World Theatre Day 2011 … going, going …

As the world turns World Theatre Day 2011 has come and gone from Australia for another year, but it's still going strong elsewhere as March 27th comes in round the globe. Someone wrote on the Twitter stream that 'every day is world theatre day' and, of course, he's right for those of us who live and work in and for the theatre. It can be all-consuming at times, a source of frustration too, but mostly of love. It's why we keep going, making and advocating for theatre as a daily engagement. Still, as one of my theatre friends in Canada (Simon Ogden) put it so well, it's a day worth stopping and marking in a special way, because
It is a day designed to let theatre makers raise their heads from the local communities they work in and revel in the collective consciousness of their global community. It is a celebration of the health, vivacity and reach of our particular form of art. It is not a day for asking for help, or for audience building. It's a massive, collective high-five.
WTD11 fell on a Sunday and, for many it was a day of rest and reflection. Others were rehearsing or performing, writing, watching and listening from the audience ... Here's the Theatre Communications Group (based in the US) WTD Message for this year. It echoes the theme of social justice through theatre which is this year's 'call to action' or reflection. It's very moving and talks about something that theatre makes us do so well: 'listen.' And World Theatre Day continues round the globe. You can catch the latest postings on the blog and on the WTD Facebook page. I loved the live stream from Berlin some hours ago. If you didn't catch it, you can read Brisbane's 23rd Productions posting for World Theatre Day on the blog as well, along with the Dead Cargo company and Queensland Shakespeare Ensemble's shout out to the world. And, if you didn't get to celebrate WTD11, watch out for WTD12 next year on March 27th.

Nominations are in!

... and we're counting! No more nominations can be accepted for the inaugural 2010 Groundling Awards. Thanks to all who sent in their favourites - even to those who sent them in after the deadline! Sorry, but we can't count these. We're now collating the nominations to determine the top 3 in every category. We will have these ready for you to cast your votes from next week. The winners will be announced with much fanfare (here) on 14 February. Stand by!

… all losses are restored, and sorrows end

Intersection of Creek and Adelaide Streets dur...
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Much of the world now knows about the awful Queensland flood disaster which took so many lives and properties this week. Other cities and towns throughout the state have been dealing with floods caused by deluge, swollen creeks and rivers. This week it was the turn of Ipswich, and of the state capital, Brisbane as their rivers rose and burst their banks. 'Burst' is a dramatic word, 'gradual creep' better describes the slow, inexorable rise of torrential brown water into the city and its streets, homes and businesses. It's not the first time the state's capital has been flooded. This image was taken during the floods of 1893. Another great flood happened in 1974. 2011 is probably the worst so far. As I write, the immediate danger from rising floodwaters has passed and the Brisbane River has gradually slowed what has been a frighteningly fast surge out into Moreton Bay.  The weather pattern has changed to blue skies and sunshine, and Brisbane, as with all flood-affected towns in the state, is in full clean-up mode. It's been a terrible, exhausting time, one that has taxed everyone to some degree; it will go on for months, maybe years. State Premier Anna Bligh has likened this time to one of 'post-war recovery' proportions. Federal, state and local governments are coming together to assist in the recovery. Our theatres and arts company premises have not escaped either. Shows have been cancelled, foyers and orchestra pits and studios are inundated with water and mud, and equipment has been damaged or destroyed. Hearts are broken, but heads are unbowed. With typical generosity the wider community are pitching in and volunteering, as always happens when the going is bad. The big cleanup has begun. The arts community are also mobilising to get things back to normal. 23rd Productions Artistic Director Kathryn Fray is coordinating Brisbane artists and creatives to help out with entertainment in the Evacuation Centres in the state, while Harvest Rain Theatre Company under Tim O'Connor are calling for people to register for the Brisbane Arts Community big cleanup crew. Dear friends, you do the heart good. Follow @23rdProductions and @harvest_rain on Twitter

Season 2011: Who are the writers?

