OPPORTUNITIES | Not your usual options…

Posted by Thom Smyth, April 20th, 2017

While there’s been a lot of focus on diminishing government funding for the arts, there are still heaps of other opportunities out there if you know where to look. This month, we’ve unearthed a few of them to get you thinking beyond the government funding box. Many of them will also get you out of Perth to see work and expand your networks around the country and the world! This is far from an exhaustive list – check out the online resources available at Res Artis or Transartists. Make sure to check if it’s a supported residency or if you have to raise the funds.

Need advice on applications? We found this great resource from Arts Queensland. Still stumped? Contact your preferred auspice body (who do them all the time), or get in touch with us and we can point you in the right direction – shoot an email through to thom@performinglineswa.org.au.

That image up there? Thom caught that as part of Pony Express’ The Raft of the Medusa development at Adhocracy. See below.

ANTARCTIC ARTS FELLOWSHIP | Expressions of Interest open
For those who are fascinated by the stark icy landscape of Antarctica, and love the confrontation with the vastness of mother nature, we couldn’t find a more immersive experience than this one.

The Fellowship is a rare opportunity for artists and writers to experience Antarctica first-hand, and share this with the broader Australian community through their chosen art form. The Arts Fellows travel south by ship or plane, and spend time at Australia’s Antarctic research stations. Applications close Fri 5 MayMore info>>

ADHOCRACY RESIDENCY | 2017 Artists call-out
We love Adhocracy! Thom went last year – read his blog about it here. In 2016, WA artists Pony Express (Loren Kronemyer and Ian Sinclair) were among the 12 artists and groups programmed, and our Sydney colleagues were producing artists-in-residence Lz Dunn & collaborators. Adhocracy is Vitalstatistix’s national hothouse, supporting the creative development of new experimental and interdisciplinary arts projects. Artists receive funding to support their travel to Port Adelaide, accommodation and a fee, allowing them to spend four days and nights in an open studio environment developing new work. Each day, audiences and peers are invited through a public program of artist talks and work-in-progress showings presented across three evenings. It’s fun, friendly, informal, and has resulted in some awesome shows! Applications close on Monday 29 May. More info>>

PROFESSIONAL ARTS PLACEMENT | Shanghai International Dance Centre
The Australia Council is offering professional arts placement opportunities for arts workers to visit China. These placements will build international expertise, inter-cultural capability, foster industry relationships, and develop an understanding of the Chinese arts market. EOIs are now open for arts managers, producers, and production managers to apply for a Professional Arts Placement at the Shanghai International Dance Centre. Applications close 16 May. More info>>

The Georges Mora Fellowship gives one contemporary artist $10,000 for up to 12 months’ research and given the means and uninterrupted time to work closely with the rich resources of the Victorian State Library, including access to a private study within the Library, which can be used outside normal opening hours! Applications close 23 April. More info>>

Get out of town with the Cultural Trust – grants up to $7,000 to assist emerging and early career artists of exceptional talent to take up professional development opportunities, usually overseas. They support applicants who can demonstrate both initiative and exceptional talent, together with an ability to convert their ambitions to reality. Applications close 23 May. More info>>

Sissy Reyes – ‘The Window’. Captured at Arteles Residency using an Ian Potter Cultural Trust grant.

ARTELES | Enter Text Residency (Finland)
Enter Text is an international residency program for poets, writers and text-based artists, taking place at Arteles Creative Center in Hämeenkyrö, Finland. The program brings together emerging and established writers & artists with various backgrounds, from all fields of literature and text-based art. Applications close 30 April. More info>>

WOMEN’S CIRCUS | Artist Residency Program
This offers female artists working in performance their very own room – for free!  The program provides up to 2 weeks of access to the Drill Hall, our training and rehearsal space in West Footscray. The Artist Residency is an opportunity for artists to explore, refine, re-develop, rehearse their work in a supportive space. Applications close Mon 1 May. More info>>

BUNDANON TRUST | 2018 Residency Program
Located in calm and luxuriant New South Wales South Coast, Bundanon Trust’s Artist-in-Residence program is open to professional artists and thinkers from all disciplines, individually or in groups, and is here to support new work, research and collaborations. This is your opportunity to apply for residency space in their beautiful surrounds. You may even spot a wisdom of wombats (actual collective noun!). Applications close Mon 19 JuneMore info>>

