Although he only graduated from the National Theatre Drama School at the end of 2010, Brett Ludeman is already well known to theatre folk around Melbourne. As well as an actor, he's the creative whiz behind Storybottle, the arts advertising company responsible for many of the online preview videos produced to accompany new shows.
"I was already doing Red Stitch's video advertising," Ludeman says, "then at the end of the year, in 2010, Red Stitch invited a lot of the schools to come and do an open audition to be part of their graduate program. I walked in and they were like, 'What are you doing here?' They knew me as just this tech guy."
He did his monologue and then one thing led to another. "It's kind of that story," he says, "like the janitor who just hangs around the studio lot and ends up starring."
After coming into Red Stitch as an intern in 2011, where he made a strong impression as KJ in Annie Baker's The Aliens, this is Ludeman's first year as a full ensemble member. He'll feature in their first season two production, Anglo-Greek playwright Alexi Kaye Campbell’s The Pride.
Focusing on the homosexual experience, The Pride is set in contrasting eras, between 1958 and the present, and riffs on the themes of emotional repression and self-deception. The play's novelty is to have the same characters appearing in both eras, framing a study in how social attitudes effect personal relations. Ludeman plays Oliver, a secret love interest in the 1950s, and an openly gay partner in the present.
"He's a lonely guy, dependent on others. His choices are rash, he acts without thinking."
It's an interesting turn for Ludeman who was last seen playing Aaron McKinney, infamous for murdering openly gay student Matthew Shepard, in the Laramie Project: Ten Years Later.
The Pride will be directed by Matt Scholten (The Heretic). Later in the year, Red Stitch will present Tom Wells’ The Kitchen Sink, described by Red Stitch artistic director David Whitely as " funny and tender play about big dreams and small changes is a superbly nuanced and heart warming tale of a not-so-typical family". In October, the company will stage Wittenberg, a tragi-comic historical play by David Davalos, to be directed by Jane Montgomery Griffiths. The season concludes with Midsummer, by David Greig and Gordon McIntyre.