This entry is part 3 of 11 in the series Facts & Figures
This is the third in the series so far investigating some facts and figures on the 2011 seasons from Queensland Theatre Company and La Boite Theatre Company. The two previous posts were Where do the writers come from? and When do the writers come from? (historical origins). There are links to these articles below. This post looks at who is doing the writing, and does a break down on the gender composition of the writers and authorial teams, for teams they are in some cases. There are works written by a solo author, there are co-written pieces, as well as adaptations and translations.  In a couple of instances (I Feel Awful by Black Lung for Queensland Theatre Company and The Danger Ensemble's Hamlet Apocalypse for La Boite Indie) there appear to be no author credit as such.  However there are 5 (Black Lung) and 13 (The Hamlet Apocalypse) creators/ensemble members listed under these productions. All up, this season provides a creatively rich mix of new work. Whilst some might object to my use of the descriptor 'Original Works' to separate plays out from Adaptations, I know of no other to do the job as well. I apologise to any who take offence, especially to adaptors whose works are, of course, original in their own right as adaptations. In any case, most adaptors freely acknowledge a source text as their stimulus. My interest here is solely to sketch out as much detail as possible in analysis of the seasonal offerings by play type and origin. Queensland Theatre Company Original Works - author credited and/or created via ensemble: 11 Adaptations and/or Translations from original works: 2 (SacréBleu; Treasure Island) La Boite Theatre Company Original Works - author credited and/or created via ensemble: 9 Adaptations and/or Translations from original works: 1 (The Gruffalo's Child) As to the breakdown of the authorial teams by gender here are the figures for the total number of credited individual authors, adaptors and translators of all plays in the season. Queensland Theatre Company: 22M; 1F La Boite Theatre Company: 14M; 11F FYI, 8 of the 11 women credited for La Boite's season are members of The Danger Ensemble's listed creative team for The Hamlet Apocalypse. So, who are the writers? White guys, dead and alive. Attention turns next to the directors in Season 2011.

When do the writers come from?

This entry is part 2 of 11 in the series Facts & Figures
List of titles of works based on Shakespearean...
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The last post looked at the origin of plays by writer in Season 2011 for Queensland Theatre Company and La Boite Theatre. When all details are available, there will be a future post addressing the gender break-down of the authorial teams. Meanwhile, this post follows up by assigning the plays under consideration to a matrix which lays out the historical era which first produced the work in question. A quick word at the outset. The division is one I used in a couple of earlier posts elsewhere which investigated the repertoire of Queensland Theatre Company during the first 10 years of its existence and in the 10 years preceding its 40th anniversary year in 2009-10. The breakdown is fair enough - although I grant a little arbitrary in that, for example, Chekhov's plays go into the Early Modern era when they actually span the late 19th and early 20th century. I know, too, that historians would probably quibble with the era that I call 'Early Modern' but, overall, this matrix works for me. In any case, you have to start somewhere, i.e., with a marker for comparative purposes. Here are the eras I use:
  • Classical: pre-Shakespeare;
  • Early Modern: post-Shakespeare to end of 19th century;
  • 20th & 21st century: 1901-2005;
  • Contemporary: a play produced within 5 years of its publication and/or completion. Right now, this means a work in this year's season which was published or completed between 2006 and 2011.
Queensland Theatre Company Typical of previous QTC seasons in that it features plays from nearly all historical eras - there are no classical works on offer - Season 2011 is also typical of this Company's programming in years 2000-2009 with a pronounced emphasis on contemporary works, other 21st century and 20th century plays. La Boite Theatre Company La Boite's commitment to contemporary work couldn't be clearer. That 10% early-modern slice of the pie in the chart above represents one production, Julius Caesar which, judging by the promotional poster image, is going to get a very contemporary spin. There are no classical works and no 20th century plays in Season 2011 for this company. 2011 Season. Origin of Play by Historical Era - Comparison Queensland Theatre Company: La Boite Theatre Company From this comparative chart, it looks as if Brisbane theatre goers are in for a year of the very new on the stages of both subsidised companies. Is this breakthrough i.e., trendsetting programming across the board? Assign your own qualifier. I think exciting and maybe even dangerous - it's audacious stuff to be sure. Many will say 'About time.' It looks as if the really old and some of the not-all-that-old dead white guys are on the way out, perhaps to be replaced with living white guys? Which brings us to the subject matter of that future post mentioned above i.e., the gender breakdown of all authors in Season 2011 for both Queensland Theatre Company and La Boite Theatre Company. Probably no surprises for anyone, but we shall see what the numbers reveal. Thanks for reading this far. Hope you are finding it useful.

Meanwhile, here's something out of the archives. I stumbled over it doing some free-form searching online.  You might be interested in this post from Sean Mee in 2007 The Future of La Boite Theatre Company. As you probably know, Sean was the former Artistic Director of La Boite.

Where do the writers come from?

This entry is part 1 of 11 in the series Facts & Figures
As promised in the last post, here are the first of some stats as they relate to the 2011 programmed seasons of both Brisbane's subsidised, professional theatre companies. This post is the first in a series for Greenroom's readers, and forms part of my ongoing research into professional theatre in Queensland. I have used data relating to both company's programmed works as it appears in published brochures or online: mainstage, education, studio, and 'indie' presenting partnerships. This work picks up on some research I did last year which related to the first 10 and the last 10 years of the repertoire for Queensland Theatre Company. You can check that out here and here on my personal blog. From this year I've included La Boite's programming under current AD David Berthold. Continue reading Where do the writers come from?