PROFILE | Sharyn Brand – Sound Designer

Posted by Cecile Lucas, April 19th, 2017

After touring regional WA for two weeks, the Small Voices Louder crew is back in Perth for an intensive week of audio editing to piece together some of the most insightful children’s answers recorded across the tour. On the soundboard is Melbourne-based sound artist Sharyn Brand, whose artistry in kaleidoscopic audio assemblage brings a whole new dimension to the production. In the coming days Sharyn will be weaving these small voices into an audio snapshot of regional WA kids’ brave and profound answers – we can’t wait to share the end result with you. While you’re waiting, here is a conversation I recently had with Sharyn, to hear about her artistic background and what brought her to work alongside Alex Desebrock on this production.

Cecile Lucas: What first sparked your interest in exploring sound?
Sharyn Brand: I can’t really remember the first time I was interested in sound, I feel like it has always fascinated me. I loved listening to music and I spent many years as a nightclub DJ, this is where I began experimenting with composition and making my own tracks. Now, I not only have a fascination with music and sound, but also with the technical side of how it can be created and manipulated.

CL: How would you describe your approach to working with sound – and the kind of work that you make?
SB: My current works focus on the human voice. I am very interested in words and stories and how they can move people. My work is as much an exploration of listening as it is of sound, as I am investigating how people listen and what they hear.

In my current work I explore the notion of the sound bite. How a short 30-second recording of words may speak of one thing, yet the same words can be edited, truncated and rearranged, and be heard differently.

CL: How did you start working with Alex Desebrockand Maybe (   ) Together?
SB: I shared a studio next to hers in the same artist warehouse in Melbourne, and at the time my partner was collaborating with her on a wonderful outdoor children’s work. I had been doing some stage managing and was asked to join the team. I then learnt more of her development of Small Voices Louder and knew I wanted to be a part of it! I was brought on board with four other sound artists for a 2-week development at Arts House Melbourne. My work really resonated with Alex’s vision for SVL, and she offered me to be part of it.

CL: What do you like the most about collaborating with Alex on Small Voices Louder? Is there anything in particular that you learned through this experience?
SB: Alex has a real passion for giving children agency and allowing their ideas and voices to be heard. This totally aligns with my practice, and I am so thrilled and grateful to be working on this project with her. I love listening to the voices – children are always surprisingly insightful.

CL: Atmosphere, space and setting are very important components when producing immersive performance, and can influence the way people respond to the show. In your work, the concept of confined space and confessional experience is quite recurrent. What is it that you like about it? How does that environment influence the responses you get?
SB: The setup of the recording space in my current work gives the participant total control and privacy. Just like the tent world in Small Voices Louder, there is no one sitting across from them holding a microphone eliciting a response. I like that this seems to give people the freedom to be very candid.

CL: Sound art is a very direct way of engaging people with art, with a great level of anonymity, yet can feel very exposing for participants. How do you find people respond to this contradictory concept of Anonymity Vs Exposure?
SB: For me sound as a medium is both a very personal yet at the same time a very connecting and shared experience. When people are being recorded, not amplified or broadcast in the same moment, it becomes a very freeing cathartic experience. In my work no one is listened in to that present moment. As the words and sounds are listened to at a time in the future, I feel participants quickly reconcile that they may or may not hear their words again so they don’t feel so exposed.

CL: What’s next? What do you have in the pipeline after Small Voices Louder regional tour?
SB: Whilst on tour in W.A. I will be exhibiting a composition in Phantasmagoria – a free site-responsive festival located at Bogong Village, Victoria. Reflection is a self-directed headphone sound walk, responding to the theme of Phantasmagoria and the site of Bogong Village. The sounds within the piece were recorded on a two-week supported residency in 2016. The stories I collected have been processed and morphed with the impulse responses of the natural acoustics of different spaces within the Village.

Keep an eye out for the voices of regional WA kids coming at you soon!

