Posts Tagged ‘prehistoric

29
Nov
13

CROSS-STITCH and the end of an era at Metro Arts

cross-stitch

Metro Arts presents CROSS-STITCH:

Thunderbox Led by Artistic Director, Britt Guy

Friday December 6 and Saturday December 7 2013 from 6pm at Metro Arts

 

Closing the year at Metro Arts is CROSS-STITCH: Thunderbox, Brisbane’s unrivalled immersive two-night art party curated by Britt Guy. Site-specific, interactive and live, Britt has curated a collection of contemporary Australian artists sharing their latest partners in crime – communities and you the audience.

 

Artists include Zane Trow, Robert Millett, Lenine Bourke, Mck Mckeague, Matthew Day, Andrew Tuttle, Edwina Lunn, Gerwyn Davies, Nathan Stoneham and Thomas Quirk. Each work is a conversation between an experimental artist, an Australian community and Brisbane audiences. Expect to witness work fleetingly, engage in conversations, and contemplate your connection with place, community and art making as you traverse through these interstitial performance and installation works.

 

Starting at the bar, audiences pick from the program of works, self-curating a journey through the online gaming world, intimate duets, hidden spaces, mouse size galleries, the sounds of nameless towns, suburbs and cities while traversed across the country through an ode to landscape and corrugated iron.

 

“I believe that contemporary artists are seeking a stronger connection and engagement with audience and the place where they are creating and presenting their work. Simultaneously, I believe audiences today are just as hungry for a richer understanding of contemporary art making,” explains Britt.

 

“With CROSS-STITCH: Thunderbox, I hope to encourage discussion around the relationship between art, engagement and audience interactive practices.”

 

An independent producer, curator and community arts and youth worker with extensive experience across festivals such as Brisbane Festival’s Under the Radar and This Is Not Art’s Critical Animals, as well as sitting on various selection committees in organisations in Darwin, Queensland and Melbourne, Britt has in depth knowledge and is engaged with emerging artist development, experimental art practice, site specific and pop up work, youth run events, community cultural development, events planning, strategy writing and research.

 

Leveraging on Metro Arts’ traditional and non-traditional spaces, and resources to realise the event, CROSS- STITCH is a platform for an emerging artistic director to test and strengthen curatorial skills.

 

eve_metroarts kiss_motherland prehistoric_band

The End of an Era of Independents at Metro Arts

 

PREHISTORIC BRINGS THE CURTAINS DOWN ON THE SEASON OF THE INDEPENDENTS.

 

 

See Marcel Dorney’s vital play before December 7

 

Award-winning playwright and director Marcel Dorney and his fellow co-founders of Melbourne theatre company Elbow Room conclude Metro Arts’ 2013 Season of the Independents with Prehistoric.

 

It is fitting that Marcel Dorney, with three works under his belt in The Independents, should also be the final work to be co-presented under this banner. The Independents has been an important platform for presenting Brisbane’s independent performance makers for 12 years, in that time presenting more than 50 works, commencing with Three Points of Contact by Shaun Charles.

 

Prehistoric was generated entirely within the walls of Metro Arts,” says Dorney, “first through a commission from the recently defunded Backbone Youth Arts, and then as part of the Season of Independents. I got my start as a director through Metro Arts at 19; I’m immensely proud to have come back here to work every five years or so, and watched the organisation change. To be part of the ‘last’ of the Independents is also – I hope – to help push open a new door.”

 

In 2014 Metro Arts will continue to co-present the performance work of practitioners making and presenting performance works under their own creative control. We will respond to what is needed at this time – a flexible platform appropriate for a new context and new challenges.

 

The Independents started as a vehicle for playwrights to test their writing in production and enable them to continue to develop their craft. The list of writers it has supported reads as a who’s who of Queensland playwrights including Linda Hassall, Maxine Mellor, Sven Swenson, Robert Kronk, Simon Brook, Daynan Brazil, Daniel Evans, Elaine Acworth, Sasha Janowicz, Margi Brown Ash and Katherine Lyall Watson.

 

Sue Benner who founded The Independents says, “I was surrounded by a sea of potential theatre talent and a staff and Board that were ferocious in their commitment to the place and willing to taking the risk necessary to support these artists’ careers. And so The Season of Independents was born with borrowed and invented stuff, seats held together with gaffer tape, minimal lighting (to be polite), front-of-house non-existent but for a bevy of volunteers, and Workplace Health and Safety? I won’t even go there… Three Points of Contact had exactly the fresh, controversial, edginess that the year 2002 needed, and exactly the mad energy required to launch a season of new independent work.”

