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  • Wednesday 4th Oct
  • Wed @10:00 AM
  • The Inner Limitless Space of the Artist

    FT Stage 1, Wed 4th Oct, 10:00am, 1 Hour Facilitator: Yasmin Gurreeboo 1st Provocateur: Rosalba Clemente

    How do we return to the heart of our practise and continue making our own contribution after loss, failure, wounding? How do we connect with the truth about ourselves ( as well as the outer world) and take responsibility for evolving and sustaining our own limitless creativity as artists? How can we keep our minds and hearts open to new possibilities as artists that embrace but are not bound by race, class, gender? How can we find ways to celebrate being artists and belonging to a race of Artists more regularly in our own local environments?

    • Rosalba, generously drawing on her own experiences, discussed the limitless space within ourselves as artists, alongside the limitations within the industry. It is a paradoxical situation we are faced with. The industry cannot save us from our pain. But we have to work in an industry that limits us — the tension between these two is the issue we face.

    • We as artists have every capacity to be limitless. She drew on an image she tells her students at Flinders Drama Centre: ‘You are a deep-sea diver. Each time you go a bit deeper, even if it’s a centimetre, you find something greater and deeper within yourself and the work. So dive, come up for some air, and go back down again, and again, and again’

    • Rosalba shared her experience as an artist who came from an immigrant family that built their life from scratch in Australia. Through her artistry, she actively delved into stories that represented her people and their experiences and brought them to the stage.

    • She undertook a project that came from this place of limitless space within herself; she dove deep and had all the expectations of it being a wonderfully, rich, fulfilling experience for all involved. She took on the responsibility of taking artists through a process which was very psychologically heavy not only for herself, but all involved, and that was quite straining. No regrets in doing the work, but it certainly took a toll on the artist.

    • Going into these depths don’t always end up the way you hope. In working with others of a similar experience, you can still be blinded by your own privilege or blinded by assuming people don’t see or hear you.

    • An inherent part of Rosalba’s artistry has been a conscious self examination. When you get through to deeper layers of yourself, then you get to see yourself as you truely are. And as artistic truth endures beyond all adversity. We must keep breaking through to the next levels of our own humanity, and this can reflect in the work we make. We are protean — ever growing, ever changing, ever evolving.

    • Rosalba assured the group that your inner space can never be taken away from you. You can take an experience and give birth to it with unlimited imagination.

    • Empathy and love are our gifts as artists. This makes us open and vulnerable. We are broken in order to break through. This can be difficult.

    • Last words: keep your sense of humour, reach out, stay connected, you’re allowed to go into your cave, but not for too long, get help, review your values, rest, eat, exercise, open up, take responsibility and cheer on others. What will you do to replenish your limitless space and what will you do to help others do the same?

    • From discussion afterwards, people were very touched by Rosalba’s open and vulnerable sharing, which allowed other to open up about their own experiences of being vulnerable and being our true authentic selves on stage.

  • Always Was Always Will Be - First Nations Peoples Only

    Bistro 2, Wed 4th Oct, 10:00am, 1 Hour Facilitator: Eva Grace Mullaley 1st Provocateur: Ali Murphy Oates

    The National Blackfulla Performing Arts Alliance would like to invite First Nations Peoples to discuss the current ecology of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Performing Arts Sector: where do we stand and what do we aspire to? Who are we telling our stories to? What opportunities are out there? What is needed within our industry to add to or assist our excellence? This is a closed session for First Nations Peoples only.

  • The Artist's Space

    Foyer Sunken Lounge, Wed 4th Oct, 10:00am, 1 Hour Facilitator: Michelle Ryan 1st Provocateur: Dan Graham 2nd Provocateur: Julian Jaensch

    An interrogation of different approaches to making performance that it is informed by our abilities and circumstances. What is the experience in the rehearsal room, the person on stage and the audience? Artists that use disability to inform their work discuss various methodologies that can inform everyone’s art.

    • Don’t attack the tyranny directly: subvert it and say that tyranny is wrong.

    • The industry is hard for everyone at the best of times. A lot of actors with disabilities, physical and mental, are in fear of disclosing their condition for fear of judgment. Mentioning it will probably be detrimental to job prospects. Disabilities are perceived negatively, and this is the issue. For the person with the disability, it is the least interesting thing about them. The hope is to get to the stage in the industry where disability doesn’t matter and everyone can get work, despite their neuro-diversity. It is no-one else’s business what someone’s disability is. The hope is that “disability” eventually means nothing, and is not “othered”, and has no bearing or consequence on industry or life.

    • The spectrum of autism is huge now, each with different levels of cognition, understanding and doing things. Autism was very specific a while ago, now it is a wide spectrum. It is important to keep creating theatre that presents autistic people in all their differences and quirks, giving them equal opportunities despite their disability. To show their unique talents.

    • A person with neuro-diversity is able to bring out parts of characters that speak to them in ways that someone else would not be able to notice, and in that way art is fresh and unique from their perspective. Theatre that cultivates the different talents of disabled people is so important, and using their talents to strengthen and help them with their short-falls.

    • The disability community needs to heal and grow and fight the barriers of “other”. Currently people with disabilities are “othered”. The process of bringing people with all different kinds of disabilities will normalise the “other”, a term which hangs over people with disability like a cloud. Bringing them out into the limelight and into the public eye raises awareness and provokes thoughts.

    • Disability theatre’s purpose is to create awareness, so that eventually “disability” theatre it isn’t needed any more, and just becomes “theatre”. The hope is that disability theatre is such a huge hit with such high quality that it blows people away. Amazing theatre can happen over and over again, so often that we don’t need to use the word “disabled” because it is so professional. The hope is for a future where stories aren’t feminist stories, race stories or disabled stories, just stories. Reaching a point where disabled people can tell their stories without being in a “niche” or special is the goal.

    • People with disabilities want to express feelings and emotions through movement and art. Just like all artists, creating something bigger than ourselves. People with disabilities start their careers with self-confidence on the rock bottom, told constantly that they cannot do this and that, and instead confidence should be cultivated and encouraged.

    • “Fuck you to the bullies, I can do whatever I want.” That is the future we hope for.

  • The Queer Space on the Australian Stage

    FT Stage 2, Wed 4th Oct, 10:00am, 1 Hour Facilitator: Richard Watts 1st Provocateur: Emma Valente 2nd Provocateur: Dan Clarke

    We are in the middle of an explosion in Australian queer theatre, storytelling and art making. What’s our history or lineage in these stories? What are its aesthetics in 2017? Is there such a thing as a queer form of theatre? From sissy’s to transgender representation what voices are we portraying on stage and how we are doing it?

    • Is there a difference between queer theatre and gay and lesbian theatre? Queer: a difficult word, but also powerful. Queer art can be the same as the word queer. It can be powerful, but painful.

    • Queer is the state of, it is a way of accepting, re-imagines sex and the body. People want to see queer work. We want to see queer stories on stage.

    • There is no ‘other’, we are all the ‘other’. Performance that presents work that accepts diversity

    • The queer community is under attack, especially by the government. There is a lot of pain in our community. Keep the Q in LGBTIQ.

    • Where is queer work happening? A real lack of Queer performance in Sydney. Mainstream stages: Queer theatre is still alive. Black Swan employing their first transgender actor in a production. Can you call it queer if it’s on the main stage? A lot more queer voices in dance/theatre in Tasmania.

    • Regional Queer Theatre: There are no safe spaces for queer people. It’s scary enough. In Sydney there are communities where queer people can feel safe, but in regional areas it’s almost non-existent.

    • Queer work: why should straight people only do it? Queer theatre should be made by queer people. How many queer voices should be involved in that production? If it is considered to be queer work. How many queer people should be employed? Trying to introduce more queer voices. Letting queer actors receive queer roles. Producing more work by the queer community.

