Performing Lines WA is excited to announce their creative partnership with dynamic West Australian independent dance and theatre artists continues for a further three years until July 2014. They also welcome theatre artist James Berlyn to the core client base alongside Chrissie Parrott Performance Company, Sue Peacock and Sally Richardson.
Performing Lines WA delivers managing and producing services for theatre and dance artists in WA (Maps for Artists), a joint initiative of the Australia Council for the Arts and Western Australia’s Department of Culture and the Arts.
Initially funded as a three year trial, Performing Lines WA has proved itself a critical service provider for the independent performing arts sector in Western Australia. Since 2008 Performing Lines WA has produced eight world premieres, assisted development of 15 projects and delivered four national and one international tour by WA artists. Around $1,000,000 is managed in project funds on behalf of 13 artists.
In its three years of operation over 80 WA independent artists have had access to the financial, producing, touring, fundraising, marketing, mentoring and advisory services provided by Performing Lines WA.
Allanah Lucas, Director General at the Department of Culture and the Arts said, “West Australia’s independent artists greatly enrich the cultural life of this State. Partnering with the Australia Council to renew the Maps for Artists initiative in WA allows us to continue to support a great range of innovative new performances.”
The company is led by national CEO Fenn Gordon with WA based Producers Fiona de Garis and Rachael Whitworth and Communications Manager Sarah Rowbottam. Fenn Gordon said “Clearly the services provided by Performing Lines WA are in great demand by independent theatre and dance artists. In the new triennium we’re looking to build on the work of the past three years with a focus on securing broader touring opportunities for WA work.”
South Perth artist James Berlyn has already benefited from the expertise of Performing Lines WA who produced his one-on-one performance Tawdry Heartburn’s Manic Cures for the 2010 Perth International Arts Festival, and then in 2011 toured it to WOMADelaide and Tasmania’s Ten Days on the Island festival.
Currently presenting Twyping as part of the 2011 AWESOME Festival, Berlyn said “This is a tremendous opportunity for me. I look forward to pursuing international touring opportunities and creating exciting new work in partnership with the expert team at Performing Lines WA.”
In 2012 Berlyn co-curatesProximity, Australia’s first one-one-one micro-festival of art. He performs in Sue Healey’s premiere of Variant and Matthew Lutton’s new production of Elektra presented in the 2012 Perth Festival. He also continues to develop his solo performance Crash Course and new one-on-one performance Sweet Life.
The ultra charming Kingsley (Kings) Reeve brings an impressive track record of awards and sound design compositions to Shiver. Before taking out the WA Equity Guild Awards, Ausdance Awards and WA Screen Awards he was nominated for a Helpmann for Best Theatre Sound Design on Black Swan’s Zastrozzi, the Master of Discipline. Kings has collaborated with Danielle Mcich on Shiver since its humble beginnings in 2007. Between making new music for the highly anticipated premiere this Thursday 17 at The Dolphin Theatre, Kingsley took a moment to share what’s been happening in the rehearsal room as the team prepare for Production week.
Words: Kingsley Reeve (Sound Designer) Photos: Sarah Rowbottam
Pictured: Kingsley Reeve
Week three began on a Monday the way all good rehearsals should begin. the things we knew we were certain of and the things we didn’t know remained utterly uncertain. We had a big goal ahead of us – to get to the final bell by the end of the week without being pile-driven by a wrestler much heavier and sweatier than we were. So we took each day as it came. We bashed our heads together and asked each other the seemingly hard questions: “is this working?”, “does this bit suck?” and importantly, “are we making sense?”
Being brutally blunt and forthrightly honest was what we had to be to push the show into a new gear. And blunt we were. New things were added, some things had to go and we reconsidered things that we might have loved previously but had to give way for a tighter, leaner performance. We reworked one section in particular that had been evading us and the solution came via random express. I can’t give it away but let’s just say that my offer to string a piñata up didn’t meet with instant refusal…
Pictured: Gerard van Dyck, Leanne Mason and Jacqui Claus
As the week progressed we started to stretch our sea-legs and we ran what we had from whoa to go. To our relief, things were making sense and the road-blocks now seemed more like roundabouts or at worst, small speed humps in a 40 zone.
Each day was met with new understanding of the material, both on the interior and from the all-important audience perspective. We were consolidating each time we ran it and by Saturday, we were starting to feel its groove.
