Oddysea news!

Posted by Thom Smyth, September 9th, 2015

We’re very excited to announce we just received word that Sensorium Theatre will be taking Oddysea on the road again thanks to the DCA Boost regional tour funding.

Taking in Mandurah, Bunbury, Esperance, Kalgoorlie, Merredin and Geraldton in 2016, this will be the first time children with special needs in WA will have access to this amazing sensory theatre production.

So excited for Sensorium and the team – big congrats!

ODDYSEA – on the road

Posted by Thom Smyth, September 8th, 2015

Sensorium Theatre has taken over the East Coast with a successful tour of Oddysea at Arts Centre Melbourne and The Sydney Opera House.

Francis Italiano of Sensorium Theatre, shares with us his experience on the Oddysea tour. Below is a snippet into what happened on the tour that he didn’t expect and what was the best pick for food!

Francis Italiano 03/09/2015

As theatre makers, we’re often going on about the transformative power of arts experiences – and Sensorium frequently has observers delighting at the surprising effect of our immersive storyworlds on our young audiences with disabilities.  What was particularly exciting in Sydney was seeing the ripple of transformation extending outwards to the circles of carers and other observers who joined our sensory world in different ways. As well as presenting performances at “the house”, our Sydney season saw us deliver outreach workshops to schools across Sydney, joint SOH/MCA masterclasses for both artists with disabilities as well as artists & educators engaging this community and… a hands-on Sensory PD Session for the Opera House Front of House Staff…

The Sydney Opera House is a formidable machine, with hundreds of staff from many areas keeping this icon chugging along, with the Front of House staff usually the first point of contact for anyone looking to be transformed. They’ve already done a lot to improve accessibility to their programme for people with disabilities, but they decided that hosting a company who specifically designs work for this audience was a good opportunity to give their Front of House staff some insight into the kinds of techniques we use to really engage with audiences who often approach things from a different perspective than their usual patrons.

Early in our season, the designated staff members turned up, and for the most part, were up for taking off their shoes, being blindfolded, and taken on a sensory journey by our team. One particularly dapper older European gentlemen, a proud staff member of 30+ years standing, balked at the weirdness of it all, opting to observe from the sidelines and reserve his judgement of what we were all about until he’d seen us in action with the kids in one of the shows. Watching his own personal transformation as he got caught up in the infectious energy of the kids with special needs, experiencing their wonder at the imaginary world he was helping us provide for them, was beautiful. Over the course of the season, he was always one of the first to put on the beach-comber hats we’d brought for the Front of House staff to greet the kids with, each day offering another suggestion of where else in the world we should tour to, and finally coming in one morning excitedly with “Franki! Franki! I haff good idea for next show!” I’d say he was transformed.

We fell in love with the THAI food in Sydney, something that is hard to find authentic exponents of in Perth. Home – around the corner, casual and vibey was yummy, fragrant and surprising and easily the company favourite, suiting our mix of vegetarians and meat lovers. On our final day after completing 3 shows AND a BUMP OUT we headed there for a well-earned feast.

Check out some pictures from the tour and the interview with Francis on ABC Breakfast!

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SDS1 Community Engagement

Posted by Thom Smyth, September 8th, 2015

SDS1 – Ahilan Ratnamohan

We caught up with Ahilan Ratnamohan while he was in Perth last month working with Warnbro Community High School as part of PICA’s Spark_Lab program. His show SDS1, toured by Performing Lines for Mobile States, opens this month at PICA so we thought we would do a little catch up!

Quick introduction. Ahil has spent the last six years developing a unique style of sport-in-performance drawing from his experience as a semi-professional football player. He blurs the lines between football and dance, working with footballers to create live shows performed in an arts venue.

While on tour in Australia, Ahil has been facilitating a series of community engagement workshops encouraging footballers/sportspeople, performers and non-performers to get moving!  Ahil uses football as language and helps kids improve their communication skills and ball techniques whilst creating individual and group choreography. He tailors these workshops to specifically respond to the group he is working with and in relation to their community background.

The North Melbourne Football Club’s community engagement arm The Huddle invited Ahil to spend some time teaching new migrant and refugee kids some new tricks. Check out the snapshots below!




On his recent trip to PICA’s Spark_Lab partner school Warnbro Community High School, Ahil ran workshops with years 9 – 12 as part of an initiative to engage with the local community. In this interactive workshop, he challenged students to explore definitions of football and dance to create individual and group performances. Check out the photos below!





Following on from his initial engagements with Warnbro, Ahil will be running workshops with a selection of Warnbro students in late September. Ahil will help them work on extending and developing their movement/dance knowledge and skills. They will also get to see Ahil perform SDS1 at Mandurah Performing Arts Centre.

SDS1 is driven by intense movement with a focus on exploring football as an art form and the intense physicality of the game.

“In creating SDS1 I set out to challenge myself and the football-dance-theatre I had been creating.  My first two shows The Football Diaries and Michael Essien I want to play as you… had relied on text to drive the pieces, I wanted to make a piece which was driven by the movement. While I had already been working with common football movements, I wanted to push these further into an abstract terrain, re-contextualizing them as contemporary dance.  I hope that by using this movement vocabulary the piece will access a new audience, to whom these movements are familiar, even if the theatre is not. “

Ahil spent time at Carriageworks in Redfern redeveloping the show with acclaimed performance makers Branch Nebula ahead of the national tour. The show is fast-paced, stripped back and we can’t wait to see it!

WA tour dates:

Perth Institute of Contemporary Arts, Perth | Tickets/info>>
23 – 26 September 2015

Mandurah Performing Arts Centre, Mandurah | Tickets/info>>
29 September – 1 October 2015