    • Queer work should also be resistant, not co modified. How to create a space with resistance? Do people recognise Queer work?

    • There are more queer leaders, but there is no exposure.

    • Audiences: their impact on queer theatre. Straight middle class people who watch queer theatre: It can become a spectacle. Watching our stories as if it was a ‘freak’ show. How audience members can change the form.

    • How do we create safe spaces? How can we create support for queer artists? There are not many physical spaces for queer artists to inhabit. The queering of straight spaces.

    • Coming into a traditional space. It’s uncomfortable. Create a new type of world where queer artists can be themselves. Paving a path way for audiences and artists to experience queer theatre. We know what we are doing. We know how to speak to our audience and give new context.

  • Theatre in the Public Space

    Lucky Dumpling VIP Tent, Wed 4th Oct, 10:00am, 1 Hour Facilitator: Louise Bezzina 1st Provocateur: Clair Korobacz 2nd Provocateur: Lee Wilson

    Australia is full of open and unusual spaces and places to make theatre and events in. Site and Community specificity are some immediate considerations we initially use to inform our practice when we make and place works outside of the black box: how are these works “portable?” How do we manipulate these spaces to tell our stories and provide experiences?

    • Discussed the need or lack thereof of an invitation for the audience, and how useful an invitation can be. The language of an invitation differs from person of ‘audience’ - whether they are well versed in traditional theatre conventions or if they are the users of the space.

    • The ethics of who is in on the show and and ‘get’s it’ was brought up. The unknowing ‘actors’ and the regular users of the space can be subject to voyeurism by the theatre goers and so a goal of these creators is to make a unity and blurred boundary between the groups.

    • Relationship to permission was discussed. Tackling the challenges that can be faced when the artist or specific creator builds up a reputation as an ‘antagonist’. Sometimes we need these antagonist to combat the, at times, oppressive squashing of art by figures with more power.

    • Liability is also another topic of discussion - understanding the unspoken rules and written laws that try to define aspects of and responsibilities of the space and creators and blurred boundaries. A successful method seems to be the making of and sustaining of positive relationships with those who oversee the space. This could be a ‘champion’ or a partnership with those in charge.

    • Another topic of discussion is the promotion of risk benefit to permission grantors. This builds trust and shows the way art can help the space in a real and tangible way.

    • Relationship to space - challenges the regular use of space the use of theatre and creates the legacy of memory for those involved as a spectator or a performer.

  • The Spaces We Create To Create

    Bistro 1, Wed 4th Oct, 10:00am, 1 Hour Facilitator: Mark Pritchard 1st Provocateur: Elena Carapetis 2nd Provocateur: Jeffrey Jay Fowler

    Literary Managers and Associate Directors inherit spaces within artistic organisations and institutions that are key to creating bridges for new voices: how are they being creative amidst organisational and government red tape? How are they creating and holding space for diverse storytellers, experiences, and audiences? What have been their approaches, challenges, and successes?

    • Inheriting institutions

    • Perception of theatre companies on inside and outside is very different: creating a bridge; feeling of powerlessness for independent artists; and hope and pathways for culturally diverse people

    • Creating change: pressure of hitting financial target (ticket sales); finding sincere product to advocate for; faith in subscribers

    • Making theatre accessible to communities – creating the bridge: engage with communities in their own space first; exchange of welcoming; going to their space and being welcomed, so you can then welcome them into yours; hunger for stories with people not necessarily of anglo background

    • Luxury product for luxury venues: Who are the people who don’t feel invited? How to make people feel comfortable in a luxury space if that’s not what they feel like themselves; the nature of the invitation

    • Help the system adapt and create change: dismantling of traditional process of theatre company; takes time to create change because values and processes can be calcified

    • Dependence of interconnectedness within the arts: engaging people who do not necessarily have the same opportunities; breaking the inner circles

    • How to support independent artists: without financial freedom; state theatre companies taking artistic risk; employment of staff who do the “bridging” work; pushing upward from the role of a resident artist

    • Culturally safe spaces: companies need to become colour competent; “Interculturalism” – several cultures rubbing against each other.

    • Diversity in audiences: the most diverse audiences tend to be the audiences of educational shows; inspiring young people by representing them in the theatre

    • Faux diversity: stereotyping; can actually have a negative effect on the represented community; needs to be counteracted through genuine sustained partnerships with institutions – going outward rather than pulling upward. How is the theatre space designed and utilised in other cultures to present other forms of performance?

    • Letting culturally diverse stories speak for themselves: not adapting them to fit western ideals; respecting the dramaturgies of different cultures, being aware of the differences – how not to colonise the work.

  • Wed @11:30 AM
  • Always Was Always Will Be - Walking Together

    FT Stage 2, Wed 4th Oct, 11:30am, 1 Hour Facilitator: Eva Grace Mullaley 1st Provocateur: Ali Murphy Oates

    The National Blackfulla Performing Arts Alliance would like to invite everyone to discuss the current ecology of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Performing Arts Sector within the mainstream: what are we aspiring to achieve together? What opportunities are out there and what is needed? How can we continue collective and collaborative excellence across the nation?

    • We need to get out of the “white stream” and start to make work including and prioritising First Nations people

    • Non indigenous people: does it make you uncomfortable to introduce yourself and participate in discussions about indigenous people/art?

    • Where does aboriginal theatre fit on a spectrum between high school drama and the biggest budget main stage shows?

    • Response: generally mid range. Funding cuts are pushing us down the ladder. Eva believes that is coming into a position of power.

    • Aboriginal people as actors are engaging in performances, but Aboriginal play writes are under represented.

    • 94% of people think that Aboriginal theatre is important. 20% of people actually see it.

    • Venues, people and audiences want Aboriginal art: but where is the money? “We don’t have the funding”

    • In reality they don’t want to take the risk of funding these shows.

    • As enthusiastic as everyone is, we still don’t encourage and support minority groups, and allow them to break into the main stage

    • Do we want to mainstream or do we want to keep our unique niche?

    • The model of the mainstream won’t be broken until we (the minority) are part of it as leadership

    • We have proven time and time again that we don’t need people to talk for us, what we need is to own our culture and talk as individuals. Own who we are.

    • The arts has always been the vanguard for social change.

    • What does an empowered and embraced black theatre look like? Where does it start? Response: completely run by Aboriginal people.

    • “Black representation” companies are still 75% run by white people.

    • How do we walk forward together: we already are. Being here today is proof of that. Let’s keep walking together in the future.

  • Cultural Values - International Perspectives

    FT Stage 1, Wed 4th Oct, 11:30am, 1 Hour Facilitator: Zohar Spatz 1st Provocateur: Madeleine Flynn 2nd Provocateur: Leisa Shelton

    Artists can be considered living examples of ‘informal ambassadors’ or early ‘cultural diplomats’ as we tour, collaborate and exchange across borders and cultures: what values are we taking or portraying overseas? How do we foster shared cultural understandings when touring or undertaking diverse collaborations?

    • The conversation started by talking about intercultural work - the failures and successes of these particular works and what it even means to have cultural values?

    • How do we welcome people into our companies? One way is cultural brokers - people that act as bridge makers across intercultural projects.

    • There’s a lack of deep understanding of who each other are, and a lack of understanding of the scope and style of the ways we’re working. It’s all money driven. When artists come together - they fast-track to getting things done but by doing this they miss the understanding of the practice and the culture they are engaging with. We need to push to create this space.

    • There was an example - one person’s first experience working intra-culturaly was doing improvisations and they realised the difference between the Western and Chinese canon of improvisations… its so different. And there was a lack of this understanding. It all comes down to underestimating the artistic practice. Every voice needs to make an offer.

    • We might need cultural risk assessment on every project - a way for us to talk abour our values before engaging in work together.

