With a clear goal in mind, from the moment Yuchen landed in Melbourne he knew he wanted to be an actor. And the first step – enrolling in Foundation Studies.
Growing up in China, Yuchen Wang knew he wanted to study at the University of Melbourne’s Victorian College of the Arts (VCA) and grow as an actor.
‘Acting has always been my purpose,’ says Yuchen. ‘Anything else would just be a contingency plan. And VCA is the best place to go [for] this career.’
Before he could get there, he needed to come through Trinity College’s Foundation Studies program, which meant leaving his home city of Fushun, which, by Yuchen’s own description, is ‘a hidden gem’.
‘There are four distinctive seasons in a year. We have snow, lightning storms, drought and flood. All the wonders and terrors nature has to offer,’ says Yuchen.
‘Although it’s a small city, it’s abundant in history. The Qing dynasty originated there; the last emperor of China was also imprisoned there.’
‘It’s a hidden gem, really.’
Despite loving Fushun, Yuchen is a born traveller, so took the change of scenery via a move to Melbourne in his stride.
‘Whenever I go on a new journey, I never [set an] expectation: I hope for the best and keep myself adaptable,’ says Yuchen. ‘When I got [to Melbourne] I was mostly absorbing and learning, because the environment at the time was very alien.’
Alien at first, but Yuchen quickly settled into Melbourne and life studying at Trinity College.
One of the things that eased this transition was a Foundation Studies subject that allowed Yuchen to flex his creative muscle and develop his acting skills, while making close friends along the way.
'I suppose my answer sounds slightly corny given what I do now as a profession, but drama class was my favourite,’ says Yuchen.
‘I could dream about being an actor, but it was also a great place for everyone to bond over make-believe.’
By creating an environment for students where they can express the most creative version of themselves, naturally the walls come down, and bonds are strengthened.
‘You’d be surprised how performance art can elevate all parts of life.’
Just as he’d intended, Yuchen graduated from the VCA in 2015. Since then, he’s been pursuing a life that helps him to practice his art and unfurl his career by developing his skills – often on stage.
‘I am taking my time to build up experiences and practice and perfect my craft. And the industry is the best place to try new things,’ says Yuchen.
Already appearing in productions by the Melbourne Theatre Company and Malthouse Theatre, as well as feature film and television roles, Yuchen has been building his skillset at rapid speed.
‘I really just want to grow as an artist and a human being,’ says Yuchen.
A constant desire that he’s carried with him since those early days in drama class at Trinity College.