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Australian & New Zealand Literary and Performing Arts
Welcome to the September 2006 edition of the Artmedia physical theatre newsletter, your e-publication with an Australasian focus and a global perspective, now in its fifth year and reaching over 2,100 subscribers, with a further 5,300 on related Yahoo lists.
We're coming out a little early this month, because our sponsor's season of Honour Bound is opening next week, and it also gives us a chance to mention the auditions for Slava's Snowshow which are on in New York today and on Monday. More below. And there will be no newsletter next month, as I will be immersed in shooting my clown film Moontan, but we'll be back brighter than ever in November.
In the Sponsorship this month, we welcome the Malthouse Theatre who present Honour Bound, an exciting new work which electrified audiences when it premiered at the Sydney Opera House in July. Honour Bound brings together two of Australia's leading theatre visionaries, director Nigel Jamieson and Australian Dance Theatre choreographer Garry Stewart. "Through a fusion of dance, film, theatre and aerial performance Honour Bound leads us on a deeply human experience of incarceration at Guantanamo Bay through the eyes of David Hicks' parents, Bev and Terry. It integrates Terry's personal testimony as father with letters, internal Pentagon papers and accounts of former detainees." For those outside Australia, David Hicks is the sole Australian detainee at Guantanamo Bay, and his father Terry has been campaigning tirelessly to get the Australian Government to stand up for the rights of it's citizen, and demand that he be returned to Australia.
In the Playspace section, the Summer Clown Retreat in New Zealand is now
almost full, four months prior to the workshop, with only one place
remaining on the workshop, so I can tell I'm going to do more of them.
Meanwhile there are still a few spare places on the clown intensive in
Sydney next week. For those interested in the workshop program for 2007, I
promise more details in the November issue.
In the Angels Can Fly section, we continue a series of excerpts from the book with another of the anecdotes, this time from Australian clown Sue Broadway, who explores the nature of the female clown experience and concludes: "The older I get, the looser my shows become and the freer I feel to go anywhere my impulses take me. I perform different clown pieces in different costumes, but gradually they are drawing closer together and I begin to realise that they are all the same clown, the same foolish person just pretending. A clown can be anyone or anything she wants to be."
We have a bit of a festival theme in the networking this month, with information on the Tempo New Zealand Festival of Dance, which launches at the end of this month in Auckland, featuring over 40 performances across 10 venues. In Australia, the Applause street theatre & buskers festival will be held in Albury NSW in October, and the Melbourne Fringe launched its program yesterday, and festival starts in a couple of weeks.
In America the San Francisco Fringe started yesterday, and we have information on the New York City Physical Theatre Network which has also just been launched, and is "a hub of information on artists and companies creating physical theatre in the NYC area". Also in New York, Slava's Snowshow are holding auditions today for 'a few good clowns' this Monday, September 11th, from Noon until 4pm, at the Union Square Theatre. Slava's Snowshow has played in over 80 cities worldwide and has now been resident in New York for over 2 years.
In England we have a couple of conferences, “Mapping The Streets” to be held later this month in Newcastle, aims to 'celebrate international street arts and to explore its origins, as well as the way it has developed into a global expression of culture, which is both popular and accessible'. And the Circus Futures Conference, to be held next month in Bristol, is a two-day event for promoters from venues and festivals, practitioners, local authority art officers, agents and circus proprietors. This event consists of a conference as well as a series of showcases.
And finally in Barcelona, Spain, we have a Street Arts Seminar,
which will take place as a part of the Mercè Street Festival. The theme will
be Street Parades and this will be approached from the perspective of both
the artists and technicians taking part in these parades, or more generally
in any performance projects in public spaces.
Artmedia Network News
On the Artmedia site you can find links to performers, companies, resources and festivals all over the world, and you can also subscribe to this newsletter. The newsletter archive includes all issues for 2002, 2003, 2004 and 2005. Check it out at:http://www.artmedia.com.au/news.htm
Theatre LOTE provide
innovative Bilingual Performances for schools and festivals.
For one page on the Artmedia site, it is just Aus$20 a month, or Aus$30 for as many as you want, so contact us if you want to promote your work on a site which features search engine referrals direct to your page, and over1,600 links from like-minded sites. We have also recently started a new publishing service, where we do your website at your address. On this deal it is just Aus$40 a month to maintain and promote the site, no matter how many pages you have, and only Aus$20 a page set up cost.