    • Let’s have conversations… we need to take the time to have a conversation about the work. What do we share and why are we here? We need to interrogate our values. Take the time.

  • Ripples and Reflections from the Theatre Diversity Initiative (2012-2015)

    Lucky Dumpling VIP Tent, Wed 4th Oct, 11:30am, 1 Hour Facilitator: Joon Yee Kwok 1st Provocateur: Nasim Khosravi 2nd Provocateur: Todd MacDonald

    Reuniting some of the participants involved in the Theatre Diversity Initiative (2012-2015), which saw a Theatre Diversity Associate work between three collaborating organisations to increase engagement with CALD artists and their work, this conversation reflects on this important pilot project: what have we learned? What is the ongoing ripple effect across Queensland stages and beyond?

    • The theatre diversity initiative tried to address underrepresentation in Queensland stages and how companies worked with diverse artists.

    • The initiative saw a significant shift in programming regarding diversity.

    • They discovered there was no one method or strategy to include diversity. Strategies are site specific and unique to companies.

    • They discovered there was no one method or strategy to include diversity. Strategies are site specific and unique to companies.

    • How can we create space in core funding to support new diverse works within state companies?

    • Who is making the decisions around diversity and how can we shift that? How can we introduce diversity in all areas of theatre (eg, front of house, performers, theatre makers, administration)?

    • Now the role of theatre diversity associate is gone, diverse artists feel alone and lost.

    • What will happen now the funding for the initiative is over? How do we continue to support diversity without funding for initiatives?

  • Sticky Topics

    Bistro 1, Wed 4th Oct, 11:30am, 1 Hour Facilitator: Mish Grigor

    In 1999 five writers put their minds together in Who’s Afraid Of The Working Class? - Twenty years later, do we still need to be asking the same questions? Are we afraid (again) of the working class? What is it to be ‘working class’ in Australia in 2017? Is there such a thing as a working class artist? And how do we represent class on our stages? Who are the new voices of political dissent today? As we increasingly ask about intersectionality, we’re asking who gets to speak and when - but how does class fit into the conversations of identity politics?

    • The initial provocation of the group centred around the evolution social/political class in Australia since the 1999 play. It was discussed that much of “middle class values” can be held by those identifying as working class, and the challenges of this permeating class structure in the theare. It was suggested that since the Howard era, 5-6 social classes have been observed in Australia, and that today the rhetoric on our stages can have an unclear standing, meaning and ideology.

    • The subsequent discussion which occupied the majority of the session was the question: Do I have the right to tell a story which isn’t my own? There are complex issues surrounding a creative’s own subjectivity and the consequences of this in performance, and the conversation was particularly focussed on the complexities of exploring First Nations issues on stage within the institutional, European-heritage structures and frameworks of the performing arts in Australia.

    • The issue of collaboration was raised, and centred around the concept that if one is writing outside of their subjective experience, they require support from collaborators to produce an effective and representative work, and their obligation to seek it out. It was noted that for First Nations performance, a system of protocols is in place within these communities as to how these stories can be told, and also that Indigenous playwrighting is still a controversial and developing industry that needs cultivation.

    • It was expressed that many creatives run the risk of “getting it wrong” and that writing outside your subjective experience is a great privilege and responsibility to seek collaboration and representation.

    • It was also expressed that there is a fear of this reaction, that “getting it wrong” is a constant fear for many creative reaching outside their personal experience that they may incorrectly represent a group of people, even when extensive collaboration is sought and exercised. The consequences of “getting it wrong” were also discussed, and it was suggested that whilst a creative may have the ability to walk away from an ill-received or poorly representative work, those afflicted by the misrepresentation rarely have that opportunity.

    • The discussion moved to how a necessary collaboration might work, the correct and incorrect forms of it, and the fundamental aims of such work. The focus returned to Indigenous works as the most pertinent example, and the key to effective and respectful collaboration was expressed to be handing over the powers and privilege to the group seeking empowerment, and that performance was a powerful tool for this.

    • The discussion led to the forms of empowerment, and the fundamental role of finance in the blocks to diversity of expression in the arts. It was noted that most of the institutions representing and perpetrating the artistic status quo also have a major role in the allocation of funds and resources. Subsequently the concept of what it is to be a professional, and the arguments over whether all artists wish to be at the top of a pre-conceived hierarchy of arts culture, or if the boundaries are more fluid and can be deconstructed.

    • A vital provocation during the last minutes of the discussion was the consideration of what audience you might have exclusive access to, and the powers and privilege that comes with that. It was noted that one must not only consider who is writing and collaborating on the show, but who is coming to see it.

    • We then finally expanded along these lines on discussing the pervasive definition of theatre, and how potentially outdated modes of performance are continually perpetrated by government, sponsorship and institutions when a wider audience (i.e. working class, or diverse immigrant communities) is out there potentially for new types of theatre that challenge the new divisions in our society. It was mentioned that in 1999, “Who’s afraid of the working class?” was deeply connected to the union movement, and that as those structures of mass organisation have changed, the forms of political outreach in theatre have changed too.

  • Power Shifting Models

    Foyer Sunken Lounge, Wed 4th Oct, 11:30am, 1 Hour Facilitator: Louisa Norman 1st Provocateur: Chris Bendall 2nd Provocateur: Lyn Wallis

    How could a new model of a performance market work? How can we allow artists, presenters and audiences explore and create the best Australian work? Using commissioning models, touring consortiums, and performance hubs: how might we experiment with the paradigms of power in the market place?

    • Theatre is collaborative so is the word ‘marketplace’ the best word to use due to its non-colaborative implications.

    • Proliforation of markets means more diversity but near impossible for people to attend all the markets they want to.

    • What is the best way to spend our time and money to make sure everyone in the room (artists, presenters, producers etc) are interested in the work being offered?

    • Can a speed dating style of marketplace/exchange open up a conversation based collaboration? And can this lead to longer-term relationships?

    • Seperate state based markets could co-ordinate more to prehaps create a programming season. Can they work together to broadcast each other, co-ordinating timings etc?

    • Blak Lines New Works Platform is a good example of artist lead and relationship based marketplacing/commissioning.

    • Good Pitch is a good example of an opportunity of a marketplace where individual donors and private investors can look at and talk to artists about their work. Can we emulate this further?

    • Let’s take another look at how we use the national touring website. Not everyone is hooked into it and not everyone knows it exists.

  • Wed @1:30 PM
  • Structures and Transition

    FT Stage 1, Wed 4th Oct, 1:30pm, 2 Hours Facilitator: Tricia Walton & John Baylis

    Imagine the sector starting all over again, and planning for the here and now, and well into 2050: what funding and organisational structures do we want to support us? What structures can best support education, making, presentation, and touring? What structures enable our theatre making to contribute to pertinent cultural conversations?

    • As a group we brainstormed ideas for the following scenario: What would society look like if all the existing structures have been torn down in a revolution, and all forms of power and organisation has been eliminated. We are the last surviving people and we are building the world from the bottom up. Starting from scratch, what could things look like, and what do we want the world of the Arts to look like? Now, in the near future, and in 50 years time.

    • Then, in 4 groups, we tackled these ideas and discussed them at length, before coming back to the group and presenting our findings.

    • Group #1: Cultural Protocols 1. We discussed the idea that every artist, big or small, has to spend rigorous time immersed in Indigenous culture, learning cultural protocols. It would not be a one-off course, but a lifelong learning experience. It would also not be just a project specific intensive, but an ongoing education. There would not be a national model for this, but a localised and unique system for each community. 2. To help this happen, there would need to be more indigenous leadership of artistic organisations. There would be less hierarchical artistic organisations. There would be less work made in traditional theatre spaces. 3. There would be less fear and more collaboration with Indigenous communities as a collective, rather than an asking of “permission” as a token formality. Artistic projects would not involve one person, but rather be a shared responsibility in the community, and involve an eldership as opposed to singular elders. Schools would teach the local Indigenous language. All schools would be bi-lingual. 4. The method of funding this is unclear, but revolution or not, this is something that needs to happen. It is a real possibility, totally doable. Awareness and education and expression of Indigenous culture starts in the Arts. It is up to us because we have the influence and power. It is a priority.