Filed under Maybe Together

PROFILE | Zoe Street – Small Voices Louder’s Stage Manager

Posted by Cecile Lucas, March 23rd, 2017

Direct from its recent premiere at Perth International Arts Festival, Maybe (  ) Together’s participatory performance Small Voices Louder is all set to hit the road for a Regional tour across Western Australia next week. Taking part in this adventure is performer and anthropology graduate Zoe Street, whose first experience as Stage Manager has shed some light on a new career opportunity. I managed to catch up with Zoe just before she heads off to find out more about what this first experience has brought to her.


Cecile – Small Voices Louder is your first experience as Stage Manager, how did you become involved and what are some of the challenges that you are facing? 

It’s all about timing… I put my skills up for grabs when Performing Lines WA was on the look out for someone who was the right fit for the project. After a fairly unconventional job interview in a room full of bright yellow tents I found myself stage managing for the first time at PIAF with a show that I fell in love with on sight, so I guess I was the one for the job.

I’d say the biggest challenge would probably be getting to know the ins and outs of our wondrous set. The set is made of eight tents with a maze of paths connecting them and inside each tent there are miniature worlds. It’s all rather magical. However behind the magic there is an intricate tent construction process that involves arranging wooden frames with their matching inner layers, outer layers and bases, and a numerous array of peculiar props that bring the tents to life. After this season at PIAF I can call myself a cubby maintenance professional and the next big challenge will be taking it on the road.

Small Voices Louder is also quite different from the other productions you previously worked on, what do you like about it? Does that inspire you to pursue work in more participatory projects

Working on participatory performance projects was new to me so I loved observing the active exchange that occurs in the space. The work relies on responses from the participants and that’s what brings it to life and creates an impact on those participating and those who hear the voices in various public spaces.  As an anthropology graduate and artist this form of performance just makes sense and since being part of this project I’m left wondering why I didn’t find my way into this type of work sooner. Bring it on!


Next week you will be going on a regional tour with Small Voices Louder’s crew across Western Australia, what are you most excited about?

I’m really excited to get this work out to regional communities and hear what the children have to say about the way they see the world. The work provides a space for kids to think big and believe in their voice and also gives us adults such a startling insight into the wisdom they hold. Hearing the responses from the PIAF participants was very powerful and I’m looking forward to observing the similarities and differences that emerge as rural kids engage in the space. As we go to new places we’ll continue to build on the collection of children’s voices, which can hopefully capture a unique snapshot of the diversity of our state.


Are there any other productions you’d love to stage manage? Or any Artistic Directors you would love to work with?

Oh man this is hard, there are so many artists and companies I admire out there! Close to home pvi collective and Big Hart are two of my favourites. But I’m just going to go for gold here and say Bryony Kimmings and her current work The Boys Project would be a dream for me to be involved in. I saw Bryony’s work Fake It Til You Make It in 2014 and I left that show inspired and energised, so I always follow her work.

The Boys Project is a three year multi-platformed art activism project that works with young men from council estates in England. The project consists of a social campaign, theatre piece, education initiative and documentary, and this process of engaging with communities to integrate performance with social change initiatives is the type of work I believe in and would love to throw my energy into.


Do you have a favourite or most memorable experience from your career so far you would like to share with us?

I did a project a few years back where I interviewed Vietnam Veterans for a self devised show I wrote and performed called Speak to Me of War. I will always remember the camaraderie I felt as they invited me into their community and the generosity those men showed in openly sharing their experiences with me. It was such a privilege to hear their stories and I will always treasure that.


What do you have coming up after Small Voices Louder’s tour?

There are a few things in the works at the moment, but nothing I can really talk about just yet. I will say that I’m really keen to move in the direction of community arts work and socially engaged arts practice and see what that world has to offer. It’s all pretty new to me so I have some exploring to do but I’m drawn to projects that integrate social change initiatives with performance and participatory art.

Filed under Uncategorized

INTRODUCING… | Our new Associate Producer, Zainab Syed

Posted by Cecile Lucas, March 16th, 2017

Two months have passed since we welcomed Zainab Syed into the Performing Lines team as our new Associate Producer, and with her passionate and radiant personality, she has found her groove. Zainab has an impressive resume from working in the arts and humanitarian projects around the globe, and I couldn’t wait to delve into her history and discover what jewels lay underneath. In between her role at Performing Lines, and her many other engagements, she stopped for a quick, and eloquent chat with me…

Cecile: How did you first come across poetry and decide to become a spoken word artist?