 

Over its 12 years The Independents has continuously evolved and expanded in response to performance makers’ needs. The platform has morphed to service and showcase directors and actors; developing the skills of designers, stage managers and producers. It’s changed in response to theatre form, embracing contemporary performance, music, dance and all the combinations and spaces between. It has broken out of the Sue Benner Theatre at the call of artists making more experimental work, wanting to challenge spatial and audience relationships. Who can forget the transformation of the Basement by Motherboard Productions in 2011 for 지하Underground, a work that continues to develop and will return for its third Brisbane season in 2014.

Exposing artists and work to a national audience and enabling work to transition to other stages has been a focus in later years.

In 2010 The Kursk travelled from the Sue Benner Theatre to 37 venues around Australia and we are now in preparation to showcase the escapists’ work Boy Girl Wall in the US – a little work made for the Sue Benner Theatre with not much more than a piece of chalk an overhead projector.

 

Liz Burcham, CEO of Metro Arts says, “We stand at a point where we don’t need a label or a sign post that says this is independent. Metro Arts stands by daring and exciting theatre and performance, in all its many forms and in 2014 will present under its own name, Metro Arts, a program of work in collaboration with artists that breaks form and style, blends performance and installation, engages cross culturally and in some cases are co-presented with our peers nationally.”

 

24
Nov
13

Prehistoric

 

Prehistoric

Elbow Room & Metro Arts The Independents

Metro Arts Basement

20 November – 7 December 2013

 

Reviewed by Xanthe Coward

 

Prehistoric is a story about Brisbane in the 11th year of the Bjelke-Petersen administration – a very different place from the Brisbane of 2013… OR IS IT?

 

In the late 1970s, the relationship of young Australians to culture, society, politics and technology went through changes that were quick, profound and – most importantly – intimately connected.  This era was the turning point in Brisbane – whether or not we realise it – becoming one of the most interesting cultural incubators, not just in Australia, but in the Anglophone world.

Purchase Prehistoric

 

Prehistoric Kathryn Marquet Image by Leesa Connelly

 

You live at the remote edge of a civilisation in economic free-fall, about to destroy itself in a nuclear war.

(Like anyone, you’d rather not think about that.)

You live in one of the most corrupt cities on the planet, under a state government elected by a minority who mostly live elsewhere.

Again, you’d rather be having fun. Maybe making some noise.

Except the government has significantly expanded the powers of the police to stop you.

Also, all the computers are owned by corporations, and all the phones are tied to the wall.

It’s 1979.

Love you, Brisbane.

 

prehistoric_laneway

 

Whether or not you come away thinking the title is apt, this is a play about Queensland that begs immediate viewing by Queenslanders. It’s a look inside the Bjelke-Peterson police state years and yet it’s all too familiar. What happens when police name badges become optional and officers detain a guy after dropping a tissue in Queen Street Mall? No, this is not ancient history, but recent events recorded in Brisbane.

 

Backbone Youth Arts originally developed Prehistoric, firstly via a commissioned draft and then in two successive creative developments in 2012 with Kathryn Marquet, Anthony Standish, Melanie Zanetti and Steve Toulmin. Writer and Director, Marcel Dorney notes, “We weren’t ‘there’ in 1979… So we formed our own band, and played our own music, because we could think of no better tribute.” Dorney asks the tough questions, and without providing all the answers, offers us multiple veiled (and not so) warnings about history repeating.

 

The band of which Dorney speaks comes together, as bands do, when a group of friends (or strangers) have something to say. Their message is loud, and if you can make out the lyrics, which are mostly shouted in an appropriately antiestablishment manner by Anna Straker, it’s pretty powerful. Joining Straker in her punk band are Kathryn Marquet, Anthony Standish and Steve Toulmin. The original music, by Toulmin and Dorney, might be for some the most challenging aspect of this production. But it shouldn’t be. There’s a whole heap of intelligent raging going on beneath the clanging, clashing sounds of amplified instruments and “Fuck yous”. It’s a play with punk and spunk! There are perhaps two songs too many – the show runs a little longer than it needs to (for me, without delving deeper into one particular story or another, ninety minutes would be ideal) – and by the last couple of songs I’m thinking, “Okay, I get it!” The action is well punctuated by the music though – and the climax counts on it – and it’s not to everyone’s taste, but nor was it when punk became popular in Brisbane…or anywhere else.