    • Group #2: Embedding Artists in Non-Artistic Organisations & the Longevity of Artistic Organisations 1. We talked about a world in which, to be classified as an artist, one needed to spend a few years working and creating art in regional Australia. 2. A future with companies with over 100 employees that are required to have a resident artist was also discussed. 3. We discussed rebuilding regional and urban boundaries, and the melding of the two. 4. We talked about that if there was no more government funding of the arts, that in fact multi-national corporations like Nike or Coca-Cola would sponsor artistic companies and individuals, and they would operate under the corporation’s umbrella, with their money. Another way could be that it is a necessity for multi-national corporations in Australia to adopt an artistic company. 5. In terms of the longevity of artistic organisations, it was discussed that funding would cease after 10 years and the companies would have to fold, or evolve, or reinvent themselves. Otherwise the idea of burning/destroying all established purpose-built theatres was thrown around.

    • Group #3: Distribution of Funds 1. We discussed the idea that funding for arts was artist based rather than project or company based, and instead the individual artist was given funding for a year, regardless of the outcome, to see where they would end up and what they could achieve. The reverse was discussed also – should organisations be funded rather than individuals. Individuals potentially waste the funds, and organisations get all the leverage if they have all the funds. 2. The idea was played with of every citizen being financed individually, but to do so they are required to partake in a piece of theatre or performance art once a year, like a compulsory curricular activity. The idea of artists justifying their projects to a random “jury” of Australians for funding was explored. These “juries” would decide funding distribution. 3. The idea that there would be no funding for creators, only commissioning funds for the presenters, was one we toyed with. In this world, the presenters would need to pitch for money to commission projects that they wanted to present. This would open the door to co-presentations between presenters. Alternatively the presenters would need to fundraise for the money. The presenter model would be specific to the individual rather than transcendental. 4. Removing politicians from the arts funding process altogether was discussed. Alternatively, the Arts Ministers would be elected by the artists themselves. 5. What if all individuals in an artistic organisation were funded equally? What if there was unlimited funding for individuals or organisations, regardless of size? What if every artist was competing for the same money pool, and every artist had the same opportunities as each other?

    • Group #4: Artists’ Living Wage 1. Here we discussed the viability of a basic wage for artists to live off. The idea that we hypothesised instead was that of a universal basic income for everyone rather than deciding who is and isn’t an artist. Another idea is that a minimum wage is supplied to artists along with an agreement to put aside a basic amount of that towards creating and presenting artwork. 2. Another idea explored was that of each taxpayer having control over where their tax goes. When paying tax, the taxpayer can decide how much goes towards defence, health, education and the arts. Explored also was the idea of tax breaks for spending in the arts. 3. We also discussed art apprenticeships as a way of getting into the industry while learning and working. 4. Making art free was also a talking point. Not only would this benefit society and the wellbeing of its people, but it would take pressure off marketing. Free tickets would benefit the audience and reach, and thus affect, more people. Free art would benefit poorer people, as opposed to tax breaks which would benefit the rich.

    • Other ideas that we came up with as a group but were not deeply discussed are as follows: • We abolish boards, and instead artists govern • All citizens have to be artists for 2 years, instead of in the military (like in other countries) • There is enough facilitation to incorporate disability arts as the norm • Corporal punishment for substandard art • Art news instead/as well as sports and weather • All boards to be made up of children • Add A (Arts) to STEM (Science Technology Engineering and Math) to make STEAM in schools

  • Your Imagination for Adaptation

    FT Stage 2, Wed 4th Oct, 1:30pm, 2 Hours Facilitator: Pippa Bailey 1st Provocateur: Dagmara Gieysztor

    We are all committed to bringing people together to activate our collective imagination. It’s about time we focused on climate change. Let’s imagine what a better, more sustainable world could look like. Through the Paris Agreement, Australia is committed to reducing emissions, investing in nature and adapting to a changing climate. The Arts can lead, and all we need is your Imagination for Adaptation, to discuss and engage with creative solutions. Powerful and practical dreaming for a better future.

    • We are in crisis in terms of environmental sustainability and we need to make changes in response to climate change. Individual artists, independent sector and theatre companies are making some movement, but it’s the cultural sector that has their heads in the sand. This discussion asks how can we create more sustainability within our workplace, and how the arts can be a leader in this?

    • Strong emphasis on building a relationship to the land we live on, including inhabiting a deep respect for the first people of this land because we can learn how to look after our world from this understanding and connection. The theory goes, if we develop an emotional connection to our world, then we will want to look after it and actively seek ways of reversing climate change.

    • We don’t want to compromise on concept, but sustainability needs to be a greater issue for theatre makers — it needs to be centralised.

    • Invest in material-sharing more. There is room and opportunity to share material between larger theatre companies and the independent sector, but there is a kind of fear in asking for help, or assuming that help will not be given — we need to open up lines of communication that are based on trust and respect in order to keep these relationships alive.

    • As artists, we are imaginative beings, and we need to use this to imagine what a better future looks like. We need really clear planning. We need to be asking hard questions. Whole industry needs to band together.

    • Lead through a creative process (Disney method) to help frame responding to this topic. The group separated into 3 — the dreamers, the realists, and the critics.

    • The dreamers (what does a better world look like?) dreamt of everyone having a childlike optimism towards the land and the environment that we live in and are apart of. To have respect for custodians of the land and the meaning that that holds. Being connected to any moment everywhere, rather than being separate. Everything that happens around you then matters a whole lot more.

    • The realists (what can we practically do now?) who are the gatekeepers? maybe they’re more approachable than we think in terms of sharing resources. How can we can communicate that in this modern world (apps)? Paperless ways to rehearse — where are we getting our paper? Our industry is a drop in the ocean, but it can reach out beyond through the work that we create. We need to make our efforts central to what we do. Implement rating and auditing systems. Julie’s Bicycle - UK touring toolkits for sustainability.

    • The critics (asking the hard questions) how do we rid the party-til-the-end attitude? How do we develop a consciousness around the issue as opposed to quick fixes? How do we tap into a person’s empathy? How do we move from consciousness into action? How do we neutralise carbon footprint? What practises can we erase or change to reduce/eliminate wastage?

  • Measuring and Advocating our Worth

    Foyer Sunken Lounge, Wed 4th Oct, 1:30pm, 2 Hours Facilitator: Jane Kreis 1st Provocateur: Fraser Corfield

    In 2017 ATYP worked with arts based research company Patternmakers to measure the impact of our programs on participants’ social and emotional health and wellbeing. This session focuses on using the research to advocate for theatre’s value and the sector as a whole, and how to start a new conversation with government, donors and funding bodies, to move the education sector from STEM to STEAM. Together we will explore ways we might combine research and promote the value of that research more effectively.