For myself, I enjoyed the daunting task of transferring quantities of semi-coherent sound improvisations into the final tracks to be played in the master sequence. So no mini-golf for me this weekend, I stayed strapped to my headphones until I had a something worth putting through the PA.
This week begins the final frontier; horses shod, stops pulled out and top-lip waxed… it’s game on and we have our first audience on Thursday. No pressure. None whatsoever…
PLWA. Tell me a little bit about yourself. Kings. I am a sound nerd, self-confessed. I basically can’t help it. Somewhere in my DNA is a molecular love affair with moving air and it does something to me, I can’t really articulate it elegantly but it’s a big part of who I am.
I’m a lover of silence too. Nothing is as beautiful and painfully terrifying as the absence of sound, so I look for it actively in our world and rejoice in it’s scarcity.
I love the idea of music and again, I have no words for it’s complexity. I don’t know why a note can mean so much, it’s frankly beyond me but I’m happy to bask in it’s supreme influence over me.
PLWA. What is your role in Shiver? Kings. Shiver and I have a long-standing relationship. Lately of the long-distance kind, but still connected. I began this process with Dank back in 2007 when it was called something else and inhabited a completely different space structurally and conceptually. The piece has evolved from humble beginnings, grew to a bloated excess of big ideas and techniques and now occupies a position poles apart from it’s original instigation. It’s a lean, hungry animal now and my job as always is to tell the story, either in the front of the frame or in the blurry bits off to the back and sides through sound. My task has the ironic impression of playing some (hopefully agreeable) music under the movement and text. If only it were that easy and the sound was only answerable to my own desires. No. The sound, music or otherwise, has as much dramaturgical responsibility as the choreography, the text, the set, the lights, in fact, everything… So when charged with this duty I have to come up with a palette of sounds that are not only ‘appropriate’ but have something to say in our story. The task then is to add a bunch of these until it makes sense and gives the clearest meaning. This often means eventually stripping away so many of these sounds until you can honestly know that what is left is necessary and purposeful. If I can’t justify it in the action, it gets cut. Treating silence as a sonic tool is also a big part of the job, knowing when to shut up and earn the next cue.
It’s an ongoing negotiation and adherence to a strict ‘less is more’ mantra. Hopefully we get it right and the quiet bits are quiet and the loud bits are loud…
PLWA. What has been the most exciting day in the rehearsal room thus far? Kings. That would have to be Monday to Friday this week, not a single day but a collection of five that had great upwards momentum the more we worked. It’s thoroughly satisfying when things take their proper shape and you start to land these ideas and concepts that may have been eluding you. A lot of that happened this week. We solved, cleaned and trimmed and from that came the smiling face of coherence.
Kingsley Reeve graduated from WAAPA in 1995 with a Diploma in Sound and from the Theatre course in 1998 as an actor. Now based in Sydney he works regularly with Sydney Theatre Company (STC) and teaches Sound Design at NIDA. In Perth he has designed sound and music for Black Swan (2002 – 2008) and for Perth Theatre Company since 2003. In 2005 he was nominated for a Helpmann Award for Best Theatre Sound Design on Black Swan’s Zastrozzi, the Master of Discipline. Recent designs include Barking Gecko’s The Red Tree, STC’s Ruby Moon, Deckchair’s The Modern International Dead and Yirra Yaakin’s Waltzing the Wilarra. He has designed sound and music for Danielle Micich since 2006.
Whitney Richards ain’t just a pretty face. She knows how to rough it backstage with Black Swan and bring out the charisma onstage (and on camera.. okay and offstage) with independent film and theatre companies. She can also make funny sounds, run pretty fast and dodge cornflake rain. On her day off, Whitney took the time to write about production week for They ran ’til they stopped – now showing at PICA until Saturday 19 November.
Words: Whitney Richards Photos: Donna Ferreri & Sarah Rowbottam
Hello reader. This is a blog for you to read. I have diarised my adventures during production week for They ran ’til they stopped (TRTTS). I hope you will find this educational.
I have spent the last six months assistant stage managing for Black Swan Theatre Company. I’m not a trained ASM, but they were willing to give me a go because I was keen to work and keen to learn. Hence, production week as a performer for TRTTS was the least stressful I’ve had for a long while.
Production week ain’t really about the performers. It’s about fitting together all the other equally important elements of the production. It helped that the designers were amaze ballz and knew exactly what they were doing. Will Slade (noises), Mike Nanning (globes) and Alissa Claessans (furniture) were true professionals.
