2016 was a big year, and like many people I was BUSY. Too busy!! The holidays have been a great time to take stock and prioritise. Balancing work and rest is a continuing challenge for me. I love the work I do, but it can be very intense. And I haven’t had enough time to make work. I have one or two projects that have been on hold for more than a couple of years, and it’s time to make them happen.
In 2017, Lisa Kendal and I have more ideas for SEAM Inc – so stay tuned for more info. (If you don’t know about SEAM, check out our website).
Already I have spent a week with Maryanne Sam directing her new work, Coconut Woman, at a reading at the Malthouse. It was a wonderful, exploratory week on a work about Torres Strait culture, about belonging and family.
I will be devising and directing a new work for the I’m me festival with Canberra Youth Theatre. The Bungendore Community Choir will be continuing this year and we will be preparing for our first public concert in the middle of the year.
And there is plenty more… Stay tuned for more details in the coming months.
It’s been quiet on my website for a year or two…
Since I last wrote, I’ve moved out of Ballarat to Bungendore, in regional NSW. I now live on the edge of the extraordinary Weereewa (Lake George), amongst the kangaroos, wallabies, wombats, echidnas and hundreds of bird species including kookaburras, eagles, wrens, cockatoos and other birds I don’t know the name of!
I have started a not for profit, SEAM Inc, along with my friend and colleague Lisa Kendal. SEAM is an art and environment organisation that aims to create inclusive and adventurous art and events that connect people to issues of sustainability. In 2015 we toured a schools show, Ella’s Choice, to over 1000 Victorian high school children. We had a lot of positive feedback for the show, so we are touring again in 2016. We are looking to take the show interstate in 2017. SEAM has also developed a community textile art project, WARM, that will involve hundreds of knitters contributing to a hopeful image of a sustainable future. There are knitting groups all over the state – including the CWA – getting their needles and spare wool ready for the pattern launch in March. For more information about these projects, have a look at the SEAM website: www.seam.org.au.
I’m getting back into teaching this year. I teach a couple of drama classes for kids with Canberra Youth Theatre, and I’m starting up the Bungendore Children’s Choir for primary age children. See my teaching page for more information or get in touch with me via the contact page.
A workshop for actors and people interested in improvisation and storytelling techniques.
Melbourne Playback Theatre Company have been invited to run a 3 hour workshop on improvisation and storytelling techniques for local actors. All who are interested in extending their skills are welcome.
Sunday, February 16th
Humffray Room, Ballarat Mechanics Institute,
Sturt Street, Ballarat
$10 concession / $15 full price
Contact Tracy Bourne on 03 9013 4565 or on firstname.lastname@example.org for bookings or more information.
Melbourne Playback is a leading interactive theatre company working throughout Victoria in the corporate, community and education sectors. They create performances and workshops which transform, empower and entertain, awakening new perspectives on personal stories.
This workshop has been funded by the Regional Arts Fund, and sponsored by Melbourne Playback Theatre Company as well as the Ballarat Mechanics Institute.
Click on image for more information.
Bookings through Majestix: 03 5333 5888 or www.hermaj.com
And we have a crowdfunding campaign to contribute to actors and director fees. Please click on the image below for more information or to contribute to our campaign.
Well, now the dust has settled … The Melb Cabaret Festival is over. I’ve caught up on sleep, spent some time with my kids, and remembered how much other stuff there is to get on with.
Thanks to all of you who came along – it was great to share the story of this character with you. I can’t believe how different each audience, and each show was over the season. I loved learning more about playing with an audience. I think the season taught me more about allowing the audience to change my work, and draw me into lovely, surprising places as a performer. What a ride a good cabaret night is!
Some of you asked me if that was the finale of Finale?
The answer is that I hope to give the show another life, maybe make a few small changes, find some exciting venues and try doing it as a cabaret in a broader context, like a multi-arts festival.
Big thanks to those of you who gave your time to the show – Sophie Thomas (Musical Director) and Liam Mudge (LX), also Nicholas Waxman and Emily Bray (FOH). Big thanks to Erin McCuskey for the beautiful film that added so much to the show, to Michaela Settle for publicity, to Melanie Woolcock for the arresting (bad joke!) image.
Now onto the next few exciting projects: more about them in the next blog.
How do you capture the feel of a cabaret – without a live audience?
Finale from Erin M McCuskey on Vimeo.
Erin McCuskey (Yum Studio) and I spent a chilly Ballarat afternoon filming this short film in Victoria Park, the Steinfeld Street canal, Sturt Street, and the Old Law Courts. We had an audience of sorts: As my body slurred along Sturt Street, like a drunk person, cars slowed down, and one even stopped to see if I was okay. A few uni students joined in the filming, and school kids at Victoria park thought we were quite unusual!
The story of this film is about the cabaret character – Prisoner Z – before he is captured. Or maybe it’s just a dream he has while he waits for his fate to be decided?
The film captures his sense of loss, of uncertainly, of fear. He does not know where he is heading, or where he has come from. He is out of time with the world. Alone, even in the bustle of a busy city.
So just imagine what he will feel when he has an audience!
Underneath the old Treasury Building, lie the sepulchral gold vaults. As far as I know, no prisoners were ever held there, but the whitewashed bluestone cells could be an abandoned prison from any war-torn country . The picture below gives you a sense of the strange other-worldliness of this venue.
We will be staging the cabaret, Finale, in this cell as part of the Melbourne Cabaret Festival. The room is tiny, only seating a maximum of 40 people. You will be as close as you can get to the performance as Prisoner Z shares his final hours with you. Tickets are only $25/$30. See the Finale page on this website with more information about booking.
On at the Old Treasury Building basement as part of the Melbourne Cabaret Festival from 26-30th June, (Wed-Sat 8pm, Sun 6pm)
The venue is tiny; it only seats a maximum of 40 seats, so I will be in your face. That’s if you get a ticket. If you leave it too late, there might not be any seats left!
For more information check out the Finale page on this site. Or you can book by clicking on the links below:
I am looking forward to an exciting and busy year in 2013. Teaching begins again in a week, including working with the Spring into Singing Seniors in Avoca and Beaufort (my favourite choir). I will be touring to Adelaide and Brisbane as Music Director on Dust, the amazing community music theatre work written and directed by Donna Jackson. One Hell of a Story will be staged in October as part of the Art under the Floorboards project led by Uniting Care Ballarat. Once again, I will be directing the Cabaret Project with the 3rd year students at the Arts Academy, and in my spare time I’ll be tinkering away on a number of other ideas that I’m developing. Oh yes, and then there’s my PhD ….
What a privilege to be able to earn a living doing the things I love.
I am a singer and actor, with an interest in new music theatre works of all styles from experimental opera to new musicals. I have sung with Chamber Made Opera, Astra Chamber Music Society, and the ABC, as well as performing my own works in places as far flung as Melbourne, Ballarat, Castlemaine and Mildura. Although my musical tastes are eclectic, (I’ve even sung for a Christian Death Metal Band) I am especially interested in the ways that music and theatre connect with history, place and community.
I am also a singing teacher, and a researcher. I have almost finished a PhD on music theatre voice with the University of Sydney. My research examines the physiology and acoustics of professional singers and the ways in music theatre vocal techniques are taught by elite level singing teachers. I have published a number of articles throughout my candidature, including a very recent publication for the highly esteemed Journal of the Acoustical Society of America. I hope to become a fully ‘qualified’ Doctor of Singing by the end of 2012.
If you want to know anything more about my work, you can post a comment or contact me directly by email email@example.com.