Posts Tagged ‘backbone


2high Festival Launch


2high Festival Launch 


This Must Be the Place

Friday October 30 2015


Attended by Katelyn Panagiris




2high Festival has a long history of supporting Brisbane’s emerging producer, providing a unique learning experience in festival management, under the mentorship of many industry professionals. This year the team has programmed a vibrant and energetic festival combining in the mix, a program of science.


The Backbone 2high festival is the official unofficial training ground for festival workers, artists, administrators and leaders in the industry. With an alumni group that would make universities blush, and support and acknowledgement for the experience industry wide – 2high has long been the place to cut your teeth in the industry and to exchange knowledge with tomorrow’s leaders.


2high is a circus trick. One standing on the shoulders of another. An ongoing exchange of trust. 2high represents the relationship between the mentor and the mentee who work together to synergise and share their knowledge, networks and abilities throughout the festival making process. This relationship, coupled with tangible experience and ongoing training specific to festival management is what truly sets the 2high experience apart and has made this experience such a success.




Since its inception in 1994 Backbone Youth Arts has built, shaped, created and reinvented the 2high festival to respond to the changing needs of the industry and emerging arts workers. What do we need to learn today to be prepared for the demands of our audiences and artists tomorrow?


The 2016 2high Festival boasts many exciting contemporary works from artists across multiple art forms. The three-day long festival in January, co-presented by Metro Arts, is comprised of six interesting programs, as well as installations, ideas and pop-ups.


The Science program, curated by Elizabeth Long, is dedicated to seeking new knowledge at the crossroad of science and art. Works include Stand Back, I know Science, Water Pollution, Lenguas Ironicas and Sweat of the Earth.


The F-Word program, curated by Sophie-Jane Huchet, is a feminist program with space for discussions, zines to read and performances including Don’t Read The Comments by Digi Youth Arts, The Girlfriend Experience by Taryn Allen, Mess by Young Goose Productions and You Mad, Bro? by Brodie Shelly and Madeleine Little to name a few.


The performance program, curated by Hannah Farrelly, presents two unique platforms: YAAS and Bare Bones. YAAS, or the Youth Arts Australia Showcase, is designed to showcase some of Australia’s best young artists in performances I am by Bust a Move Dance, Joyride by The Light Ensemble, Interrupting the Internet by YAK YAK Youth Arts Kuranda and Parental Guidance Recommended.


This program exemplifies 2high’s commitment to an inclusive space where all voices are heard and valued.


Bare Bones is dedicated to theatre, dance and circus that is primal and physical. Performances include Sonic-Body-Actions, Imago, Eye Resolution, Sisyphus, The Mechanics of Entanglement, Naked, Submerged, An Act of Intimacy and many more.


There will also be music performances by Airling, Aquila Young, Fierce Mild, Quintessential Doll, Pontouf, Jouk Mistrow, Born Joy Dead, Landings, Georgia May, Sean Anthony, Brendan Maclean, Phoebe, Opaeka, Ella Fence and Yóste in a Music program curated by Roy Gordon, Aidan Hogg and Steph Linsdell.


Finally, the I am Vital program, curated by Kaitlyn Tighe, celebrates what makes each and every one of us vital. You can visit the I am Vital Selfie Booth throughout the festival and use #IamVital to express why we are vital (as artists, as people).


2high Festival 2016 is a truly exciting festival with something to satisfy the diverse tastes of every art lover in Brisbane as Metro Arts is filled to the brim with music, dance, circus, theatre, installations, pop-ups and discussions. It promises to be an inclusive, eye-opening festival, celebrating the vital part that the arts play in our community. Don’t miss it! January 15 – 17 2016





An Experiment With The Caucasian Chalk Circle


An Experiment With The Caucasian Chalk Circle

Backbone & Artslink

Adapted and Directed by Marcel Dorney


Featuring Sarah McLeod & Zachary Boulton


Reviewed by Xanthe Coward


I was lucky enough to see An Experiment With The Caucasian Chalk Circle on Friday 26th July 2013 at Caloundra City Private School on the Sunshine Coast. When I turned up early, the teacher and students thought I was the artist they were expecting from Backbone, there to run a workshop. I told them I’d love to come back to work with them another time, but that I was there to review the show they were about to see.