 

prehistoric_band

 

It’s a time of rebellion, despair and desperation, of “ministerial corruption, the demolition of our heritage architecture, stories of police brutality…” (Metro Arts Programming Manager Kieran Swann), and it’s an era that we’d rather not be reminded of. Unfortunately, many of the play’s issues are, once again, all too familiar. The actors bring their characters to life after they’ve entered the basement space to inform us that they weren’t there to witness events, but they can certainly share a version of what happened, so if when it happens again we can see it coming, and boy, do we see it!

 

Prehistoric is a strong ensemble piece, giving voice to each character and ultimately, giving many opportunities for the voices to join together in poignant protest. Characters are nicely drawn and intelligently realised.

 

Dorney has written and directed a vital play; I expect to see an adaptation of Prehistoric on our small screens at some stage, as well as on the main stages. It deserves a broader audience, and despite – or because of – its specific setting and political references, looks set to serve us as a contemporary example of the way good theatre has always recorded a version of historical events, and tested popular opinion and the establishment. A less-explicit (but does that make it less powerful?) adaptation for senior students would be an excellent resource for schools.

 

Whether you were there at the time or not, you should live through Prehistoric.

 

07
Jun
13

Metro Arts Friday Nights and MORE!

 

So you’re not at Metro Arts tonight either?

 

We are missing out on Metro Arts Friday Nights!

 
The exciting Friday Nights program has proven to be a feature of Metro Arts’ program in the first half of the year. On the first Friday of each month, Metro Arts opens its door to share the artists’ space. It is an energetic and social environment for artists and audiences to be in direct conversation, a feast of visual and performing arts, panels, experiments and open studios are programmed alongside a lively foyer bar.

 

In the second half of 2013, Metro Arts continues to showcase Brisbane’s most vibrant contemporary artists’ work through a program of performances and exhibitions. Metro Arts is proud to announce key partnerships with leading cultural institutions in Brisbane: Jan Manton Art to present Platform 2013, Queensland Music Festival to present Lady of the House of Love, and Brisbane Festival as a hub for the presentation of seven local and international works.

 

With the support of Drama Queensland and Arts Queensland’s Playing Queensland Fund, Aurelian by Genevieve Trace will be touring regional Queensland between 16 August and 2 September, leading into its premier season at Metro Arts, as part of Brisbane Festival. Through its producing hub, Metro Arts is also co-presenting a season of The Human Company’s The Empty City at the Brisbane Powerhouse as part of their annual children’s festival.

 

Residencies continue to dominate the program. Korean theatre maker and vocalist, Younghee Park, will be in residence to collaborate with Nathan Stoneham on the development of an adaptation of Brecht’s The Good Person to be presented at Next Wave Festival in Melbourne next year. Marcel Daniels and Daniel Herberg of Other Projects, continues their year-long residency exhibiting Changing Standards of Dialogues to close the Exhibition Program for the year.

 

Other key projects include the premier seasons of Motherland by Katherine Lyall-Watson, shortlisted for the 2013 Patrick White Playwrights’ Award, and Marcel Dorney’s new work, Prehistoric.

 

Metro Arts continues to up the stakes. It’s extending beyond its capacity to facilitate opportunities and connections for artists by sharing resources, trafficking information and building exchange networks. Metro Arts is enabling the next step for a community of artists and demonstrating its commitment to growing the entire arts landscape.

 

The work never ends. As Metro Arts launches this exhilarating program, it is already in preparation for the next flood of artists and projects. Metro Arts is now receiving proposals for the 2014 Exhibition Program and the 2014 January – June Performance Makers Program.

 

 

APPLICATION FORMS AVAILABLE ONLINE AT WWW.METROARTS.COM.AU

 

Metro Arts

ABOUT METRO ARTS

 

Metro Arts is a multi-artform incubator and site for experimentation, supporting and developing independent artists through a platform of space, mentoring, producing support, critical engagement and leadership.

 

Wanna work with Metro Arts? A FOH Position is available. Details online.