Posts Tagged ‘Entertainment Industry

14
Apr
12

one day this blog will win something

It’s true. I believe it. It will happen. Our thoughts make our world and all that stuff. 

To show your support for the conversations we have here, for the growth of the arts industry, for the vibrant, talented artists who inform and inspire this blog,

VOTE

for us in the Best Australian Blogs 2012 Competition: People’s Choice Award.

VOTING CLOSES ON THURSDAY 9TH MAY AT 5:00pm

Over 940 blogs were nominated in this section of the competition! We are one of the few arts industry blogs and we are the only one under ‘X’ so it’s easy to find us and vote for us. You can vote for as many blogs as you like but you can only submit your voting form ONCE. I included in our own submission, votes for some of the other fabulous blogs we love (and look, we do like to share the love). You’ll notice that these are not entertainment blogs at all – oh no – these are the downtime blogs; the gorgeous random ramblings of writers who we don’t tend to see in foyers of theatres across Brisbane and the Sunshine Coast!

Remember, voting will close Wednesday 9th May at 5.00 pm.

All winners will be announced on Thursday 10 May at 10.00 am. The winner of the People’s Choice Award will receive $1000 worth of courses (online or face-to-face) at the Sydney Writers’ Centre in Milsons Point. Fantastic!

Winner of the Best Australian Blogs Competition 2011, our amazing friend and professional blogger, Styling You’s Nikki Parkinson, spoke about her win.

I love what Nikki has to say about QUALITY and CREDIBILITY. Nikki is an inspiration.

The official Twitter hashtag for the 2012 competition is #bestblogs2012. You can follow the Sydney Writers’ Centre at @SydneyWriters for the Best Australian Blogs Competition announcements.

25
Sep
10

Erotique: The Fringe of the Fringe

Finally! Home on the beautiful Sunshine Coast, where the air and the water and the streets are clean, for almost a week and I can tell you this…

Through dangers untold and hardships unnumbered, I have fought my way here to the castle beyond the goblin city…

Petersham Town Hall. The fringe of The Sydney Fringe Festival. If you were one of the few who found us out there, on the edge, thanks so much for coming; we hope you enjoyed the show.

We figure we’ve earned our stripes now. We were the out-of-towners this year, the interstate visitors, the Sunshine Coast emerging artists; we didn’t know anybody, our support network was small and we had very little local knowledge. We thought, “How excitement! This is what a fringe festival is all about!” We expected to meet a heap of other artists, see their shows, hang out in a chai-type-tent somewhere and talk theatre into the wee small hours.

Well, we met a heap of other artists on the first night of our stay. We met Kris Stewart, Artistic Director of the festival and Meryl Rogers, General Manager of the festival and we also met some of the top peeps in the industry at Mr Anthony Costanzo’s one-night-only show at Notes: Words and music from Life’s a Circus and More. Featuring Lucy Durack, Patrice Tipoki, Chris Parker, Rob Mills, Amelia Cormack, Maria Mercedes and Cameron McDonald, this first show – for better or for worse – served to reinforce my high expectations of what was to come and remained one of the festival highlights for me.

The other was Bare, a newish musical take on the classic tale of star-crossed lovers; in this case, two boys who fall in love at a Catholic High School. Friends there assumed it had been written and developed especially for the festival but I knew this was not so. In fact, I remembered reading that Bare was hailed as “better musically and dramatically than Rent” by Los Angeles Daily News in 2001. That’s a big call. And this production, seen by just 4 full houses at the Newtown Theatre, proved it.

Performed by a cast of senior students and new graduates, Bare was the show that blew me away. The collective talent was phenomenal and the entire production was pared down in order to simply share the heart wrenching story. There was never any question about what was happening where. These kids worked much harder than some of the professional ensembles I’ve seen. This includes the talented young MD and his band. Their energy, their focus and their intent, in most cases, meant passionate and perfectly authentic performances. As performer and performance coach, I was completely inspired and maybe even a little bit envious that these kids have had the opportunity to do a show that, clearly, I am too old to ever be cast in! I know that Ben felt the same way, hearing some of the songs sung in turns, so tenderly and powerfully by Seann Moore and Zac Smith. N.B. Not strictly true (I’ve still got time!) but look, Jenni Little, who played the unfortunate young Ivy, definitely had the show stopper, as her character struggled to come to terms with her roller coaster ride. The other stand out had to be Elyse Atkins, who played the hilariously self-deprecating sister of Jason, Nadia (or, as she self-proclaims throughout one song; “Plain Jane Fat Arse”). Each character’s journey was massive and I cannot stress enough, how professionally these kids delivered a really challenging – on so many levels – show. I hope to see them achieve their goals for this production next year and if possible, I would love to see it again.

