Nominations are now closed. The list of finalists will be published and voting commence soon.
Image: Josh Johnson Dear Greenroom readers, It's been a while ... at least it feels that way ... a while since a post here on Greenroom, and I've been feeling the guilt at not reviewing at least three, new, local shows which, due to the generosity of the producers, I've had the pleasure of seeing in the past few months. Greenroom is a labour of love for me; I have no editor whacking the timeline stick, and sometimes the labour can get on top of one. The end of year pace and the pressure that creates have been a bit overwhelming to tell the truth. Sound familiar? I've been involved in a few productions, performances and general end-of-year activities that have left little time for anything other than collapsing in a heap in what's seemed like all too brief snatches of downtime. One fallout from the energy drain has been something new to me: a complete disinterest in writing. I'm going to call it 'burnout' for want of a better term, and I know it's only temporary. At least I trust it will return in the New Year. So, my apologies at the outset to the individuals, companies and groups to whom I am indebted. Whilst reviews after the fact are less useful to marketing units in production companies, I do know that some appreciate a reflection. Indeed, these memory pieces can be interesting in their own right. What is it that stays with one a week, month, year after seeing a play? I know I have vivid snatches of memory of plays seen over 40 years ago. How these productions made me feel then continues to affect me now. One of the reasons I started Greenroom back in 2009 was to try to capture an individual slice of the experience of theatre-going. During doctoral research during the 1990s I was shocked to find so little had been captured of Australian theatre over the years. I made a promise that I would try to do my bit to redress the balance if I could. With the internet being a monster archive, it may well be that these posts are also letters to the future. Indeed, if you are reading this (if the technology holds up) many years from when I am writing at the end of 2013. I hope you find it interesting. But, I digress. It is with this in mind and having wrapped all the Christmas presents and finished my shopping, having run around malls and sites trying to find the perfect gift for my outdoorsy nephew, finally settling on one of the top 10 EDC knives. Now I finally have had time to reflect on: MOTHERLAND by Katherine Lyall-Watson; PREHISTORIC by Marcel Dorney, and CONNECT FOUR - a new musical theatre piece with music and lyrics by Alanya Bridge. With thanks for your interest in reading Greenroom during 2013 and a special hug to Sita Borhani for helping to keep Greenroom engaged. All the best to you and yours for a joy-filled Christmas and a safe and relaxing summer. Onwards! Kate (Editor) Continue reading Reflections: end of year catch-ups
I became aware a few months ago of a new crop of doctoral graduates whose names were very familiar to many of us in Queensland as performing artists and creatives. The reasons for taking on such an enormous, all-consuming project - one that can occupy years of research and writing - is something that each prospective doctoral student mulls over well before signing on the application's dotted line. In fact, most university graduate schools provide a period in which the candidate has to research the topic, pitch the idea to a panel and go through other academic hoops before the candidacy is approved. It's a bit like the audition, call-back, second call-back etc., before you get the gig. And then it starts - for many, the longest production period you'll ever know. I wanted to chat with three of the most recent theatre doctors: David Morton, Katherine Lyall-Watson, and Andrea Moor all of whom are busy, practising artists. Katherine Lyall-Watson's latest play MOTHERLAND, a Patrick White finalist opens its season tomorrow night at Metro Arts. Andrea Moor is appearing in QTC's DESIGN FOR LIVING, and David Morton, the AD of the busy independent company Dead Puppet Society, has just finished a residency with the South African company Handspring (you may know them for their work in WARHORSE) and is also working in NYC. And this is rather typical of their arts practice. Apart from anything else, where did they get the time? I wanted to get a sense of why they decided to start out on the academic track and how, if it all, it had changed their own artistic practice. Was it a hunger for learning or a more pragmatic desire i.e., to create another career path? One thing is certain; everyone attempting and successfully completing a PhD or a professional doctorate is never the same again! Here in their own words are their responses. Congratulations to them all and to all those others out there working away on their own doctoral productions - chookas! Continue reading Doctors in the House (Interview 38)
Image: Kate Foy; Sand Drawing: Damien KamholtzLast night's theatre excursion was closer to home than many in the last few weeks have been for me. It was to Brief Encounters at Toowoomba's Empire Theatre Studio - and what a lovely little performance space this is. Brief Encounters is the latest of the theatre's Homegrown Studio series which sees local artists - established, emerging and embryonic - working together on the kinds of new work which so often never get to see stage lights shine on them. It's vital, generative activity and the fact that it is being sponsored and supported by local business and the local council gives me great heart and delight that I live outside the capital city in a community that values such work. Regional artists don't get to say that often but then, Toowoomba has always valued its art and, well, credit where credit is due. Now, it seems, there is also a place for that most arcane or, at least, often misunderstood of art forms - performance art.
artistic blind date meets creation under-the-gun. (Katy Harris-McLeod: the Tomorrow Collective)Not all of this kind of work is what might be called successful in terms of being finished 'product.' That's not the point; incompleteness, rawness, and even a bit of self-indulgence are expected in the service of creative experimentation - although several of the encounters were delightfully complete in themselves and quite free of any self-consciousness. With its time constraints Brief Encounters almost works against the pressure most artists feel to put something together that is worthy of sharing in terms of polish and finesse or completeness. Continue reading Brief Encounters – Homegrown at Empire Theatre Studio
When I was in year seven, I went to the Brisbane Writers Festival to meet John Marsden. I had never heard of a writers' festival before, but I was instantly bewitched. It was its own perfect type of theatre. The bounds between audience and artist are a pre-packaged intimacy, having already spent hours together alone, with the writer whispering to the reader in their own private tongue. It’s a special, introverted community, a sanctuary for intellectualism and ideas. As you may be able to tell, I was rather taken with it all. Many years on, I’m working behind the scenes, as BWF’s Associate Producer. This means I’m part of the programming team, producing hundreds of events that happen in the hot spot (the 4th to the 8th of September), and all year round. I’m one of dozens of cultural artists who are in a gap. My background is in playwrighting. I’ve grown up from ‘emerging’ and am some way from ‘full-time established’ and am in the ‘weird in-betweeny bit’ (some industry jargon for you there). Many artists venture into a programming or cultural producer role during this time. It’s rich with its own rewards. Continue reading Asides: On Writers and Writing and Sanctuaries for Ideas
Puppets - they've come a long way since Punch and Judy. In fact, I would go so far as to say the 'puppet renaissance' has been busily playing itself out for a few years now, with local Brisbane theatre company the Dead Puppet Society at its helm. Always hard at work creating new and wonderful ways for humans to help their puppets tell a story, the latest offering from the Dead Puppets is the delightfully magical Argus, a 45 minute children's piece, playing as part of the Powerkids festival at the Brisbane Powerhouse this June. Continue reading Review: Argus – Dead Puppet Society at Powerkids Festival @ Brisbane Powerhouse