Sponsor:Malthouse Theatre and Sydney Opera House present Honour Bound - Melbourne, Australia
Behind the gates of Guantanamo. Into the world of David Hicks.
"Multimedia and cutting-edge techniques, and a crucial,
up-to-date minute subject: there ought to be more theatre like Honour
Bound." The Sun Herald, Sydney
SEASON: September 13 - October 1 CUT-PRICE PREVIEWS NEXT WEEK!!! TICKETS: $31-$45, Student Rush tickets $15
VENUE: The CUB Malthouse,
BOOKINGS: www.malthousetheatre.com.au or 9685 5111
Playspace: Clown Intensive in Sydney, Australia, and Summer Clown Retreat in Sandy Bay, New Zealand
Only one place still remains on the Summer Clown Retreat in New Zealand, and I'm very happy that this course has proved so popular, and will likely repeat the Clown Retreat each January. Meanwhile there are a few spare places on next week's clown intensive in Sydney.
One Week Clown Intensive in Sydney with Alan
Clay, September 11 to 15. (5 day) Aus$600
Summer Clown Retreat with Alan Clay ,
Wednesday January 10 to Sunday 14, (5 day) Sandy Bay, Coromandel Peninsular,
New Zealand. Including 6 nights accommodation, Earlybird NZ$620 (by 1st
Nov), NZ$720 (full) A NZ$100 deposit is payable to hold a place.
Feature: Red Spoon Clown Intensive 2006, Brisbane, Australia
An opportunity to discover the incredible and tumultuous world of the clown! Red Spoon is offering a two week clown training intensive from 15 – 26, January 2007 at the Metro Arts, Brisbane. The course is aimed at the Theatre Clown with a focus on developing the character and fantastic reality of the clown as opposed to learning tricks, magic etc. You will be challenged to find the truth that is at the cornerstone of your clown, (re)discover your imagination and refine your understanding of stage presence.
The tutors are highly experienced performers and trainers – national and international. Andrew Cory is the founder of Red Spoon and will lead the core clown training whilst Scott Witt will train participants each day in movement and Slapstick (including props). Slapstick training will promote the virtues of precision, complicity and focus. Andrew has trained in clown, mask, mime and regular acting in Australia, Europe and USA and is currently a movement tutor for the Theatre Studies dept at Griffith University. Scott is an associate director at the Queensland Theatre Company and is President of the Society of Australian Fight Directors Inc.
The course runs from 10 am to 4 pm, Monday to Friday. The clown will be unleashed through movement exercises, improvisation, observation and above all a sense of joy and play. You will learn critical devising skills. We will commence a thorough investigation into clown spirit, clown character and clown relationships - chaos, panic and spontaneity will be our constant friends. Yet fear not for we shall fight adversity with absurdity!!!!
Feature: Angels Can Fly, a Modern Clown User Guide, by Alan Clay
Can Fly is now in over 120 Public Libraries in America, Australia and
New Zealand, and we are steadily supplying requests for the free e-Book
version. Yes this is still available (but includes none of the over 70
photographs which the paperback contains) at:
www.alanclay.com Or find the paperback
on Amazon by following this link:
http://tinyurl.com/9nrwj I encourage you to buy the paperback, as this
gives me some return for my three years of work in writing the book.
6. Anecdote: Female Clown, Sue Broadway, Australia
How did she get lost? Well, she was a bit lonely. There were few other women clowns in evidence and none I could find from the past to look to for inspiration. I didn't think to go looking in other art forms (Lucille Ball, Goldie Hawn, Guilietta Massina) and everywhere I came across conventional wisdoms that told me women and clowning were a problem zone. For a start, they said, the clown is androgynous and it is impossible for a woman to be androgynous. She carries her sex around with her as a constant. Other factors intruded; the male clown can take a fall or a hit and jump up laughing, but if a woman does the same it carries an inescapable implication of violence. Especially if the clown that knocks her down is a man.
Also I began to think – perhaps too much. I wanted my clowning to say something, to communicate ideas about the female condition, to provide a role model and a character that other women could laugh with. The naïve girl who was so happy in her skin and just delighted to be out there having a go at it seemed too simple and childish to tackle the big questions. So Frou-frou packed up her tutu and put her older, tougher sisters into the firing line. Maureen was fat and had a stammer, she wore a daggy dress and a headscarf and lived in a gag where she was constantly put down by two male clowns. But she was tough and acrobatic and always bounced back. She did dangerous things on a ladder and although she was a victim she never took it lying down. Then there was the nameless clown, she never spoke and people just called her Sue. She sabotaged the juggling acts of Dave Spathaky with her over enthusiasm, her clumsiness with props, her scene-stealing and her inability to concentrate. In the same company (Ra-Ra Zoo) she appeared as a trapeze artist striving for artistic perfection and failing.