Sam and I saw Wicked while we were in town (it closes in Sydney on Sunday). Of course, the production values were spectacular and I loved it because I love the show but I couldn’t help but wonder (and I often wonder about this so bear with me)…why did I feel that there was something missing? If anybody can enlighten me, please feel free to add your comments. I know not everybody loves Wicked but I actually, really LOVE Wicked! Having said that, the book is a little lacking in substance, assuming that we all know what happens next and that we are familiar with the characters. But when we are given a different take on those characters, I would like to see more of the layers, more of the complexities and, especially in Act 1, much more of who Elphie is; I mean, who she is outside of the stereotypical Green Kid who doesn’t fit in. In a spectacular, touring, professional production, just how does one DO that? Is there even room in the rehearsal schedule to work on individual characters to the extent that we will feel empathy for Elphie due to her own actions, reactions and emotions, rather than the simple sympathy that is derived from how she is treated by others? Is it just me? Am I a heartless, shallow soul? Alright, don’t answer that. I probably haven’t explained very well but I’m sure the same point will come up again.

Despite my musings, I came away from The Capitol Theatre (sans green glasses, glitter globe, shirt and cap) impressed with the performances. In fact, I think I am Lucy Durack‘s newest biggest fan. Her interpretation of Glinda was original, not to mention gorgeous and I’m going to say it (I don’t say it often), absolutely flawless. She and Patrice Tipoki, who (we are proud to remind everybody) hails from the Sunshine Coast, were wonderful together. I’m now even more excited about taking Poppy, four, to a matinee in Brisbane in January.

Meanwhile, back at our humble little venue in Crystal Street, Petersham, we had the usual technical hitches before our first show on Wednesday and, as usual, everything was alright on the night! We celebrated at Max Brenner‘s on King St, Newtown (I will write that once but in fact, the same could be said of at least three more “celebrations”! Copious amounts of chocolate was consumed by the cast. What a deliciously decadent discovery)!

Word of mouth, even without a sizable support network, worked and we enjoyed greater numbers at each subsequent performance. On a couple of occasions, we also enjoyed the pizzas from the boys next door, who thought it was about time somebody rocked up to give the topless pub waitresses up the road a bit of competition! That made Sam so proud.

Closing night saw us with an audience that was well over capacity and nothing but praise for the production. And lots of friends and randoms asking, “So how do you prepare to get naked?!” I’m going to put that to the cast and get back to you because I know just my version can get a bit tedious sometimes.

We got to 3 shows at Carriageworks and 1 other at The Italian Forum. At Carriageworks (surely the most under-utilised venue of the festival), A Tiny Chorus, Clammy Glamour and a secret show, upstairs between those two shows: The Nick Cave Murder Ballads. A Tiny Chorus moved me to tears and then later, in retrospect, I decided I would love to work with those girls to get something different from them! Not better, different. It was a superb show and it would be fascinating to see what else can be done with it, especially after winning some of the awards at the other festivals.

Clammy Glamour was tricky and untidy. Others loved it and their closing night sold out. Murder Ballads was mostly disturbing and a little bit amusing. Others would certainly reverse that statement to reflect their enjoyment of the shocking puppetry, like Coraline meets The Corpse Bride meets Team America (FUCK YEAH)!

Pistol Whipped, a dance piece, which was on late one night at the Italian Forum, was not at all what it promised to be. It was a great lesson in marketing.

That is what a fringe festival is all about!

We are still having fantastic conversations about everything we saw- conversations that started over coffee and dessert in various groovy cafes late at night and continued after rising late each morning, over the best breakfasts to be found in Newtown, at El Bahsa/El Basha on King St. The boys there made us feel completely at home and never once looked as if they were even close to throwing us out. No, not once! Clearly we were spending far too much on coffee and chai! I think it’s important to note too, that we helped support several other local establishments, including the cash-only (curses!) Pastizzi Cafe and the tiny Blackstar bakery, which had a selection of pastries and gorgeous sweet treats, including incredible edible-even-after-you’re-quite-full danishes and the most delicate pistachio macaroons. The only place that comes close to Blackstar on the Sunshine Coast is my latest discovery, thanks to the French friends of French friends, Maison de Provence in Cooroy. Now I find out that our composer, Ms Leah Barclay, has known about it all along!!!

