South Africa Inspiration – Cradle of Creativity

Recently I was funded by the Department of Culture and Arts, Western Australia to attend the 19th Assitej World Congress on creating theatre for children and young people in Capetown May 2017. I attended many workshops, developed international contacts and delivered a research paper on puppetry as a form of communication with early years and special needs children. There were many inspiring and uplifting moments, I learnt much about South African culture and history, and was very excited to be part of an amazing festival and event, this is a kind of visual mood board of my experience –



New pop up shop for yardworks art, WA


In Freo, many commercial businesses have moved out and  artists are moving in, and revitalising empty spaces! Lots of pop up shops are happening in Fremantle, with artists at the heart of the towns economy, they are developing new shops everywhere. So, I have been very busy making lots of lovely hand made creations for the first yardworks art shopfront in the woolstores, fremantle, wa.


In a collective with other artists and retailers, we are sharing the overheads and using a commercial space to promote our creations and retail stock.


Its a great opportunity and location for developing the idea and concept of yardworks art, and displaying other artists upcycled creations aswell.


yardworks art is a mix of homemade artworks for sale, upcycled and lovingly made for your life. Lost and found art, oddities, curiosities, vintage and retro all for sale.


Come and have a look, open every day……..yardworks art, woolstores. 28 Cantonment St
Fremantle Western Australia 6160

Love is Life – Creative Development

Love is Life, Green Room

Its been a busy couple of weeks, with projects being planned and creative processes in full go! Had another marvelous creative development weekend with Joey Ruigrok van der  Werven at PICA in Perth’s Cultural District, WA – which I will post about on a further blog.

Making forest vines

The AIR Programme at Carson St School is nearing the end of its process with the Sensory Awareness performance in full rehearsal this week, inside a specially made forest environment. Its been fantastic to work with the Barking Gekko Theatre Co team ‘Sensorium’, a new company making specific work for PMLD children in Perth. See the artists blog for the full creative process and development

This weekend was also an opportunity for further creative development with PROXIMITY at the Blue Room theatre, also in Perths C.D – a new co op season of site specific one-on-one performances curated by James Berlyn and Sarah Rowbottam.

Artists can propose work for intimate performance experiences by 30th sept 2011 at

Im hoping to continue the Art of Heart project with intimate object theatre and storytelling.

My favourite hearts

All this fabulous creativity with artists in Perth has reminded me of the wonderful times I had at the sadly gone Green Room, Manchester UK. Chopped due to the Arts Council funding cuts. One of my artworks was in residence there (see top image), if anyone knows where it is, let me know!

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.

Towards a New Australian Theatre Genre



A few months ago I was very excited that Joey Ruigrok van der Werven was coming to Perth, from the legendary Doegtroep Theatre, Holland, to give an inspirational lecture on creating image based performance events in Australia,

Doegtroupe reinvented the ordinary world with their street theatre, the name means theatre of rubbish! From Joeys time as an Engineer with Doegtroep, he believes artists step out of society and hold a mirror to reinterpret life. If you take away the arts people become very poor. Artists  need space to discover and explore as these iconic European companies had in the 1980’s.
Joey also ran a weekend masterclass on creating large scale spectacle and and inventing performance environments.

one of the unsung heroes of Australian contemporary performance’ Realtime

This was right up my street, as a visual theatre maker,I have always  wanted to scale up , from small scale theatre to gigantic with the dreams of making large scale sensory spectacles for families. So I was very happy to also be invited to the masterclass to work and share ideas with other WA artists, thanks to Performing Lines.

Joey believes the director is a facilitator of process, and that you can only make the large scale work if you can make the small scale, which is heartening to hear. Doegtrope obtained money from building foundations,as acertain % can be used for public art which does not always have to be a sculpture or fountain.


Towards A New Australian Theatre Lecture at The Bakery Photo: Sarah Rowbottam


for a full overview of the lecture please see Towards a new australian theatre genre’ lecture at



Joey is now based in Australia and has developed his own methodology on creating large scale site specific and community work. His intention is to make image driven community theatre, using real life events, bringing theatre to the people in their environment. Theres no need for a theatre infrastructure here, using industrial, abandoned spaces and bringing new life. He discussed how the renegade artist theatre companies, such as La Fura (Spain), Royal de Luxe (France) and Doegtrope (Holland) have become iconic for their country, as with La fura’s giant puppet and spectacle for the Olympics in 1992.

To be continued

La fura dels baus puppet

La fura dels baus olympics open 1992

Fantastic Abandoned Sites in Perth

This is a great site below for lots of images of abandoned places in Perth, gonna go on a tour and have a good look….

Thanks to Marisa Garreffa

Steamworks Arts Productions