Later there was Athena the white face, based on the goddess of Wisdom and War, her sequined dress was her armour and her mop was a spear. She appeared in a show called "Angels and Amazons" with Angela de Castro and Debbie Woolley. Together we explored the traditional Clown trio, White face, Bouffon, Auguste - in female form. This show was the starting point for a new search. Like many white faces, I came to resent the high status role, feeling (shame on me!) that I was doing all the set-up work and the others were getting all the laughs. So I set out on a quite deliberate search to find a naïve clown of my own. I'd forgotten that Frou-frou had ever existed.
That was twelve years ago. I started with Phillipe Gaulier. His course "Le Jeu" was an excellent beginning, the rediscovery of a readiness to play and of 'complicite' was just what I needed. Then I did his Clown class. In the circus when they want to teach the horses to lift their knees high in the air, they tie heavy weights to their feet for days at a time, so when they take them off, the horses' knees rebound, creating that prancing walk. Training in Clown with P.G. was, for me, just like this. The experience was painful, dragging, distressing and exhausting, but afterwards…! The next time I went in front of an audience I was fearless. I had suffered P.G. and survived! I couldn’t make him laugh, but I could get my revenge by succeeding with an audience.
At a Gaulier Workshop in Sydney 1999 I met Jeff Turpin and later worked with him on and of for four years. This work provided a space for testing the discoveries made in workshops in the public arena. Jeff is a natural anarchist and his constant playfullness forced me to let go of my perfectionism and relax much more with the audience. There have been many other teachers and directors - Angela de Castro, Virginia Imaz, Shannan Calcutt, Tom Gruder, Therese Collie - and the experience has been quite different. These people all work in a much softer way - they create open spaces where it's possible to relax and allow things to happen. Some people learn and develop really well by rising to challenges, but for some of us encouragement and a slower, less competitive process seems to work better. This is partially a gender issue, generally speaking, men seem to respond better to competitive training than women, while women prefer a softer approach, but there are always exceptions.
In 2002 Alicia Battestini, Angela de Castro and I convened a week of creative development in Wollongong. Eight women clowns got together and explored possibilities. It was only a week, but it was a very intense week and I came away from it with a script for a piece of clown theatre, a potential new clown partner (Fleur Evans) and loads of ideas for teaching and creating new work. One issue we came up against a lot was clown travesty, women choosing to play male clowns and vice versa. For many women the adoption of male dress makes a good starting point for clowning – it seems to free them from the constraints of the feminine and allow them to step outside themselves. I have never been attracted to the idea of parodying the masculine as a source of comedy. For me, the challenge has always been to create a female archetype that has the same force, simplicity and truthfulness as the male.
The biggest leap for me came at the Festival Internacional de Pallasses d'Andorra in 2001. This gathering of women clowns from all over the world showed me that there were hundreds of women exploring this work and the diversity of their styles and obsessions was awe-inspiring. I performed a small piece with Angela de Castro, "The Stagehands", for which I put together a new costume and put on a nose (skin pink not red) for the first time in twenty years. Frou-Frou was back - renamed Soobee, but essentially the same open-hearted, brave and enthusiastic girl of my earliest shows. I finished the festival dancing eccentrically in the street surrounded by over eighty women clowns and went home filled with excitement and optimism. Two years later I returned to the festival in Andorra with a fifty minute solo work, "The Soobee Show", which is a compilation of all my work of the previous twenty-five years.
So here I am in 2005, turning fifty, with, I hope, years of clowning ahead of me. I've let go of so much, I used to cling to the idea that I had to do something clever or dangerous or mysterious to keep the audience interested. Now I know I don't need those things (well, not all the time). The older I get the looser my shows become and the freer I feel to go anywhere my impulses take me. I perform different clown pieces in different costumes, but gradually they are drawing closer together and I begin to realise that they are all the same clown, the same foolish person just pretending. A clown can be anyone or anything she wants to be."
A Nose of Her Own, (pictured above) Wollongong, 2002. From Left, standing - Azaria Universe, Fleur Evans, Eleanor Davies, Angela De Castro, Alicia Battestini, Kate Kantor, Susie Dee. Seated - Sue Broadway.