As a Pakistani, poetry is tied to my very identity.  Allama Iqbal, the greatest poet of the 20th century in the Indian Subcontinent, was the one who once dreamed of Pakistan. If it wasn’t for him, the map would look very different today. So you can say, I was born into poetry, that it has been a part of my narrative long before I came into the fold.

As a young girl, I always carried a notebook so I wouldn’t ever forget the places and people I met living abroad, and the things I missed about home. Poetry for me, became a way to record my present, which was tied closely to my nostalgia for a past I kept looking for in ladybugs and mangoes everywhere I went.

When I went to boarding school in Wales (UWCAC) I first met people who loved words as much as I did and encouraged me to start writing. However, it was only when I went to Brown University, in the US, that I shared my poetry. In my first month there I saw a few poets “perform” poetry, which was new to me but had me completely enthralled. It seemed as though my love of poetry, and years of theatre suddenly got married and had a baby. I looked them up, attended the first meeting, was thoroughly intimidated but never looked back.

WORD! as it was called, became my home, and the poets of there, my family. I grew there as a writer, a performer, a person. They were my first teachers in love and loss, lessons I carry within me everywhere I go. After Brown, I took six months off to finish my book before I joined some kind of development consultancy, which didn’t really happen. Instead those six months turned into a year of touring and three years later…


Being a spoken word artist, is it hard to change between languages and still convey the same message, feelings or emotions?

I think speaking more than one languages adds a richness to expression that only strengthens my poems. The key driver of any poem, or performance is the sincerity with which it is written and then brought to a stage. If you are truly honest in your poem, even if it is in a different language, it will resonate with the audience. It is important to write what feels most authentic, otherwise it becomes archaic and the listener will sense the hypocrisy in your words.


You’ve traveled widely and experienced a broad range of performances. Is there a particular show or experience that still resonates with you today and why?

Wow, that’s a hard one! Life has brought so many experiences, and learning moments in my life. Perhaps one of the most significant one to date has been when I went on a retreat to Turkey in August 2015. I had been on tour for a year and just needed a place to stop, and breathe for more than a week. What I found at the retreat were treasures I am still unearthing. I was able to study with teachers who taught me the weight of words. The gravity of tradition. The richness of a legacy.

One of them shared a story from the Masnavi with me. In the story, the Persian poet, Rumi, points out that the world is in need of translators. People who can bridge communities, cultures and races in an attempt to celebrate the diversity in our thought and expression. Having had the honour of intimately knowing and loving many communities across the world, I have always been deeply humbled by the responsibility I have to portray the love, the resilience, the softness of the people I encountered. To use poetry as a mean to serve as translator. To share the untold stories, here and abroad. To be a vessel between people, between minds and between hearts. And then, to impart these universal human values to the next generation so that we can empower them to become even better translators.

Those three weeks shaped the kind of work I do, the poems I write and the way I try to live my life – open to love, in the face of hate, always, no matter how tender it may make me feel.


What were some career highlight/s before starting at Performing Lines WA?

In December 2014, and following a terrorist shooting in a school in Peshawar, Pakistan, I was invited to coordinate the post terrorist attack response. The shooting had affected every student in Pakistan but no one paid enough attention to the long-term effects of such immense trauma. I feared the insecurity would cripple us if we did not create safe spaces that channeled the negativity into positive expression. After teaching art therapy and writing workshops in a few schools, I realised there was a huge need for safe and creative spaces for children to engage with the violence around them in a constructive manner. Creative spaces give breathing room. They tend to diffuse the negativity, and provide an alternative to violence.

My experiences in Peshawar and then in other cities in Pakistan were the catalyst for Pakistan Poetry Slam, a project under WORD Ink, a social enterprise I am lucky enough to have founded. The motivation for Pakistan Poetry Slam was solely to create a safe space for the next generation of Pakistani’s to articulate, express and respond to the violence around them in a non-violent manner. The aim is to empower the youth with language and revive the tradition of story-telling and poetry that runs through us. In its second year, we have expanded from one city to four and hope to continue doing so in the future!