      • Overt and covert advocacy; to ways of creating a dialogue with other sectors.
      • Look to our partners and other communities who tried to achieve things and learn from their experience.
      • Partnering up with those sectors that have achieved wins for their own issues to help us find our own way to achieve goals.
      • Overt actions: Sea of hearts, fair day. Its apart of Mardi Gra. Placing hearts out and people taking photos and politicians coming for photos. These photos hold these politicians accountable to how this photo shows their stance, and what they need to do.
      • Thinking about who our friends could be and lobby and advocate for us and how they can help better our sector.
      • Patternmakers; research into the importance of theatre on Youth. Having a research partners that give us the credibility in the research for further funding.
      • Research into the importance of Arts on young people; 3 times more likely to vote, more social engaged. Research into Youth Arts improving youth across the board.
      • The research wanted to explore the question of what is the state of young people broadly?
      • Mental health effecting youth population in the developed world.¼ diagnosed with mental health, 1/6 anxiety issues. Average age for anxiety is 16. Average age for depression 25.
      • Project looking at the ramifications on the arts on youth with mental health impairments.
      • These are not programs designed to help mental health, basic drama groups. The improvements come as a side effect.
      • Reconceptualising theatre into a health funded endeavour; funding coming from health industries for theatre, using the data for then theatre to help solve this issue.
      • Engaging the government through a different channel; starting different conversations.
      • Can these statistics be used to open up the Youth Arts sector work, and how that will affect the channels for funding?
      • Who I need to talk to and how I need to talk to them? Finding the people that we need to sell our work to.
      • How do we share the information (Youth Arts survey) for everyone to be informed? And expanding the sample size and broadening the reach and footprint.
      • We have leverage and we should get more strategic and aggressive to lobby our politicians and get in their face with the arts.
      • Knowing what we want and understanding the political context that we are coming from.
      • Keeping channels of communication open.
      • Understanding the margin your working in, establishing friendship groups and meeting with likeminded people from across sectors to pull resources and share data. Academics at universities being a source to pull on for finding statistical data.
      • Seeing the value in working as larger groups to strength our voice.
      • Partnering with universities and companies for research and data collection to lobby for the grants needed to create work. Speaking the language of other sectors. Leverage and transpose other governmental departments to gain funding through data collection on issues that they are trying to resolve, and presenting the arts as a basis for solution.
      • Data collection for articulating the value and it gives us the tools to extend the conversation to external partners outside of our own spheres of influence.
  • Making the Visual Verbal – Audio Description in Australia

    Bistro 1, Wed 4th Oct, 1:30pm, 2 Hours Facilitator: Will McRostie 1st Provocateur: Jody Holdback

    Audio description is an additional commentary that provides information on the visual elements of a performance, as it unfolds. It allows people who are Blind or vision-impaired to experience theatre, and provides patrons a full and equitable experience. Learn about the state of Audio Description in Australia, and learn how audio describers make the visual verbal in a workshop by leaders in the field Access2Arts and Description Victoria.

    • The space was audio-described for the audience

    • Equity of access: ticket holders being able to get an equal experience.

    • A video was played three times: first time without visual, only film audio; second time accompanied by an audio description; and third time with visual, film audio, and audio description.

    • Another form of storytelling: putting the content into context e.g. a montage at the beginning of a film that has no dialogue; theatrical language used to describe.

    • The responsibility of the interpreter: must remain impartial; relaying visual information as accurately as possible for users to be able to interpret the meaning themselves.

    • To provide audio description for a show: audio describers must be contacted early on in the production process; they work from a script and early runs of the show; they create a pre-recorded version of the audio description is provided; a touch tour or tactile tour is sometimes conducted before the show for patrons to meet actors, walk the perimeters of the set, feel costumes or props.

    • What are the desired qualities of an audio describer? Seamless delivery; tone internation; appropriate mood.

    • Casting of audio describers: should be matched to context of production and nationality and gender is considered.

    • Negotiating language: Balancing descriptive language and how specific to be; choose most relevant language.

    • Audience was separated into three groups to engage in audio description activities: an exercise in describing the movements of small mechanical toys; an exercise in describing a poster image; and an exercise in describing an object.

    • The groups shared their attempts at audio description with each other

    • How can you incorporate accessibility into your work? It can challenge your creativity in a positive way. How do you create work that is accessible to everyone?

  • Working Group on Women as Leaders in the Arts

    Lucky Dumpling VIP Tent, Wed 4th Oct, 1:30pm, 2 Hours Facilitator: Rani Pramesti 1st Provocateur: Erica McCalman 2nd Provocateur: Annette Vieusseux

    How might we ensure that women of First Nations and diverse cultural backgrounds are represented in senior arts leadership roles? What barriers do we need to remove? How can we ensure that the arts, as a highly feminised industry, have women be paid fairly? How can we ensure that a diversity of leadership styles are encouraged and nurtured?

    Please note: This session is open only to women, including trans-women as well as non-binary people. We welcome discussions with male allies outside of this limited session time and space.

    • What is the discussion about? How women can make a difference in an arts industry based on a neo-colonial, neo-capitalism patriarchy? How do we deconstruct the system? There is a culture of who you hire in an organisation based on type. How can we break this?

    • We undervalue ourselves too much, For working women in the arts industry, there should be a welcoming of childcare or children in the arts environment whether that be allowing them to be a part of board meetings or rehearsals or providing a facility for them at the work. environment where they can be cared for but involved.

    • Women need to support other women more through praise, seeking out other women for advice and acknowledgement

    • Not enough acknowledgement for first nations, queer, disability and women of different cultures and their involvement in the arts leadership positions

    • A different structure in companies that allows more leadership positions for women of various ages, ethinicities, religions, perceived disability and whom have responsibilities to children.

    • To try to redefine the language of leadership and coming together in groups regularly to discuss this

    • Girls specific classes and learning in the arts industry

    • Budget lines in grants under ‘access requirements’ for childcare and disability

    • Training women to be effective on boards and for boards to be affected by women

    • Establishing a program in actor training that lowers notions of male dominance in a rehearsal or work space

    • Mentoring younger women in confidence and leadership

  • Thursday 5th Oct
  • Thu @10:00 AM
  • Sacrificing Your Career on the Altar of Activism?

    Queens Theatre 2, Thu 5th Oct, 10:00am, 1 Hour Facilitator: Alethea Beetson 1st Provocateur: Edwin Kemp Attrill 2nd Provocateur: Sara Strachan

    Saying something with your art is necessary but it can also be a treacherous path for your career: who is doing it? Why are we doing it? What are the models we are doing it with? This conversation is a precursor to discussions at the National Youth Arts Summit and Masterclass on Friday and Saturday, 6 and 7 September.

    • **How do you have a successful career without sacrificing your political voice? Perhaps you don’t. Political activism is vital.

    • ** 50% of artists earn under 50 000 from their practice. Value is only placed on art when it crosses over with education or other mediums.

    • ** How do you create political art without shutting out or “intimidating” your audience? We want people to engage not be turned off or scared away.

    • **As an First Nations person, you are born an activist.

    • **Large institutuons are still deeply linked to colonialism. Institutional racism is still deeply intrenched.

    • ** Why do we keep bringing up these issues? Because they are still issues! We will continue to be politically active until there is permanent and lasting change.

    • ** Activism is seen as something where you go hard and burnout, but in reality the best work comes from a long career when you know how to look after yourself

    • ** Activism doesn’t have to be a huge thing. Engaging in small everyday battles is just as important and just as important. Pick your battles

    • ** How do you stand up for “smaller” theatre? How do you step away from the main stage and still make work that is engaging to audiences?

    • ** Stand up for your right to make the art you want to make.

  • The End and Scary Beauty - In Conversation

    Queens Theatre 1, Thu 5th Oct, 10:00am, 1 Hour Facilitator: Joseph Mitchell 1st Provocateur: Keiichiro Shibuya

    Japanese composer Keiichiro Shibuya and OzAsia Festival Artistic Director Joseph Mitchell discuss virtual pop opera, The End, and Scary Beauty. The negation of “live” performance and the acceptance of digital realms on stage, how the work examines our humanity, and where opera and the theatre form can be pushed to evolve in the 21st century.

    • Keiichiro has a passion to break down genres. Within this, how do we define this work? Concert? Live music piece? A work of theatre? Performance art? The world’s first vocaloid pop opera where no orchestra or singers are on stage.