Monday: Actors had a day off. I saw the film Drive. So good. Go see it.
Tuesday: Plotting. Actors stand around in places they’re told to stand in. It’s pretty fun. Also the day we learnt Lawrie does a mean step ball change.
Wednesday: Tech and first dress run. Also the day I remembered I have to pretend I don’t have cornflakes riiiiiiight down my pants for half the show. Wednesday was also the day we were semi-attacked at lunch by the “gentleman who was having a bad day.”
Thursday: Final dress run and preview. The dress run was incredibly low in energy. But it was the run we needed to have before we got an audience. Also the day myself, Arielle and Katt chaperoned Lawrie to a questionable looking barber to get an emergency hair cut. Turns out his face is pretty nice. Preview went fairly smoothly, aside from a few rogue props. The show wasn’t as comfortable and fun as it has been in rehearsals. Nerves McGreg! The audience response was great, although I confess it was made up mostly of our close friends.
Friday & Saturday: Final preview and OPENING NIGHT! Great responses and not just from our friends. Also the days we battled with the slippery floor. You’ll have to come see the show to learn why.
We’ve gotten all the scary things out of the way now. Arielle, Lawrie, Alice and myself are now fairly comfortable with the show and can just have fun. I’m thoroughly looking forward to it.
Things I have learnt this week: don’t laugh during your final dress run, it’s incredibly unprofessional. Be careful in Northbridge even at midday. Good teams make the most enjoyable production weeks.
Things you (the reader) have learnt: Be careful in Northbridge even at midday. See Drive. Come see They ran ’til they stopped, there’s cornflakes.
They ran ’til they stopped
10 – 19 November 2011
Perth Institute of Contemporary Arts
Tickets $18 – $28 www.pica.org.au CHEAP TUESDAY $15 Tickets for 6.30pm Tue 15 Nov performance. CODE: Duckies.
Whitney Richards graduated in 2008 from Curtin University with a BA (Film/Television & Performance). She has since worked in over 20 professional and independent film and theatre productions, including the feature Little Sparrows. In 2012 Whitney will perform in two main stage Black Swan State Theatre Company shows.
Lawrence Ashford (Lawrie) is a bit of a champ in our books. Not only did he stand on a podium for two hours in the middle of Perth Cultural Centre whilst strangers covered him with post-it notes saying “nice ass” and “cares like a mother would”, he was just named Perth’s best storyteller at the inaugural Barefaced Story Battle. In between tech runs and RTR interviews, Lawrie took a moment to share what Week 3 rehearsals have been like for They ran ’til they stopped which previews at PICA this Thursday.
Words: Lawrence Ashford, Performer Photos: Sarah Rowbottam
It is with a touch of sadness that we say goodbye to Week 3, and full time rehearsals. As excited as I am to get into the PICA performance space, I shall miss the fun days we spent in the Blue Room Theatre’s Kaos Room.
In fact, that room is aptly named, because at times rehearsals have bordered on unmitigated chaos. Working with Katt, Whitney and Arielle has been an absolute blast, and several times over the last few weeks we have found ourselves looking around, as the fits of laughter subside, and wondering if perhaps we are having too much fun. Fortunately Whitney has kept us on track, repeatedly reminding what page of the script we are up to, and how much more work is ahead of us.
Although, it has never really felt like ‘work’. Katt has maintained a fine line between chaos and control, and has encouraged us to play with almost every piece of text, which has lead to some exciting, and sometimes hilarious discoveries. We have also discovered a lot about each other. For instance, I had always known that Whitney was a talented performer, but it wasn’t until one of our first rehearsals when she burst into tears whilst working on a scene, that I realised she is in fact, a young Meryl Streep! She has been known as Meryl ever since (much to her displeasure). Arielle can also turn on the waterworks should the occasion call for it, and has been known as Natalie Portman since mid last week. If you see either Whitney or Arielle on the street, or at the theatre, please refer to them with their new names. Many thanks.
Working with this team, and with our hardworking production team, has been such a wonderful experience. I look forward to finally opening later this week, and only hope that the audience has as much fun watching this show, as we did making it.
My castmates and I are already plotting a possible sequel. Some titles that have been suggested so far are: “They started running again”, “They ran til they required a hip replacement”, and “I know where you ran last summer”.
