• Home
  • >
  • News
  • >
  • Jackson Kemelfield’s Artistic Journey: From 鶹Ƶ to Top Acts


Mentonian Jackson Kemelfield (Class of 2023) has earned a coveted spot at the prestigious 2024 Top Acts Concert.

In an inspiring display of talent and dedication, Mentonian Jackson Kemelfield (Class of 2023), left the audience spellbound at the 2024 Top Class Concert, held on Friday 19 April 2024.

This event was part of the esteemed VCE Season of Excellence. Jackson’s riveting portrayal of Ebenezer Scrooge’s spirit visiting the modern-day celebrity, Gwyneth Paltrow not only won him applause, but also a coveted spot at the prestigious 2024 Top Acts Concert. This event is scheduled to take place at the Melbourne Recital Centre on Tuesday 28 May 2024 at 7.30pm.

The Top Acts concert is a two-hour spectacle that brings together the most exceptional performances by VCE composers, dancers, musicians, and actors. With only 20 students from across Victoria earning the opportunity to perform at Top Acts, 鶹Ƶ and The Mentonians Association couldn’t be prouder of Jackson’s extraordinary accomplishment.

At the conclusion of 2023, the VCE Performing Arts students who received exceptional results in their performance examinations were invited to audition for the 2024 Top Class. 鶹Ƶ was delighted that four students received the honour of auditioning in Drama and Theatre Studies. Head of Drama and Dance, Jamie McCarney says, “鶹Ƶ is renowned for its exceptional standard within the performing arts, and all four students have been an active part of the many opportunities at this school. The Top Class auditions were a wonderful opportunity for our 鶹Ƶ students to showcase their creativity and imagination. It is certainly a coveted opportunity!”

Following the audition process, Jackson Kemelfield was selected to showcase his solo at the 2024 Top Class Concert. His performance there earned him an invitation to the final concert, the Top Acts performance. Jackson’s drama teacher, Jamie McCarney explained, “To earn a spot in the Top Acts Concert, a student must first be chosen for the Top Class concert series. This series highlights the original, self-devised monologues of highly talented students, embodying the creativity and originality of emerging Victorian actors and theatre makers. The students invited to audition are those who have achieved near-perfect grades, representing the best of their year in the state.”

He further elaborated, “To achieve maximum grades, students must meet and score highly in ten criteria. This involves deep research, brainstorming, improvisation, scripting, editing, rehearsing, refining, and repeating this process over the many months they work on their performance. Their work must exhibit a unique artistic style or performance that highlights the students’ individual talents.”

McCarney added, “In devising their performance, they have continually refined both their performance and their audition, approaching it professionally and continuing to refine it right up until the audition itself. Once accepted into the Top Class concert series, selection into Top Acts is then based on a balance of diversity, curated concerns, and of course, being amongst the most outstanding of all the Top Class concert series across dance, drama, theatre studies, and music.”

Now graduated from 鶹Ƶ, Jackson is taking a gap year to enhance his performance and creative skills. He says, “I am spending the year becoming a stronger performer and creative through skill-building-performance opportunities and classes, networking, and building my creative portfolio.” He will be performing in various productions, including a leading role of ‘Peter’ in DIY Collective’s production ofBARE: A Pop Opera.Additionally, he will collaborate with other musicians to write music and perform at live gigs and corporate events.

When reflecting on his school years, Jackson deeply values the creative opportunities he had. He recalls, “鶹Ƶ’s commitment to having accompanists and voice experts readily available for students prepared me for auditions I would soon find myself entrenched in.” Participating in jazz band showcases and school musicals brought him great joy, allowing him to showcase his talents and develop as a performer. Being part of the Amadeus Opera Chorus provided a unique perspective, performing in an opera. “I had the opportunity to flex my creative muscles through different disciplines, engrossing myself in stellar senior school musicals year after year,” Jackson reflects. 鶹Ƶ’s support and diverse creative outlets shaped Jackson’s artistic journey, inspiring him to pursue his passions.

Jamie McCarney, an educator with a background in professional comedy, uses his stage wisdom to enrich his teaching methods. Jackson acknowledges Jamie’s guidance in broadening the scope of theatrical monologues, stating, “I am certain that his professional background in acting and comedy assisted me in identifying the perfect timing and context for humor. My monologue ventures into some rather raw comedy, and Mr McCarney instructed me on how to subtly and suitably integrate the jokes, ensuring they would be acceptable to the VCAA examiners. I realised that comedy is a nuanced art form.”

As a fervent advocate of the playmaking process, Jamie encourages his students to engage in research, brainstorming, improvisation, scripting, and refining. He underscores the value of multiple drafts and motivates students to outdo their predecessors. Jamie promotes regular workshops, immersion in performance styles, and weekly peer reviews. He insists on absolute dedication to rehearsals and feedback, urging students to rehearse their piece repeatedly until they are ready to down tools for the day, then run it one more time. He maintains that creating a performance from scratch, while challenging, is ultimately rewarding.

We are looking forward to watching Jackson perform at Top Acts at the Melbourne Recital Centre onTuesday 28 May 2024 at 7.30pm. For those wishing to attend Top Acts, tickets for the concert can be purchased via the MRC Box Office:

Written by Stephanie Kinnear