    • Hatsune Miku is a two dimensional character controlled by those who write the score for her. Three songs are performed as part of the chamber opera, and the third is an improvisation of the breathing patterns of William H. Boroughs.

    • The android is programmed for months before the show (including lyrics of the songs and voices) but once the show begins the android is just turned on and can perform without being controlled and manipulated during the performance.

    • Gender-neutral robot designed to respond to the environment, singing about their own thought process and experience. It’s responding to the stimuli around it.

    • Ultimately the goal is to be moved by something that is not human... for andriods to develop their own art... this is the goal.

  • Participate or Perish

    Queens Theatre 5, Thu 5th Oct, 10:00am, 1 Hour Facilitator: Bron Batten 1st Provocateur: Ian Pidd 2nd Provocateur: Malcolm Whittaker

    Participatory performance and theatre not only challenges our audiences but the artists who make it, and can even be seen as a sort rehearsal for real life. The flexible form can also contain artist and audience developments strategies. From an intimate spectacle to large community engagements, how do we grapple with ethics and methodologies whilst creating mass and personal narratives?

    • What does a participatory space look like? Traditional theatre shows, Things (activities not necessarily named ‘art’), situations

    • “all the worlds a stage” implies an audience and a performer but this is becoming more multi dimensioned in the modern performative space

    • Capitalism monetising and consumption of everything creating cultural toxicity, as artists we must create situations that break and challenge this.

    • The gift of art and the arts is form more than content. Form is what allows the content to break through to the society, and allows the space between the artist and audience to be removed or minimalised.

    • To what end do we participate or create participatory art, and then quantify the achievement?

    • Participation is to take theatre outside of the theatre and provide access, and cause conversation to those who won’t or can’t get to the theatre.

    • A chance for new forms to enact a real paradigm shift in audience thinking, removing Aristotelian “catharsis”: by removing the “rational” and taking risks.

    • Relationships to the audiences also creates different participatory form and breaking theatre norms, and confronts even the artists convictions.

    • Are we by producing ‘art’ of a participatory model, commodifying the very activity we show, and thereby promoting and perpetuating capitalism as opposed to “smashing it”.

    • Democracy and relationship between artists and non-artists, participatory model based on equal relationships of artist and audience not “enlightened and ignorant, or oppressor and oppressed.”

    • Are the participatory audience unpredictable or completely tame? Does the unpredictability of a participatory space remove the inherent capitalism of art as a product?

    • Participatory theatre should aim to create art by the audience and of the audience but “not about the audience”

    • There is a difference between a participatory show and a participatory process, with different aims and outcomes, neither of these should be deemed as “Wrong”.

    • There seems to be a lack of language relating to participatory work and funding for participatory work. What should the language we use be and thereby the goals of the work i.e. “public enragement over public engagement”?

    • Are we playing god? Who needs who, do the audiences really need us as artists? Ethics of good in the community, and pay of participants?

    • Should we play safe with participation, or how much can we push boundaries?

    • Why? To create relationships within a community, to promote healthy societies, to experiment personal expression and theories, to provide platforms and expression to those who don’t have such.

    • What are the ethics of honesty, transparency and contract about the art, and how much does honesty and transparency about what is actually happening effect the work?

  • Art and Spirituality: Hand in Hand

    Queens Theatre 3, Thu 5th Oct, 10:00am, 1 Hour Facilitator: Kamara Bell-Wykes 1st Provocateur: Rani Pramesti 2nd Provocateur: Kyle Morrison

    Do you have a sense that the work that you do in ‘the arts’ is spiritual in some shape or form? How is the ‘soul’ filled through our practice? How does our practice keep us ‘alive’? Have you had ‘spiritual experiences’ whilst working on your craft? What can we learn from our dreams? This is an opportunity to share and celebrate the spiritual aspects and experiences of our work.

    • We started with the questions surrounding art as a spiritual act: in performance, in audience, in creating - How does spirituality manifest in your art, and How does art inform your spirituality?

    • Having spiritual experiences through dreams and having that echoed through your personal and family history, and discovering meaning in those experiences through artistic creativity.

    • The importance of words and the relationship to spirituality, and in Indigenous faith, ancestral dreaming is deeply connected to familial and personal identity.

    • How do we envision the world around us? The philosophy of the First Nations connects all with the earth and its living things, and when Indigenous people are onstage, they are creating a spiritual experience. We spoke of the challenges of contemporary Indigenous representation in theatre, and how an approach to solving those problems is spiritual.

    • In opening up to questions, we discussed the previous and upcoming works of the two provocateurs and the benefits of providing opportunity for the cast to undertake spiritual healing during rehearsal. We spoke about the deep connection between personal philosophy and religious practice with creating safety and artistic inspiration within the creative process.

    • Art and spirituality: the chicken and the egg? Does our spirituality inspire what art we create, or does the art we want to create require spiritual support? We spoke about both approaches to creating work, and how they are intertwined.

    • We spoke about the unique opportunities within spirituality to tell stories, and how creative processes such as allocating an hour for sleep and dreaming each morning in the rehearsal space can create imaginative and ancestral inspiration well beyond the confines of a traditional rehearsal room and schedule. We spoke of the necessity to working with other artists and facilitators that share your creative process, and allow for the unique spiritual requirements of the cast and crew.

    • Individual spirituality and art practice will become fused in their outcome, as they are complementary. We spoke of what it means to be an artist and becoming a keeper of familial stories, and how we can often have unlikely roads into the theatre.

    • There is a curious sense among current First Nations communities that art is an indulgence, and that if you have the skills you should contribute to something more directly relevant to Indigenous issues. However, the irony is that art has permeated the deep spiritual culture, and that connections to dreaming and the land are indistinguishable from the life of an Indigenous person.

    • We spoke about the importance to having conversations about differences in faith and values in diverse casts, and the need to be interested in the unique spiritual and creative practices of people. The need to create a safe space in the rehearsal room is key to effective collaboration and the unique opportunities of storytelling.

    • We finally contemplated the provocation that theatre is an inherently spiritual experience, and that we all have a spiritual urge and purpose to perform and create, and leave a legacy for the future creators and peoples. We articulated the need for trust and respect, love and forgiveness, to create work and social change that deeply resonates on a spiritual level.

  • New Technologies, New Platforms, New Audiences, Oldest Tradition: Story Telling

    Queens Theatre 4, Thu 5th Oct, 10:00am, 1 Hour Facilitator: Davey Thompson 1st Provocateur: Colin Kinchela 2nd Provocateur: Diat Alferink

    As cultures, audiences, and technologies converge, theatre evolves. Yet storytelling remains at its core. How does multi-platform practice inform storytelling? What are new ways to share our experiences, identity, and passion for storytelling through new media to reach a diverse and more remote audience?

    • More contemporary performing arts for Indigenous Australians, to keep form of storytelling happening. Need more exposure consistent across the year to engage communities. Relocating communities all the time due to weather. A highly densely populated area yet people in communities are still alone.

    • Supporting communities to think about what you are giving and what you are getting. Built consistent and persistent relationships

    • Climate change effecting storytelling, people are talking about it, 70 to 100 years’ communities won’t be able to live in the same place due to environmental change. There are traditional stories that are passed on and also contemporary stories about the waste in the ocean that damage the animals and environmental effect and how it impacts environmental sustainability

    • Multi-platform work seen more in visual arts but not really other performance based arts. Now seeing film and TV used to merge old stories into contemporary performance

    • Cross platform performance systems working together to help the community by getting the messages and stories out. Community arts working with diversity and not just selling it back to the common denominator but all of the community

    • Mixing technology into traditional theatre. How does this change things? Example: Circus OZ using technology to communicate ahead of time to get more communities. Example: decolonising the hierarchy of theatre and performance, a sense that all roles and peoples are equal and have a specific role working together as a family to create art.