We visited STC and pretended we were taking a break from rehearsals to grab a coffee over the water, as you do, feeling totes inspired by the famous names, the stunning photography and the current season’s imagery lining that corridor. As I tweeted, how good would it be to go to work here every day?! I know. There is no tone in tweets. Only some of you who really know me, really got that level of emotion. I know.

For a bit of R & R, we spent a full day in lovely Manly, which we thought felt a bit like Noosa in the old days – no, really – and enjoyed Spanish tapas or steaks, depending on the mood. I was extremely tempted, during both ferry crossings, to belt out a bit of THIS

…but thought better of it. It will make much more sense on the way to New York, obviously.

Um. So Ben was feeling left out of the nudity clause, obviously…

We managed to balance the week quite nicely, between our show, others’ shows and the fun and games. This was possible because we have, as I’ve mentioned before, such a fantastic team. It’s been sad to come home and fully realise that there will never again be a performance of Erotique. Not like this, not with these performers. If you missed it, you really missed it! We didn’t even film it. Not sure why. We’ll definitely regret that, having collected such great footage previously, to give La Ronde some immortality. And that’s the next focus: the DVD, which will give La Ronde a life beyond the sold-out Sunshine Coast seasons. Well, that and the creation of 2 more shows this year as well as 2 shows and a fundraising mega-event next year. A holiday in Greece is also on the list. Or at least one in Sydney.

10
Sep
10

Friends Bare all for Coast Theatre

Nathanael Cooper

Sunshine Coast Daily, 10th September 2010

A PURVEYOR of fine food, a peddler of fine events and a theatre company notorious for pushing the envelope as far as it can go.

Photo: Warren Lynam, SCD

It is hardly the first group of people you would think of putting together, but when Tony Kelly from il Secondo, Min Swan from Whitehouse Celebrations and Sam and Xanthe Coward from XS Entertainment came together it was theatre magic.

After a hit season of La Ronde in Noosa and Maroochydore earlier this year, XS Entertainment took the La Ronde concept to a new level and prepared it for the Sydney Fringe Festival.

At the same time, Tony Kelly was having an epiphany of his own.

“I was trying to think of a really good way that we could make use of these function rooms (at the M1 in Maroochydore),” he said.

“I made a call to Min and the first thing that came to mind was Sam and the work he had done with La Ronde.”

The three new amigos got together and discussed the concept of performing La Ronde’s sister show, Erotique, in two special preview performances for the Coast before travelling to Sydney.

“La Ronde was a great success in Noosa and Mooloolaba with sellout seasons and preceding our tour to Sydney next week, the obvious thing when this opportunity came up was to not only have a dress rehearsal, but also offer some performances,” Sam said.

“The concept of having live theatre in Maroochydore next to a high-class venue with a high-class event team was great, and something we really wanted to be involved in.”

Erotique’s risqué nature, exploring sex in a unique way through the use of minimal sets and very minimal clothing, aims to take culture on the Coast to a new level.

“After the preview (on Tuesday night) we were able to finish the show at 9.30 and walk down to il Secondo bar, have a coffee, have a wine and talk to people for a couple of hours,” Sam said.

“It’s such a rare thing to be able to do on the Coast. Most nights after dark it basically comes to a standstill.”

If Erotique is as successful as the new partnership hopes, Coast theatre lovers can look forward to more of the same.

“I would like to stretch it as far as we can,” Tony said.

“All three of us are praying that Maroochydore and the Sunshine Coast grab it with both hands and cherish the fact that we are putting our neck on the line to do it here.

“And if they can embrace it we will give it to them as much as they like.

“If it’s a two-shows-a-week thing then all three of us will love that to death.”

Some tickets are available for tomorrow night’s performance and are available by visiting www.whitehousecelebrations.com.au/erotique or by calling 54441736.

06
May
10

Creativity…

…is allowing yourself to make mistakes. Art is knowing which ones to keep.

Scott Adams

So. We have all been in recovery mode.

Post-Show Syndrome affects us all in different ways. For example, I don’t write. I should write, I have lots to write about but I don’t actually feel like sitting down and writing. It’s a bummer for the blog readers.

