Towards a New Australian Theatre Part 2 Masterclass

I had a fascinating weekend if at times frustrating (only because I can only reference UK/European site specific work rather than Aussie productions!) working and getting to know a brilliant group of Perth artists who have experience with large scale, site and community specific productions. Nice simple aims of the workshop were –

to learn for our own practice, meet each other make a fictious show and pull together a database for collaborative ideas.

We all had to describe what we did in detail, for some of us, (including me), who are jack and jills of all trades this was a bit difficult to clarify, but excellent practice in defining skills. Joey asked what the most burning question we had was? Well mine was, how do you stage/ share dreams?Answer, stay with the image /intuition, dont let the concept take over.

Joey spoke of how the fascination of the artist, whether its with the site or artform, carries the performance/project.How we should make work for as diverse an audience as possible with universal messages, artists speak through many languages. This reminded me of the Reggio Emilia philosophy for young children, to be allowed to be expressive through their own visual & sensory languages ‘One hundred voices.

‘The phenomena of the artist in the world – art comes from responding to the world, the director trusts that somehow their responses connect with the audience’

Joey spoke of creating different artist teams with core design/directors, working with engineers to make a fascinating machine/company to focus on the real story with emotional, poetic images. The feeling/ action has to be clear, it is not logical but the work has to convey what you want it to say.

‘Image speaks louder than words – easy to come up with amazing creative images, harder to make them count’

As an example Joey showed his research of Butchers signs, using images of pigs, specific fonts etc to make the symbolic representation acceptable to society.

Joey went through his experience and methodology of making large scale site specific collaborative work. Often starting with approx 20 scenes, ideas on post it notes to develop the product, and creating a framework for yourself to work in.

Everyone went out on a field trip to different sites in central Perth, either abandoned waste grounds or park areas.I have always had a thing for the carpark squashed at the back of the PICA building and the Blue Room theatre. The building was once a school, and this area probably once a playground, lots of history and a really interesting enclosed space.Overlooked by the Art gallery of WA and the new urban garden.With Joey we discussed the spaces potential And followed the  research and devising method for Site and Community Specific Works.Taking the commonplace and giving room for a unique experience , the weekend was a unique experience to engage with the trials and errors, & extraordinary heights of making large scale site specific work.

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