    • Engaging artists and community/audiences using social media as a tool to do this. Using this tool to nurture the artists and community when there is a lack of money in the arts to stay in the same place. $300,000 a year to support the circus artists to support and live in the same community. Reality is there is a lack of support and foundations for artists and First Nations. From nothing we have to produce something.

    • Using technologies to allow everyone to have access to all kinds of the arts. To have a voice for everyone to hear and listen to, and understand by all communities. These include close captions or Auslan interpreters as an example. This is including future generations of First Nations hearing and visual impaired

    • The time is now, the arts is a central point to change for the future and the time for real change is now. Just do it, work together

      Time is a non-refundable commodity don’t waste it - Davey Thompson

  • Thu @11:30 AM
  • Diversifying Audiences

    Queens Theatre 2, Thu 5th Oct, 11:30am, 1 Hour Facilitator: Jamie Lewis 1st Provocateur: Assoc Prof. Hilary Glow 2nd Provocateur: Dr Anne Kershaw

    A Deakin University research team conducted an impact evaluation of Asia TOPA: the triennial of Asian performing arts, held in Melbourne earlier this year, with a focus on attracting non-attendees - of diversifying audiences, and have since developed a new audience development model. This discussion and workshop outlines the research model and discusses the profound challenges facing arts organisations seeking to attract new and diverse audiences. Participants will reflect on their own organisations and practices in order to determine whether they avoid, reluctantly adapt, or embrace the changes needed to successfully diversify arts audiences.

    • Participatory session, focused on how to diversify our audiences through research models, forthcoming publication at Deakin. Asia TOPA became a case study for this research. Focus is on creating a model to allow organisations to diversify their audience. Deep engagement with the consortium orgs and partner orgs, interviews, focus groups, case studies etc.

    • Organisational shift to develop new audiences, huge emphasis on diversity. It’s a change process that challenges organisations. What’s the change that is required and what is the resistance? Why is there a resistance?

    • Marketing departments being a key to connection with audience engagement. But it is also a combination of programming, communication and education. Programming by itself cannot be a proxy for audience development. There needs to be deep conversation between programming and marketing in collaborative spirit.

    • An understanding of the context in which the organisation is set. Small communities, and theatre companies in those communities cannot specialise within one group. The companies are often connected right into the community. Using the local diverse groups to help organisations to understand how to deliver a diversified programming model.

    • Key strategies: being specific in what that audience is and not using general language; having diversity within your staff who draw in different knowledge and skills, which helps to understand how to best adapt programming for a wider audience; nuanced and targeted research; Building relationships with the specific audience that you want to bring in.

    • An organisation taking on the drive towards diversity and not just one department. It’s an organisational responsibility, not just a marketing or educational issue.

    • Organisations having a commitment to evaluation, research and development do better than those who don’t. It is important to go into communities for these evaluations.

    • What is the incentive for organisations to change? A universal understanding that audience for the performing arts are falling. Motivations for organisations are the public value requirements, box office and cultural shifts.

    • How to understand the complexity of audiences? Being very specific with what the audience’s backgrounds/history/context are, and how that affects their interactions with our organisations. Understanding the demographics in an in-depth way; the cross cutting of culture, race and language.

    • Capacity for organisations to change; small organisations can adapt to this model, due to limited resources and needing to be specific with resource expenditure. How much are the leaders of our organisations willing to listen and step aside for people who understand the communities that the organisation is operating?

    • Public publication of Asia TOPA evaluation: goes in February 2018 with release date after that, which will contain the report, research collection and case studies.

  • Pathways

    Queens Theatre 4, Thu 5th Oct, 11:30am, 1 Hour Facilitator: Julian Hobba 1st Provocateur: Tony Knight 2nd Provocateur: Dr Sarah Peters

    From secondary school to tertiary study to professional opportunities, planning a professional trajectory is not as easy as it was: what are the pathways well trod or less travelled? What is the importance of well-established and reputable education courses in our places of presentation? What are the opportunities for practicing directors, actors, and makers once they have left the education system? How do we create spaces for diversity and retain people, preventing the all too common brain drain?

    • • After the introductions from both provocateurs, the open floor started to discuss the changes to what is being taught at acting schools nation-wide. Also discussed was how the arts schools are now splitting into two streams to allow for classical training. All members of the group agreed that a diversity of skills need to be taught in acting as the industry relies on artists to be skilled in many aspects of theatre to find work. Students must also be willing to give new skills a go.

    • • The group shortly discussed Shakespeare as the ‘great white construct’, how this can give youth misconceptions about theatre from a young age, and acknowledging that theatre is much older than Shakespeare, teaching youth about the roots of theatre with the first nation’s people. This was coupled with a call for diversity within schools and the sector. Concerns were raised at the idea about lower socio-economic students unable to do recommended programs such as internships or work placement programs. Also, schools being more forgiving of important cultural occasions some students may need to attend.

    • • A consensus was reached by the group that it can be very hard to find resources once out of theatre school, and that skills not usually taught in acting schools (such as producing, devising and managing) were also needed to be taught. Getting young and upcoming artists through “Arts Puberty”, to a point where they realised they were out of the school system and could become artists, was of high concern.

    • • Schools and families can hinder students from becoming artists because of the lack-of-work stigma that is still associated with having a job in the industry. A call for more transparency within the sector was given by the group so that more students would be able to see a career in the arts. This would also help remove the stigma of having to go to art schools straight out of high school, allowing more diversity.

  • Shape Shifters

    Queens Theatre 3, Thu 5th Oct, 11:30am, 1 Hour Facilitator: Sue Giles 1st Provocateur: Naomi Edwards 2nd Provocateur: Luke Kerridge

    Examining the impact of including young people in theatre making with national and global examples: how does engagement with children and young people change practice, perspective, and opportunities for the entire arts sector? How do children and young people offer insight to new forms, and challenges to the status quo?

    • Many definitions for creating work with/for children. Challenge of discerning between making art for children or creating the work with children. Creating work for adults with children is about interrupting adults’ perception of young people and allowing children to have a voice in the cultural setting

    • Barriers with theatre for children include; children are not buying their own tickets, taboo topics, space between art and entertainment, ticket prices have to be cheaper therefore money must be used more efficiently for a show

    • Engaging with specific audiences to influence your work in the devising process and via collaboration. Negotiation of power and ownership.

    • Why bother? Babies and children are still human beings! And this work can change adults’ perspective on what theatre is

    • The adult gaze impacts this. In work for children form is challenged, you are required to find new ways to communicate other than traditional theatre text, you can be reaching adults in a space where they are vulnerable because they feel like they are not being directly spoken to with the work

    • When we taking risks with theatre for children; are we playing into the expectations of teachers, parents; are we not giving ourselves permission to make children think instead of purely entertaining them

    • Can we talk to both young audiences and adult audiences in the same way? How do we create work that doesn’t have to necessarily talk to adults or to children? Completed meaning means that you have to specify whether it is for children or adults – instead we can leave room for imagination. Also trusting that children can read the subtext

    • Considering representation of gender and race it is important not to reinforce preconceptions of gender and race. Often children do not have any expectations and we can be letting children and babies experience theatre naturally (without adults)

    • Not choosing when to treat children as children and children as adults. In places in Europe, they have a policy that children are social citizens. Consider a shift in thinking about how we manipulate children. Children are part of the real world and therefore should be shown the real world

  • The Dark Inn - In Conversation

    Queens Theatre 1, Thu 5th Oct, 11:30am, 1 Hour Facilitator: Annette Shun Wah 1st Provocateur: Kuro Tanino

    Internationally renowned Japanese theatre auteur Kurio Tanino and Executive Producer of Contemporary Asian Australian Performance (CAAP), Annette Shun Wah discuss The Dark Inn, and how theatre experiences are made mythical through ritual and metaphors.