Lawrence studied a Bachelor of Arts at Curtin University, with a Major in Performance Studies, and a Minor in Creative Writing. He furthered his training whilst living abroad in London, taking short courses at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art and the Theatre Royal Haymarket. Theatre credits include Unidentified Human Remains and the True Nature of Love (Hayman Theatre), Terrorism (Hayman Theatre/Be Active BSX-Theatre), and Jack and Jill (The Blue Room Theatre/Red Rabbit Collective). In 2011 Lawrence collaboratively developed and performed in new work: Flirt Fiction (Red Rabbit Collective), which toured to the Edinburgh Festival Fringe before returning to Perth for a three week run as part of The Blue Room Theatre’s Personal season. Lawrence is also an active participant in Barefaced Stories, a regular storytelling series in Perth, and in October 2011 took out the inaugural Barefaced Story Battle, beating a field of thirty four to be named Perth’s best storyteller.
It’s week two in the Shiver rehearsal room at King Street Arts Centre and there have been some exciting developments as the cast welcome Sound Designer Kingsley Reeve and Dramaturg Humphrey Bower to the team. Performer Jacqui Claus gives us an overview of what’s been happening in Studio 3 and how things have changed since the cast last worked together in July earlier this year.
Words: Jacqui Claus, Performer for ShiverPhotos: Sarah Rowbottam
Week Two in the Shiver studio has been a productive one with sections coming together and transitions being set. On Tuesday our Dramaturg, Humphrey Bower, began his work with us and he has been a welcome edition to the creative team, we have all taken to applauding when he enters the room. Humphrey has a very clear mind and because he doesn’t have the depth of information of the stories and characters that the rest of us have, he has been a great help in making clear what does and doesn’t come across to an audience member and making subtle changes that simplify the work.
From Wednesday Kingsley Reeve, our composer, joined us and has been making sound for sections as we work on them. For me it has been a new and interesting process to have the composer in the studio and I have been wondering why more choreographers don’t work this way. It allows for a collaborative process that is very satisfying for a dancer as we get to hear the sound refine and evolve as our movement does the same. Kingsley is a very talented composer but also holds theatre and acting skills so he has been a welcome addition to the entire creative process, not to mention the charm and charisma he brings to the studio.
It is hard not to already be excited about the upcoming performances of Shiver when the studio is filled with so many inspiring and creative people, including our wonderfully competent (and award winning might I add) stage manager. The dancers are beginning to play and have fun with the movement and characters and whole sections are being put together. Next to performing, this is my favourite time in the development of a work and therefore, I have found this week immensely satisfying, even considering a slight hiccup I had on Tuesday with a strained adductor.
PLWA. Tell me a little it about yourself.
JC. I graduated from the Diploma course at WAAPA in 2005 and have since been working as an independent dancer here in Perth. As well as this I am studying Nutrition at Curtin University. One day when my body gives up on me I guess I’ll move into the nutrition field but at this stage it’s just something that I find engaging and enjoyable to learn about.
PLWA. Briefly tell me a bit about you role and story in Shiver? JC. My role in Shiver is one of the four dancers/performers. My story delves into the loss of an heirloom/object that ultimately represents a person who played an integral part in my characters life. This week my role has expanded slightly with the introduction of text, of which I am eager to explore.
PLWA. Tell me about the most exciting day in the studio thus far. JC. For me the most exciting day in the studio was this Wednesday. It was the first day that we had the entire crew and even though I as out of action due to a minor injury the energy in the room was very supportive and productive. We managed to address the main issues and find good solutions to them and I felt a great sense of achievement at the end of the day.
Since graduating from WAAPA in 2005 Jacqui Claus has performed in both Australia, and overseas. She has worked with a range of artists from UK based Neville Campbell and Densemble Contemporary Dance Company, to French choreographer Annabell Bonnery. For the past 2 years Jacqui has been working with Perth based choreographers such as Danielle Micich, Brooke Leeder, Alice Lee Holland and Chrissie Parrott. Jacqui performed Chrissie Parrott’s “Cyg.net” for the Strut Short Cuts season earning her the title of Most Outstanding Dancer and Dancer to Watch in the 2009 Dance Australia Critics Choice Survey and won Emerging Artist at the 2010 WA Dance Awards.
Performing Lines WA delivers the Managing and Producing Services for theatre and dance artists in WA (Maps for Artists), which is a joint initiative of the Australia Council for the Arts, the Australian Government’s art funding and advisory body, and the State of Western Australia through the Department of Culture and the Arts.