You are primarily renowned for being an international performer, and you are now working for Performing Lines WA to help present other artists’ productions, is this your first step away from the spotlight or have you produced other shows before?

I had been curating spaces for creative expression in Australia, Pakistan and the United States before working at Performing Lines, however the roles were very diverse and not as formalized as this one. I am passionate about creating spaces that allow people to explore and express themselves through creative expression. Especially in the socio-political climate of today’s world I find it increasingly necessary to create such spaces because art opens doors between hearts and we need as many doors connecting as many hearts as we can.


What prompted you to expand to working with us, and how have you found the change from artist to Associate Producer?

I absolutely love it! I love the stage, but I didn’t realised how much I would also love being behind the scenes. It gives me a chance to really focus on nurturing and empowering other people to find voices, and occupy spaces in a meaningful and impactful kind of way. Instead of making my own way within the Australian arts landscape, which I have found quite hard to navigate as an outsider, I wanted to join an organization that was already established within the sector so I could learn and grow as a Producer. I couldn’t be luckier to have joined Performing Lines.


Can you tell us a bit more about some of the exciting projects you are working on for 2017?

Within my capacity as a Producer at Performing Lines WA I am currently working on the Small Voices Louder Regional Tour through Western Australia.

And I have a few other things up my sleeve for the second half of the year but I don’t want to spill all the beans!


You are also involved in a wide range of humanitarian works, where do you find the energy and time to do everything?

There is a saying in our tradition that the most successful people are those who are “ibn al waqt” which loosely translates as son of the moment. Which is to say, that in order to succeed one must be living in the present, fully. No procrastination. No to-do lists for the next day. But now, here, in this moment. A carpe diem of sorts.

There is so much to do in the world, and with the immense privilege I have been afforded, to always be engaged in endeavours that I absolutely love, I find it impossible to let life pass me by. I find that I must hustle, on all fronts, and offer what I can to the world. As much as I can. This is the only way I know how to show my gratitude for the myriad of opportunities I have been given.

If I work with that mindset, the energy comes, the blessings flow. I just have to keep reminding myself that it is okay to say “no” (twenty five years later I still haven’t learnt how) and that I don’t have to do everything or change the world even. As long as I’m working on being the best version of myself, I hope, one day that will inspire some small change.

Everybody loves a bit of procrastination and I am not exception but in those moments, I always remind myself of this poem:

And the days are not full enough

And the nights are not full enough

And life slips by like a field mouse

Not shaking the grass.

-Ezra Pound-

I hope to keep shaking the grass for as long as I have life in me.

Filed under Uncategorized

OPPORTUNITY | Navigating the touring jungle

Posted by Thom Smyth, February 14th, 2017

So you were one of the 750 shows that featured as part of this year’s Fringe World Festival. You think your show has legs, and you want another opportunity to revisit it and give it a further life. What do you do next?

There are many avenues for touring your show, but finding your way through the jungle can be a little daunting. Fear not – we’ve got a handy round up to help point you in the right direction for your work.

Our biggest tip – do your research! Jump onto some venue websites to see what they are programming – it’s the venues that make the ultimate decision what goes on their stages. Check out the showcase events and what sort of shows they are featuring. Have a chat to other artists who have toured.

Performing Lines & Performing Lines WA
At Performing Lines WA, we work with independent Western Australian contemporary artists to get their projects off the ground, including regional and national tours. Recent tours we have completed include Sensorium Theatre’s immersive production for children with disabilities, Oddysea, and The Skeletal System’s Great White by Will O’Mahony.

We also have offices in Sydney and Hobart. Our Sydney office works with artists and companies in any state, while Hobart focusses on Tasmanian artists.

Our focus is on producing contemporary performance – check out our artistic policy here. There are a number of other options that may be a better fit for more traditional theatre, comedy, circus and dance shows.


National Touring Selector
The first step to getting on the road is to head over to the National Touring Selector to register your production. The NTS is a virtual market for performing arts, bringing together producers and presenters, and offering a comprehensive list of resources and contacts. It is also used by many of the showcase events to take registrations of shows.


