Kat Henry (Interview 16)

Photo: Kat Henry

Much of the talk in town and on the interwebs right now concerns gender equity in the theatre. Women playwrights and directors and actors continue to battle what many are calling, perhaps intemperately – but who can blame them – ‘the boys’ club.’ It’s not just here either; American and British women have their dander up as well.

When a woman succeeds in securing a paid job as a director or actor, or when she wins an award for playwrighting, then it’s cause for celebration. So it was last week when expatriate Brisbane writer (she now lives in Melbourne) Shannon Murdoch won the prestigious Yale Drama Series award for her play New Light Shine. As they used to say before digital technologies arrived to spread news in a flash, ‘the wires hummed’ with the news. Shannon was congratulated, contacted, and readings were being set up just-like-that. Hoorah! I’m told New Light Shine was one of the ‘must see’ works at this year’s National Play Festival. I wonder if it has been secured for an Australian production yet and, if so, who will direct? Whatever the answers, it’s a thrill to see Shannon Murdoch’s work being recognised in this way.

There are two women directors currently at work in Brisbane on productions: Andrea Moor on Water Falling Down for Queensland Theatre Company, and Kat Henry on The Ugly One by Marius von Mayenburg for the independent company 23rd Productions.  Greenroom interviewed Andrea last year when she was working on Tender – you can read the review here. I was delighted to meet Kat Henry a week or so ago at the theatre and to get her to agree to an interview. Continue reading “Kat Henry (Interview 16)”

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.

The Glorious Nosebleed: Monsters Appear at !Metro Arts (Allies)


Absurdity, time travel and mystery are set to drench the Sue Benner Theatre this April, when Monsters Appear present THE GLORIOUS NOSEBLEED.

‘THE GLORIOUS NOSEBLEED is an original theatre work which tells the tale of two adult? children and the extraordinary things that happen to them when they face grim circumstances’, says Benjamin Schostakowski, performer and co-deviser of the work.

Schostakowski and fellow co-devisor/performer Athalia Foo play strangers, a young boy and girl who find themselves trapped in a mysterious underground room. Their subterranean night is relayed through a fractured series of interconnected images and scenes. The audience pieces the production together to build their own understanding of the night’s occurrences ? one of course being the glorious nosebleed. This seemingly sinister duologue reveals the magical inside world of children’s creative minds, exploring time, entrapment, intrigue and escapism.

Monsters Appear is an emerging Brisbane independent theatre collective comprised of Benjamin Schostakowski, Athalia Foo and Nikki Taurau. The collective present new contemporary performance works that aim to provide a unique experience for their audiences. Their work melds together traditional theatrical devices and modern technologies. Monsters Appear employ visual stage images, illusion, projected images and minimal dialogue to play with space and time. With a zealous theatrical sensibility, they aim for the unexpected.

‘This production marks our opportunity as a collective to present our theatre work in a professional context. It’s devastatingly exciting for us as emerging Brisbane artists’ says Athalia Foo.

Tickets now on sale.

SEASON: 30 March ? 9 April 2011, Preview 29 March WHEN: Tuesdays – Saturdays, 7.30pm WHERE: Sue Benner Theatre, Metro Arts 109 Edward Street, Brisbane.

TICKETS: Adults $20/ Conc. $16/ Preview $12/ Group (10+) $12 Cheap Tuesdays: $12 (door sales only)

BOOKINGS: (07) 3002 7100 or http://www.metroarts.com.au



Circus: a double bill – The Brink at JWCoCA

The Brink presents a double bill of circus at the Judith Wright Centre of Contemporary Arts featuring the World Premiere of Natano Faanana’s new work, Baggage Carousel followed by Jess Love’s And The Little One Said.

Ever wondered what it’s like to grow up in the world of circus? Natano Faanana’s comically endearing new work Baggage Carousel takes the audience on a journey of discovery; following three teenage Brisbane circus stars as they share their personal stories on stage.

Growing up as a teenager has its ups and downs. But growing up as a teenage circus performer has its ups, downs, twists and half turns. What happens when the little cutesy star of a show turns into a teenager? When did the lanky, uncoordinated, nervous boy become a man? Why does the teenage girl who turned heads because of her height and talent now turn heads for other reasons?

In his directorial debut, circus legend Natano Faanana (Briefs) explores the inevitable shift from child star to their next incarnation. Three of Brisbane’s brightest young circus artists, T’La Morrow, Rhett Morrow and Abbey Church, recount their slightly charming but mostly awkward and confronting transitional years into adulthood.

Baggage Carousel is an energetic, engaging and truly intimate performance.

The second show within this double bill is the award-winning sell-out premiere season of And The Little One Said. Don’t miss Jess Love of The Candy Butchers and her “hilarious” but “death defying” and “charming” solo show.

Through dark clowning, dirty acrobatics and surreal sideshow feats including roller- skating and a hula-hoop this brilliantly skilful, quirky comedienne creates carefully crafted circus through clever storytelling, awe-inspiring imagery and a healthy dose of slapstick.

Written and performed by Jess Love (Circus Oz, Circa) and directed by Stephen Burton, And The Little One Said combines high-level circus skills with pathos, humour and beauty to create a performance that is touching, enchanting and playful.

The Brink is a celebration of Australia’s newest and most exciting circus companies.


Jason Klarwein (Interview 15)

The last time I sat down with Jason Klarwein to talk about theatre was 10 years ago, shortly after I had been appointed to the Board at Queensland Theatre Company. At that time Jason was in the first intake of the Company’s Emerging Artists program. I followed all of the artists over the course of the year and touched base with them from time to time about the experience. I had hours of  audio interviews which I subsequently had transcribed and filed away for an article which has yet to be written. (Note to self: do something about this).

There’s an old saying that goes if you’re still in theatre 10 years after you begin that you’re there for life. If it is true, then Jason – actor and now Artistic Director of Queensland’s iconic Grin and Tonic Theatre Troupe – has passed the point of no return. He laughs when I point this out. With his first professional job for Disabled Arts The Glass Cage in 1996, he agrees that he is definitely well beyond the 10 year turning point. He joins what is becoming something of a league of newly-appointed artistic directors around Australia, many of whom cite ‘actor’ or ‘designer’ or ‘producer’ before ‘director’ as their theatre ‘speciality.’

I wanted to talk with Jason about what he’s been doing in the years since we last spoke in depth and, of course, about Grin and Tonic and his vision for its future. He’s already got a 5 Year Plan under way, and I managed to winkle out some of the ideas informing the first year at least. We spent a good 45 minutes or so having a mutually enjoyable rant about theatre things. There’s a lot to talk about. As to what he’s been doing in the interim, Jason lists five career highlights. Continue reading “Jason Klarwein (Interview 15)”