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Happening People: 75 Per Cent Old School

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It is a cool and sunny winters day when I meet Yure to have a chat about his work and his passions over a coffee. He rolls up in casual style, ugg boots on, signature smile beaming. ‘Snap’, I say and show him that I too am wearing uggs. Apparently it is a woolly-shoe-wear kind of meeting. 

I have had the good fortune of knowing Yure through local friends for the past seven or eight years. Over that time we have worked out we know many of the same people, mostly through a group of students that went through acting school together. They now form an impressive core of Australian talent across film, TV, stage and crew that reaches over to LA and beyond.

Yure Covich is an actor, filmmaker, editor, acting teacher, surfer and local. He lives in Sydney’s eastern beaches, specifically Maroubra, because when he moved over east from Perth’s Scarborough Beach to go to acting school it had a grungy edginess that reminded him of home. Like many of his neighbours he loves it here because the people are friendly, the surf culture thrives and it is like living in a coastal town more than a large city. Something about the ocean being so close seems to filter over into the streets and the lives of residents. It has been years and Maroubra is still home for him. 

Over the span of his acting career Yure has managed to hone his ‘bad boy’ look despite being ironically one of the nicest guys I know. He has a bushy beard and a glossy shaved head, both of which serve to highlight the sparkle in his eyes and his larrikin grin. 

Since graduating from the National Institute of Dramatic Arts in 2002 he has become known for his work both in film and on stage. He has featured in Australian films Red Dog (2011) and The Black Balloon (2007) as well as appeared in theatre productions like the Sydney Theatre Company’s The White Guard (2011), directed by Andrew Upton. In fact, his work impressively spans years, genres and continents. Along the way he trained as a secondary school teacher and has also managed to hone his craft as an educator at Sydney high schools.

Despite or perhaps due to these achievements Yure remains completely down to earth. He is the bloke who will have a party and invite everyone on the block: café owners, actor friends, surfing mates, as well as the guy who lives around the corner and is a bit down on his luck and doesn’t really have any other mates. This is precisely why Yure is a stayer in what can be a fickle industry. He is totally and authentically himself.

Six months ago he founded a collective of filmmakers, artists, and actors that is endearingly called 75 Per Cent Old School. Though neither officially a production company nor officially a school Yure and his colleagues “…create networks in a professional environment that infuses the energy of a surf and a Triumph motorcycle and things that are cool in life” into the work they do. This in contrast to what Yure suspects you might expect from an acting school, “…space-jumps, group hugs and candles in the middle of the room”. 75 Per Cent Old School is growing rapidly and set to become a major focus for its Founder and Director in the coming years. 

If you ask him why he does it Yure will tell you that what he does never feels like work. He loves working with people, and loves working with actors and artists. He especially loves film since the early days of going to drive-ins as a young kid back in Western Australia . As an artist he dreams of more of the same: more surfing, more acting, more films. As long as it is different every day, he’s stoked. 

Drawing on the inspiration of this place, with its wide-open sunrises and surfing-infused community, Yure is set to keep on building his filmmaking and acting collective. I’m pretty sure he’ll always have time for a surf at lunchtime to keep the energy levels up as well. Meeting a successful artist and educator who manages to keep in perspective his passions and his simple inspirations is in turn contagiously motivating. It is so refreshingly grounding to meet a person who will put a surf before a business meeting any day. I feel like I can learn from this and vow to make long beach walks an important part of my own work days from now on. 

Yure teaches acting and makes films at http://www.seventyfivepercentoldschool.com/

Alena has never met a dolphin she didn’t like. She is a freelance writer, local business owner, educator and mother. To read more of her words go to www.cheekysoul.com. 

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