Find more information on Sue Broadway's work at www.artmedia.com.au/broadway.htm
Angels can Fly includes a mix of fiction which follows the
adventures of ten clown characters, some personal clown anecdotes from
clowns from around the world, a total of 50 practical clown exercises, and
some theory on the nature of modern clown. The book is available on order
through bookshops and online stores in New Zealand, Australia, America and
England. Order your copy today. Find it on Amazon by following this link:
"Tempo New Zealand Festival of Dance launches on 29th September in Auckland. Featuring over 40 performances across 10 venues. The concept behind Tempo° is an annual dance festival which is very broad ranging and inclusive. We are an umbrella style festival (not a producing festival) so we don't pay travel or a performance fee, but if you are in Auckland at the time of the festival each October we can offer you a venue, major support services and the lions share of box office. Festival categories include: Popular Culture, Youth, Fringe, World Dance - includes all ethnic forms - and Contemporary Dance, defined as any original or new dancework/choreography created from any form, including ballet, jazz, kapa haka etc or any of the various contemporary techniques. There will also be a Behind the Scenes program of workshops and documentaries about dance process. One of the items on the programme is ReelDance - Sitting between the performing arts and film culture, ReelDance caters to both dance and film audiences with a focus on screen musicals, music videos and contemporary dance on screen. ReelDance 06 presents a dance-inspired journey around the globe! Highlights include KidReels, Classic Dance Music Videos and ReelDance Award Finalists which features Shona McCullagh's award winning film 'Break'. Tempo° is into its third festival this October. We are offering shows for kids (as we begin the festival in the school holidays), a season of Burlesque (R18 dance comedy) performances, some great showcases and a 'Best of the Fest' awards party night on Sunday 15th October." Find a link to the Tempo Dance Festival under Festivals at: www.artmedia.com.au/links.htm
"Applause is a street theatre & buskers festival to be held in Albury NSW on Saturday 21st October 2006. Busking competition commences at 10am in categories: performing arts, music, visual arts, under 16's and youth. The Applause Festival brings entertainment to the people. There is no other form of artistic expression that is more diverse, action orientated, spontaneous or accessible. This year, we've made some changes to make the experience of busking better for everyone, no matter how young, old, experienced or otherwise. For the first time ever, the event goes unplugged. Providing power for all acts just isn't possible, and so with the exception of one amplified stage, there are no stages and it's acoustic all the way. Another first for the 2006 event is that all acts will be judged on their day time performances only, with winners of each category being invited to perform at the Final Applause Concert held on the amplified stage in QEII Square from 4pm. All other prize winners will be announced at the concert and invited on stage to accept their awards at this time too. Check out the web site for a full list of prizes plus Festival Rules & Guidelines." Find a link to the Applause Festival under Festivals at: www.artmedia.com.au/links.htm
"Hi everyone, This year the Melbourne Fringe has a spectacular 250 independent shows and events being presented as part of the festival. Jump onto the Fringe site and take a look at the incredible array of cultural treats on offer this Spring. There is something for everyone! The Fringe Festival tickets go on sale on Thursday 7 September, and the Festival runs from 27 September to 15 October. The Festival Hub is located in Errol and Queensberry Streets, North Melbourne. The city will buzz with excitement this spring, as the Festival Hub bursts into full bloom with 55 events showcasing the surprise-party of art that is the Fringe. Party favours come in every flavour at the Festival Hub with Performance, Comedy, Music, Cabaret, Dance, Movement, Circus and Visual Arts for all, over 14 event-packed nights. The Festival Hub is also home to the Festival Club showcasing headline acts and surprise performances, and it's free every night! We welcome your support for this iconic Melbourne event." Find a link to the Melbourne Fringe under Festivals at: www.artmedia.com.au/links.htm
"Slava is looking for a few good clowns! The international theatrical tour de force, Slava's Snowshow will be holding auditions on Thursday, September 7th and Monday, September 11th from Noon until 4pm at the Union Square Theatre, New York, USA. Non-Equity performers welcome. Slava's Snowshow has played in over 80 cities worldwide and has been delighting New York audiences for over 2 years. The Producers are looking for performers highly skilled in visual and physical theatre and improvisation. Candidates may be asked to perform a prepared 2-3 minute routine showcasing their skills." Find a link to the Snowshow website under Clown at www.artmedia.com.au/links.htm