Other sufferers have more obvious signs of disenchantment and depression. Like, the friend who continues to wear her costume, in its entirety, in the house, on any given day or night of the week. I haven’t seen her wear it out yet but I feel sure that day is coming. And the friend who texts or messages us on Facebook or calls to ask, “What’s next? What can I do next?” and I can hear her inhale desperately, on the sixth cigarette of the day. That is my non-smoking friend. And then there’s the friend who is all nonchalant and calls to ask how are we doin’? Like, he’s okay but how are we doin’? Like him, we must be suffering, missing it, dying for the next thing to happen…and it’s true. so it’s happening already.

We are re-writing La Ronde. Amongst other things, that is.

First, there is The Cindy McKenzie Breast Cancer Foundation Gala Ball (A Night in Monte Carlo) on Saturday night. In co-operation with White House Celebrations, we are providing a little bit of additional entertainment and a whole lot of ass sass!!! I have to admit, I’m looking forward to being handed a little Lycra Miss Monte Carlo suit and not having to stress, like everybody else on the Sunshine Coast this week, about what to wear to the biggest ticket event in town!

An entirely different audience on Sunday will see me bare a little more for my art. Well, it’s not my art at all but the incredible artwork of Kat Farrar, who is going to transform me for the Fantasy section of the Australian Bodyart Carnivale in Eumundi. Kat is a previous winner of the competition and the current favourite contender. I can’t wait to see what she does with me! My body is a canvas!

From the Carnivale, I will high tail it straight to Birch, Carroll and Coyle Cinemas at Maroochydore, where Tracy Darin’s inagural Young Filmmakers Showcase, a collection of short films from the Young Filmmakers of the Sunshine Coast, will be well underway. Our performing artists will provide pre and post show entertainment for this fantastic free community event. That’s right. FREE. RSVP via the website. This event is destined to become one of the main events for Queensland filmmakers, already inspiring generous support from the screen industry and from local business.

We are also looking at a space. And that’s all I can say about that at the moment.

We are also in post for the doco, Inside La Ronde. That is, next week, we are viewing the masses of footage and narrowing down the six vastly different outlines and approaches. Originally, it was to be a “Sam’s Story” approach. And now we’re not so sure. La Ronde stopped being just one man’s vision as soon as he started talking about it! So pizza, cab sav and a late night it is!

What else? We are seeing Mr Percival on Friday night, Stockholm on Saturday night and our daughter, Poppy, on Sunday, when we will enjoy high tea for Mother’s Day and finish planning her fairy birthday party (poppy’s, not her mama’s), which we are hosting in a couple of weeks, in The Enchanted Woods. Really. Such is the natural beauty and enchantment of our local area. I think I am more excited about it than she is! Quite calmly and pragmatically, Poppy has said, “Mama, we’ll just put on a show for my birthday, ok? It will just be a fairy show for all my friends. And cake. A Barbie Fairy Cake.” (We made a practice cake today, which was delicious and I made Tom and Sam have some with their cups of girly-man tea after their tough-guy poker game tonight. I am pleased to report that the lavender hue and the high butter content was met with approval). So, yes. Poppy gets it. At nearly four, she knows how it works. We plan the event. We promote it. We rehearse aspects of it. We serve food and beverages, we put on a bit of a show and

that’s entertainment!

Seeing Judy suddenly snap into it and perform the guts out of this makes me so sad. And makes me think of all the mundane things that we try to not let get in the way of what it is we love doing (whether or not we’re paid each time to do it).

Of course there are also the day jobs that do pay and the groceries (that cost more and more) and the family and the friends-who-are-not-in-the-theatre and the housework to fit in as well. N.B. Not all of those are mundane! Oh no! There are times when I actually enjoy cleaning!

So while nothing has been going up here, a whole lot –  of real life – continues to go on HERE!

27
Mar
10

World Theatre Day

Happy World Theatre Day!

How are you celebrating?

What does theatre mean to you?

Of course, you might know that it is also Earth Hour tonight! We are deferring our candlelit conversation until after the show, which is – very artfully – dimly lit anyway, so we are doing our bit to conserve energy even as we perform.

We previewed La Ronde on Wednesday and opened on Thursday. Today, on World Theatre Day, the Sunshine Coast Daily has given us not one, not two but three stories! (That’s right! That is unheard of! And on Mooloolaba Triathlon Weekend!) It also seems that word of mouth continues to spread like wildfire. Thanks to the awesome power of social media marketing, this thing went viral a few weeks ago. Bookings have been strong and if you don’t want to miss out, you’ll make sure you see La Ronde in Noosa before April 3rd or in Mooloolaba on the 9th, 10th, 16th or 17th of April.