Country Arts WA
Western Australia has a number of options available to support and tour your production. Country Arts WA may be a good first stop for you. They offer an annual Shows on the Go program touring self-contained productions to a mix of managed and volunteer run venues. Want to know more? https://www.countryartswa.asn.au/our-services/touring/

Shows on the Go program
Shows on the Go promotes professional, self-contained productions, and is a community-driven touring model where regional venues vote for the productions they would most like to see performed in their town. An annual Shows on the Go Touring Menu is produced via shows registered on the National Touring Selector website. For information for touring in 2018, please contact the touring team at touring@countryartswa.asn.au

Maybe (   ) Together’s Small Voices Louder successfully pitched at WA Showcase 2016.

This is a state-based showcase bringing together West Australian artists and companies with presenters and venues. The Circuitwest WA Showcase will be held on 10 til 12 May 2017 at the Subiaco Arts Centre. Circuitwest is the peak body representing Presenters and Producers in Western Australia.

At last year’s showcase, Alex Desebrock of Maybe (   ) Together pitched the aMoment Caravan and Small Voices Louder. Performing Lines WA picked up Small Voices Louder, and we’ve just opened the premiere at Perth International Arts Festival, while aMoment Caravan just completed a successful season as part of The Blue Room Theatre’s Summer Nights program.

Submissions are open until 1 March 2017 and feature a variety of different categories to represent your work in the showcase. To submit your show for consideration, click here.

Not sure about pitching? We’d recommend attending a day to see how it all works and seeing if it’s an appropriate forum for your show.

Also – check out the Circuitwest website for a list of venues, news and more.


APACA PAX (Performing Arts Exchange)
The Performing Arts Exchange (PAX) is the Australian Performing Arts Centres Association’s (APACA) networking and tour development event. The accompanying APACA Conference also offers professional development opportunities with international guest speakers. This year’s event will take place in Sydney from 21 to 24 August 2017. Applications to present at the event will open in April.

Showbroker, a new performing arts market opportunity, will be launched in Adelaide from 27 February to 1 March 2017, during the Adelaide and Adelaide Fringe festivals. Producers of tour-ready work will be pitching – check out the full program here>>

arTour is Queensland’s state-based touring coordinator. It supports performing artists and producers from all around the country to tour work through regional Queensland. arTour runs an annual touring showcase event and will be hosted at the Redland Performing Arts Centre on 21 and 22 March 2017. Applications to pitch have now closed – keep an eye out for next year.

Regional Arts Victoria
Regional Arts Victoria are Victoria’s touring body. Partnering with the Victorian Association of Performing Arts Centres (VAPAC),  Regional Arts Victoria runs an annual performing arts marketplace Showcase Victoria – this year’s event will be held at Malthouse Theatre from 31 May – 1 June 2017. Applications to pitch have now closed – keep an eye out for next year.

Nicola Gunn’s Piece for Person and Ghetto Blaster. Performing Lines secured a recent New York season at APAM 2016.


Australian Performing Arts Market
If you think your show has international appeal, the Australian Performing Arts Market (APAM) is Australia’s internationally focused event for contemporary performing arts. Held bi-annually in Brisbane, applications to be part of the 2018 program will open later this year.


A range of funding is available to individuals and performing arts organisations for touring.

The Department of Culture and the Arts (DCA)
The Regional and Remote Touring Fund (RRTF) supports performing arts shows touring to regional and remote towns and communities in Western Australia, and is available for performing arts organisation or artists with a ‘tour ready’ show who can demonstrate support from a minimum of two regional presenters, venues, or communities in regional WA.

Smaller tours may be possible through the Creative and Commercial Development grants system – click here for more info>>

Travel-only support is also available to assist with the costs of pitching at interstate showcase events. Check out the Commercial Development Grants Program for more info.

Australia Council for the Arts
The Playing Australia: Regional Performing Arts Touring program supports performing arts to reach regional and remote communities  across Australia. These grants are available for individuals and organisations to support the net touring costs associated with national (multi-state) touring.

Smaller tours may be possible through their other grants programs. Click here for more info>>


Both arTour and Circuitwest websites offer a collection of helpful resources, including tips, templates and videos, when planning a tour.

Still confused? Give us a shout! Shoot an email through to Thom Smyth, Marketing Manager – thom@performinglineswa.org.au