”As for the Alex Theatre and its impact on Fitzroy Street, I can honestly say we have gentrified what we call the Paris end of Fitzroy Street. We thought we would be lucky to have around 10,000 patrons in the first year we hit just over 30,000. Last year we had over 50,000 patrons at the Alex. This year already looks like it will blitz the previous year.

…As for our aspirations, my partner Susan and I love St Kilda. We feel it will again be the place where people flock, be they tourists or locals. We have made a long-term financial and heartfelt commitment to St Kilda and will continue to invest and grow in the area. We envisage a boutique hotel on the horizon.

…And as for our other business interests, they encompass one of the largest independent glass manufacturing companies in Australia and a new Waste To Energy plant business.

…Our brand Glasskote is represented in over 60 countries and until 2011, I was the CEO of operations based in London’…

Aleksandar Vass

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Adrian Spurr sculpture exhibition at Alex Theatre

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Adrian Spurr sculptor / master printmaker at his Shakespeare Grove Artist Studio image by Kerrie Pacholli © pationpics.com

Presented by GAS (Grid Art Space) courtesy of Vass Productions & Alex Theatre: 

24 February – 18 March 2018

To coincide with the Australian premier of the Robert Askins stage production of Hand to God  by Vass Productions, sculptor / master printmaker  Adrian Spurr  is exhibiting his extraordinary  sculptures  currently on display in the piano lounge / art space of the Alex Theatre in Fitzroy Street, St Kilda.

Originally from the UK Adrian has lived in Australia for over 20 years and is a local artist in residence at Shakespeare Grove Artists Studios which is part of Veg Out in St Kilda.

During the September 2017 St Kilda Art Crawl Adrian was invited to curate and exhibit his work along with 10 other artists at 33 Fitzroy Street St Kilda known as Punchinello Pop Up.  The exhibition was so well received  by locals and visitors, it remain open for a further two weeks on invitation by shop owner Jenni Li.

Adrian is committed to exhibiting his work and the work of other local artists to continue to enrich the St Kilda spirit and in turn landscape.

‘Art and its glorious influence is not fully realised until it is taken out of the studio and displayed for public viewing’. Adrian Spurr

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‘Birnam Wood’

By Adrian Spurr
Sculptor / Master Printmaker
Carved red flowering eucalypt with pyro graph markings.

80 X 45 cms 2018
$6,500

The title of this artwork is taken from Shakespeare’s play Macbeth.

The third prediction Macbeth is given by the witches is that he should not fear until Great Birnam Wood should move to high Dunsinane.

Of course, Macbeth cannot imagine that a wood might advance upon his fortress, but it does when Malcolm, the rightful heir to the throne, orders his soldiers to cut down the trees of Birnam Wood and move them as camouflage toward Dunsinane Hill.

Macbeth rightly starts to fear for his life…

The sculpture is of a man in Malcolm’s force, standing amidst the trees on a bright morning with the shadows of branches and leaves upon his face. The man is contemplating the endeavor he is about to undertake, the defeat of a tyrant.

Ecce homo! Behold the man!

By Adrian Spurr
Sculptor / Master Printmaker Rosewood & anatomical foot 50 x 35 x 35 cms
2016
$4,500

A found life sized anatomical model skeleton of the human foot.

Daniel Defoe’s fictional protagonist Robinsen Crusoe (1719) comes across a footprint in the sand and knows he is not longer alone.

The most memborable photographs of the first Moon landing are of the astronauts footprint,  Mary Leakey’s discovery of the 3.7 million year old Laetoli footprints in Tanzania or our contemporary concern regarding our ecological footprint. The references are multitudinous.

This particular skeleton of a foot is encased in a sealed nugget, a pod or a capsule with a glass front that emphasizes the act of observing, of visually recognising, perhaps even assessing. The beautiful colour and grain of the reclaimed Rosewood (which itself comes from ever increasingly endangered rainforest) felled in 1994, softens the hard edged geometry of their machined wooden shapes.

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Head of a (Blind) Prophet’

By Adrian Spurr
Sculptor / Master Printmaker Adrian Spurr

Carved limestone and stucco 60 x 30 x 30 cms
2015
$4,500

The work itself pays tribute to the face in Medieval sculpture of the twelfth and thirteenth centuries, work made by sculptors for the great Gothic cathedrals of France and Germany.

Many of the sculptures were smashed during bouts of iconoclasm and their heads now reside in museums across the world having been disinterred by archaeologists in latter years.

This work, Head of a (Blind) Prophet is set in an old wooden draw that I found in a dilapidated chicken shed in the Wimmera. The draw was a nesting box but formerly came from a Spice cabinet. The intention of the drawer is to reference the museum exhibit / item status of so many of these heads.

This head of a prophet though, also wears ear protectors, a necessary item of safety equipment for sculptors but metaphorically for this prophet, a defense against all the noise that litters our modern world.

‘Patrizia’
By Adrian Spurr Sculptor / Master Printmaker

Found antique chair and macracarpa wood. 2017
$4,500

This sculpture is a portrait of an elderly lady, a mother or grandmother.

The chair is representative of the woman and sitting in her lap is the sum total of a life’s experience.

Memories, sensations, echoes, reminiscences; the souvenirs of a long life that by necessity are ordered, collated and fixed.

But when the time eventually comes all this body of experience will separate and disperse back into the universe from where it was derived.

For expressions of interest: Kerrie Pacholli 0423 308 005 or kerrie.pach@gmail.com

text & images © pationpics.com

Vass Productions present ‘Hand to God’ at the Alex Theatre

‘HAND TO GOD’

Australian Premiere  at The Alex Theatre – St Kilda

Strictly limited season from Feb 22 – Mar 18
www.handtogod.com.au

 

 

The funniest and filthiest broadway show in years finally arrives in Australia.

An irreverent, occasionally shocking, and perpetually hysterical romp to hell and back, Hand To God’s exploration of the ideas of faith, morality, and human nature will leave you sore with laughter.

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Susan Popov & Aleksander Vass from Alex Theatre producers of Hand to God mage by Kerrie Pacholli © pationpics.com

With an all star cast in a brand new Australian production. Featuring Logie and Helpman Award winner Alison Whyte, multiple AFI and Logie award winner Gyton Grantley and Grant Piro, Vass Productions are thrilled to present the Australian premiere of Hand To God, the wickedly funny broadway smash hit.

Nominated for 5 tony awards, and garnering ecstatic reviews,

Hand To God is a wild, subversive, shocking and sidesplittingly funny black comedy that has made waves around the world.

 

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Hand to God producer Kate Whitbret & director Gary Abrahams at Alex Theatre media preview.  

 

Produced by Kerrie Pacholli for St Kilda News SKN