In an unassuming science lab-turned-drama room, two talented performers from Backbone blew my mind, in Marcel Dorney’s brilliant adaption of Berthold Brecht’s The Caucasian Chalk Circle. The experiment? An unqualified success.




Two women both claim the child. But what makes a mother?

A chalk circle is drawn on the ground. But to whom does the ground belong?

The women each take one of the child’s arms. Why should we care who lets go first?

Brecht’s legacy is not what he did. It’s what he makes us do. This experiment with The Caucasian Chalk Circle drills to the engine of the text and rebuilds it. Equipped with a few bolts of cloth and a piece of chalk, one female and one male actor describe the paths of Grusha and Azdak and determine the fate of the lost child.


Studying Brecht is hard. It is. Not because Brecht is hard to understand – well, maybe a little – but because so many teachers are either a) tired of teaching him or b) have never quite felt the level of passion for Brecht that they have done in other areas of the Drama curriculum. Stories of boredom seem to filter down from the older students to the current year levels, they see an old-school “traditional” performance or something so new and “contemporary” it makes little sense in their world, and by the time one has the time to actually focus on Mother Courage or The Caucasian Chalk Circle, students are often very “whatever” about it! But they haven’t seen it like this. And it’s my guess that very few teachers have had the privilege of seeing it like this.


Trust me. This is the best buy-in for Senior Drama I’ve ever seen. Book it now.


This neat little show is like no other performance you or your students have experienced. Adapted and directed by Marcel Dorney, Backbone’s production is, as well as being an outstanding performance by two versatile young actors, a thorough theoretical and emotional exploration, analysis and summation of The Caucasian Chalk Circle, its themes and its characters.


The tale, as we know, is timeless because who is ever the rightful mother of a child? And how do we prove love? That’s right. By letting go. And the climax, as we hoped it would be, is the perfect combination of exquisite pain, satisfaction and relief, even after early (and recurring) Zombie jokes, and a cracking pace, allowing the actors to utilise every physical theatre and contemporary performance trick in the book to share their take on the story.


The success of this production is three-fold. First, the performers (Sarah McLeod & Zachary Boulton) are sensational – warm, funny, intriguing, and completely convincing in their characterisations, despite their transgender swaps, which happen quite often and have the audience in stitches. Second, the setting is wherever you have a quiet space to put on a show, and students have the opportunity to observe the way ordinary things in an ordinary place are used in symbolism and storytelling to transport an audience. Third, the adaption of Brecht’s script is masterful, and the direction so insightful you’ll be just as surprised as your students by some of the revelations in it.


Importantly, there is nothing condescending or ordinary about this production, though much of the original text is used, so even the students who are more familiar with the play will discover new points of view, new ways of looking at each dilemma, and those who skipped the pre-performance reading that you set for homework the previous week will not only follow the play with ease, but be mesmerised by it and recall accurately, all major plot points. An interesting exercise would be to identify where the actors stop and explain something, or use an example from their own lives to illustrate Brecht’s big points. Their timely pauses don’t slow the pace, and rather than taking away from the enjoyment, enrich the experience. In fact, I can’t help but notice that each time Sarah and Zachary stop to speak directly to their audience – and their connection with the students is electric – there are actually heads nodding in agreement!


I didn’t want to take my eyes off the performers for a moment, but I enjoyed glancing over to see ten or more boys, for a full 60 minutes, completely captivated amongst the audience of around twenty-five students from Year 9 – Year 12. They were so absorbed in the story, and their teacher was so impressed with the performance and their acceptance of it, that she quipped about being done with Mother Courage and making the set text for her students the following year The Caucasian Chalk Circle. Indeed, with its study of ethical behaviour, politics, and human character and relationships, it’s certainly my preferred piece, especially when we have such a rich resource at our fingertips in the form of Backbone’s An Experiment With The Caucasian Chalk Circle.



Touring in Term 4: Mackay, Townsville, Charters Towers, Cairns