Interestingly, there is a lot of talk amongst the local artists at the moment about reciprocal networking and about supporting each other in this crazy industry. If networking is NOT reciprocal, how is it WORKING? Ah ha! I hear you! I know! It’s really hard to get to everything. There is so much good stuff happening and we are all busy doing our own thing. It’s incredibly frustrating. I hate missing anything. I am guilt-ridden. However, I am frequently impressed by the Facebook messages, status updates, comments, links, blogs and tweets, referring to ticket sales and the friends who are able to move heaven and Earth to make it to a show before closing night in order to show their support for their peers (and enjoy a great show)! So much for the poor, sleepy little country cousin Brisvegas and it’s even poorer, sleepier, half-cousin-twice-removed Sunshine Coast. It seems everybody I know is getting busy making theatre! KEEP MAKING IT, KEEP TALKING ABOUT IT, KEEP SUPPORTING IT AND PROMOTING IT. We will all get to as much as we possibly can. Promise.

Dame Judi Dench says, in her message for World Theatre Day 2010, that “theatre comes about through team work.” And so does the continuation of the growth and support of the industry, at any level. Well, we knew that. It’s just hard (because we may be time poor, energy poor and quite simply POOR) to commit to booking tix and just doing it. I know that “Break a leg” posted on your Facebook wall sometimes means disappointment because you realise THAT friend/fan/influential industry type is unable to attend your show…but it IS a show of support and it’s the least we can do in lieu of attendance sometimes.

The response from La Ronde attendees has, thus far, been overwhelmingly positive (*collective sigh of relief is heard across South-East Queensland*) Already, audiences have told us that they didn’t really know what to expect so in a way there were no surprises. And yet they were surprised and challenged to not only feel comfortable joining us for the journey, no matter what we threw at them but to consider the context and the truth in which each story was told. Actually, most audience members, at least for the film makers, have been unsure about how they really feel at the end of the show. It seems that some can’t just sum it up. Although we can safely assume that not everybody is ready for their close up upon leaving the theatre, we have seen many audience members stumble out of the theatre, completely lost for words and not even sure whether or not they are ready for a drink! Now, there’s no interval, remember; how can they NOT be ready for a drink?! The most common comment, along with those below, has been, “Oh. Um. I have to think about it. I have to see it again…”

Audience comments for camera and from the conversations with the cast have included:

That was fantastic!

I loved it but I hated that scene (everybody describes a different scene)…

I shuddered and I loved it.

The girls gave me shivers. So beautiful. So sad. Something made me remember…

This is the best show I’ve seen on this stage.

This is the best show I’ve seen on the Sunshine Coast.

That is how they do theatre in Europe.

Very European.

Delightful.

Original.

Intriguing.

Frightening, challenging, stunning theatre. I’ll be back to see it again.

I’ve booked again for next week. I want my friend to see this show.

Beautiful.

Sexy.

Brave.

So. I’m thrilled to be a part of this very clever production and I can’t think of anything I would rather be doing on World Theatre Day than performing and then live-tweeting the backstage antics and dressing room fun (last night it was stealing Easter eggs from under the stage manager’s nose).

What does theatre mean to me then? All of this and more! It may not be as eloquent as I intend it to be but you’re reading it in every post. That we can stage something that makes people uncertain about how they feel, especially about very specific controversial subjects, that we can explore the vastly different approaches to the way in which we present these taboo topics, that we can challenge our audiences to question and consider their own social mores and private habits and they enjoy it and that the process by which we have reached this point continues, allowing us to keep growing and nurturing each other as artists and showing other artists that anything is possible, is something to be realised every day. I’m proud to celebrate today (and tonight, in candlelight at a dear friend’s place, after the worker lights have come up, the white pancake has come off and the audience has left after the empties have been collected by our dedicated and beautifully presented Front of House staff) but I do believe we get more joy from a thing that is celebrated and shared every day. Luckily for me, just like these entertainment industry power couples who are leading the way, I get to share it all long after we leave the theatre…

Of course, there are different challenges associated with that but we’ll save it for another post, shall we?

Theatre means there are some challenges, some discoveries and some joy every day. How lucky are we?!

Cate Blanchett and Andrew Upton

Lisa and David Campbell

Sam and Xanthe Coward