    • Theatre was not Kuro’s first artistic passion, he paints and sculpts, he is also a working psychiatrist.

    • What is the significance of the theatre company name?

      garden – gardening is similar to making theatre “as the sun rises the shadow moves and the winds create change in every moment.


      and Kuro’s nickname in middle school – it is a combination of ‘penis’ and kuro’s family name

    • Where did the idea and inspiration come from?

      the play is made for my Grandparents, who raised me as my parents worked as psychologists. In middle school I moved to Tokyo and lived alone, my relationship with my parents is “not great”. I never really returned home, until my grandfather passed 4 years ago, and my grandmother fell ill. On my return I noticed a change coming in the town, as in the play: due to the bullet train lines connecting Tokyo to the rest of japan faster.
      now I’m based between my home town and Tokyo, and my base/home is basically a cheap inn like the one in The Dark Inn.

    • Do you see this as a story relative to all of Japan?


    • This play seems to also be a love letter to the past and the small communities that many old people still live in.


    • What do you think of the old people living in these places and standing in the way of progress?

      This is a main theme of the play, and I have great sympathy for the things and people that are displaced or disappear… though slip away is a better discriptipion than disappear. I try to grab that moment of slipping and polish it into a beautiful moment. He is not interested in when things disappear, he is interested in the exact moment when something drops, or slips away; which can be a very subtle moment.

    • On the set (Kuro designed the set also)

      The stage is a spinning stage with 4 different performance stage areas, this is a popular method for these days. It’s like building a jigsaw puzzle, as it spins and has 4 dimensions: you must fit the 4 dimensions essentially into 1. In the beginning of the rehearsal period the stage already had the 4 “faces”. As the rehearsal went on windows and doors were added to the space. Because the inn is a hot spring hotel; actors were almost living in the space, and adding their marks and scars on the set as a real inn would. Some of the set dressings were real antiques from his grandmother and other sources. Some of them 150 years old, these artefacts really lent their energy to the project

    • With some other projecs you begin by story boarding; did you begin this project with this a script?

      it is very rare, but yes

    • How did you choose your actors, what came first the actor or the character?

      I have known the actor who played the puppeteer for 10 years, his character is 74 years old: he is actually a magician, not an actor. He is now a successful actor, and has been in many shows, but as a small part; I have wanted to feature him as a main character for quite a while. There is some of his life in the play as well. I chose him for the part before the character.

    • What influence did he have on the play as it progressed?

      I’ve had a long friendship with him, so he has influenced me and my play in many ways, consciously and unconsciously: perhaps I love him.

    • There are some Buddhist elements to the play, such as the old lady’s chant: how do they fit in?

      Buddhism is right at the centre of the play: in Buddhism there are 12 uncertainties. Of course, not every character has these elements, but I wanted to show these elements of uncertainty in the play and the set. To speak about the puppet, it is modelled after a medical model used by doctors to highlight sensitive parts of the body.

    • It’s quite grotesque.

      it is an actual model used by doctors in the academic field.

    • For some audiences, the slow pace was challenging: how deliberate and important is the sense of time in the theatre you make?

      I am the sort of person who can sit in the garden even if nothing happens, but something always happens. I like to pay attention and observe the small changes, and when I try to express those details, the theatre becomes like a slow garden. It is the enjoyment of the separated time of the theatre.

    • I love the pace of the play and what it lent to the characters: was the script written with that sense of pace or was it born in the rehearsal process?

      during the rehearsals the actors chose that pacing, but I directed towards it also. In the script there are a lot of directions, because I write from within the script.

    • What was the rehearsal process like? How do you take the moment of slipping away and stretch it out and use it?

      It was very difficult to share my sense of time, and in some spots I decided down to the second a moment would take. For example actors were told to count to 20 seconds and then do something. As I already explained we almost lived in the set, therefor the actors became used to the pace of the play and the emptiness I wanted to share with them.

    • Your play gave me a new sense of pathos and eroticism and longing: do you think eroticism and sexuality is disappearing with progress of the modern?

      I wanted to make eroticism like idealised notions in my play, so idealised feelings and notions came from the visitors and spread to others within the inn. It’s not necessarily tangible, but hidden and penetrates the others of the inn.

    • How was your play received in japan and internationally and do you make adjustments in other places?

      The huge difference is translation. Because it has been translated, international audiences may understand things that a Japanese audience cannot. Obviously there is not a lot of conversation in this play, but the responses today are not something I’ve had from Japanese audiences. I think the premier really confused people, not often to characters get naked. The first production was in a studio for about 100 seats, rather than a theatre. Initially it was thought too strange and progressive, but my mother said it was her favourite.

    • There seems to be a lot of symbolism in the play that comes from a Jungian psychiatric perspective, do you feel that theatre explores/explains something that psychiatry cannot?

      I worked as a doctor for about 8 years, though I was never a good one. If you look at a patient’s portfolio there are small details that create a dictionary of the person. My experience with this has helped me to write my stories. But I don’t know much about the medical field.

    • I felt more normal after your show

      good, I think that’s right

    • What are the challenges of making theatre in Japan? For example in Australia audiences are older, and it is difficult to get young people to attend.

      in japan there are three types of theatre: the traditional, more pulp performance like pop shows, and more artistic theatre. The audiences for theatre in japan are quite young, but work hours limit attendance for a lot of people, I think this is a huge issue.

    • What was the role of lighting for The Dark Inn?

      We didn’t want to have light beaming from outside, we wanted light within the stage. The design was organic so the stage had its own light and it’s own smoke, and felt real.

    • What was the idea behind the narrator and a womans voice?

      I wanted to make it like my grandmother enveloped the whole story.

  • Cultural Safety as a Key for Great Art

    Queens Theatre 5, Thu 5th Oct, 11:30am, 1 Hour Facilitator: Sister Zai Zanda 1st Provocateur: Yvette Walker 2nd Provocateur: Sermsah Bin Saad (Suri)

    Stereotypes impoverish culture, diminish the quality of productions and drive away diverse audiences*. Listen in as PoC, CALD and First Nations Creators and Producers lead a solution-oriented discussion about ensuring artistic excellence and innovation as we diversify programming. *From TEDTalk: ‘The Danger Of The Single Story’ by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

    • Respect, and Healing:

      So that we can help other people, we must be able to respect ourselves, and have the ability to consistantly heal and renew ourselves. Without this, we cannot think to help others, and support others, without our problems bleeding through. We should respect each other - or learn to, no matter our age, gender, sexuality, race, or religion. We tend to become accustomed to toxic energy, behaviours, and attitudes, but we must break these, so that we can heal.

    • Safety for Ourselves:

      We must learn to listen to our bodies more intently. Our head is our intellectuality, our heart is our emotions, but we seem to ignore our stomach, and it’s instinctual reflexes. If we listen to our gut instinct more, we could potentially stay safer, physically, emotionally, or mentally.

    • Our Art and Culture:

      Great art can only occur when we have solid relationships with ourselves, and those around us. Artistic institutions should be a safe place, and needs to hold more diversity within itself. They must hold positive energies for people of colour, queer people, and people with disability. We must all open our doors to a greater range of people.

    • Financial Support:

      There needs to be more financial support for the education of Aboriginal and Torrens Strait Islanders within the arts. First Nation people do not learn in the same way as the main stream media. As such, there must be on going financial support to integrate their learning into the main stream.

    • Knowledge and Education:

      Education and investigation of how the structural ‘beast’ of the Australian arts landscape is essential in attaining the knowledge to be able to assess your ‘place’ and where you stand. Know your rights, provocate, ask questions and follow up. Find the evidence to support your ‘feelings’. Remember that for main houses that it is a business with expectations for delivery outcomes; art may not be their primary drive, rather ‘product’ for profit and/or recognition amongst financial/political stakeholders.