"The San Francisco Fringe Festival runs from September 6 - 17, presenting shows every weekday night and all day Saturdays & Sundays. When you get out of any one show there are several new shows starting within 30 minutes and within walking distance. With a Frequent Fringer Pass you can see 5 shows for only $35 or 10 shows for $65!!! Passes available at all venues. This year you can glimpse the SF Fringe Festival through podcast interviews by Michael Rice of Cool As Hell Theater. Performers share their inspirations, their struggles, their fears and, all humility and humbleness aside, "Why You Should See My Show!" Find a link to the San Francisco Fringe under Festivals at www.artmedia.com.au/links.htm
"Hello, I wanted to contact you regarding two NYC-based physical theatre links. I subscribe to your e-newsletter and find it very informative. The NYC Physical Theatre Network which has just been launched, and is a hub of info on artists and companies creating physical theatre in the NYC area. New York is home to a growing number of artists working in this field. This site is by, for, and about these artists. We are currently building the site, and would love your feedback and information. Our mission is to raise the profile of physical and visual theatre in New York City and beyond. Guiding principles: To support and promote the work of physical and visual theatre artists and companies in the New York City area; To create context, awareness, and understanding of physical and visual theatre in New York City; To attract and educate a loyal audience for physical and visual theatre in New York City; To create a performance series which features and highlights local physical and visual theatre artists; To encourage artists to create in this genre; To reach out to national and international physical and visual theatre artists and companies." Sincerely, Mark Lonergan, Artistic Director, Parallel Exit. Find a link to Parallel Exit under Physical Theatre and to the NYC Physical Theatre Network under Resources at: www.artmedia.com.au/links.htm
“Mapping The Streets”: September 21-24, 2006, Newcastle, Gateshead & Stockton-on-Tees, United Kingdom. The Conference aims to celebrate international street arts and to explore its origins as well as the way it has developed into a global expression of culture, which is both popular and accessible. “Mapping The Streets” will bring together as delegates street artists and festival organizers from Europe, Australasia, North America and South America, in order to debate important issues. The “Mapping The Streets” Conference will take place over 3 1/2 days and will be structured around presentations from a range of international speakers. Conference delegates will respond in carefully focused discussion groups with colleagues from many countries, facilitated by bilingual (English/French) moderators. Delegates will also have the opportunity to make history by contributing material to a series of Time Lines, which will chart the development of the street arts by global region. The “Mapping The Streets” Conference will be accompanied by a number of specially selected performances and performance extracts from different companies. Delegates will have tickets or priority access to all of the performances." Find a link to the Mapping the Streets Conference under Festivals and Events at: www.artmedia.com.au/links.htm
"Circus Futures: October 10-11, 2006, Bristol, United Kingdom. Circus Futures is a two-day event for promoters from venues and festivals, practitioners, local authority art officers, agents and circus proprietors. This event consists of a conference as well as a series of showcases taking place side by side in Bristol. Circus Futures is about providing connection routes between policy makers, programmers and artists by stimulating discussion and presenting extracts of performances that show the breadth of the contemporary circus in the UK. The conference will debate issues surrounding the creation and distribution of contemporary circus work in this country and beyond. The event will feature keynote speakers and panel discussions, and give delegates the opportunity to be directly involved in the debate. The showcases will feature contemporary circus artists of a variety of scales. Participating performers will be selected by a panel of experts who will in turn create individual shows, allowing the artists to offer extracts of shows available for programming." Find a link to the Circus Futures Conference under Festivals and Events at: www.artmedia.com.au/links.htm
"A Celebration of the Street Arts: September 23, 2006, Barcelona, Spain. This daylong seminar will take place at the Center for Contemporary Culture in Barcelona (CCCB) as a part of the Mercè street festival. This year's theme refers to the “citizens' cultural parades”, a concept that now holds an important place on the festive calendar of cities such as Brussels, Lyon, Belfast and Saragossa. The theme will be approached from the perspective of various artists and technicians taking part in these parades, or more generally in any performance projects in public spaces, and shall also take into account the input of cultural figures, local government bodies open to these kind of cultural activities as well as experts and arts practitioners from within Europe. Moreover, this fifth daylong celebration will serve as the initiation of the “Europe Parade” project, in the hopes of presenting this project as a part of “2008, European Year of Intercultural Exchange”. Find a link to the Street Arts Seminar under Festivals and Events at: www.artmedia.com.au/links.htm
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Last updated 7th September 2006