Dreamhouse Development Photo: Christophe Canato

Dreamhouse – currently in construction

Posted by Morgan Leek, November 1st, 2011

Welcome to Dreamhouse. Current address 8 Phillimore St Fremantle, and renovations are under way. Please wear your hard-hat when entering the site as bodies are flying through the air.

Words: Ella Hetherington, Pinstripe Circus

For the past 14 days the Pinstripe Dreamhouse mob (Sally Richardson, Ella Hetherington, Ross Vegas, Dawn Pascoe, Nat Kell, Caludia Alessi, Jacob McGrath and Aidyn Blaiss) have been locked away in the heart of the Old Customs House Fremantle, home to the WA Circus School. Each morning the jeans come off, the leggings go on, and before anyw arm up we play ‘adult’ Mechano. For 20mins we lift poles, clip blue and yellow to silver, switch on the brakes, and what emerges each morning is our Dreamhouse.

Then the team hit the matts, stretching, comparing bruises, musing on why the left buttock is sore but not the right…a brief gossip, and then the group warm up. We have rolled into the floor with no arms then no legs, we have pulled each others arms and worked each others shoulders, hips and hammies, we have walked in time (and out of time), we have rolled each other in blankets, Oh yes, and tumbled. Then we go home, to our ‘Dreamhouse’ home.

Week one…Performers play, acquaint themselves with the new cast member and new apparatus; A 7m high, by 8m wide goddess, brimming with possibility and hope for the future. Like any new relationship we all threw ourselves at her with gusto and passion… we climbed to new heights, we played games, laughed, jumped into oblivion, flirted, sang badly, got drunk and threw ourselves off the edge. It wasn’t always smooth sailing, she bites and she bruises. She is not an easy ride. But we are in love.

The first weekend rolls in, it’s a Saturday afternoon and we all reconvene. It’s not a normal day. We are letting our new love run free for the afternoon, or be freely ran upon. 20 Parcorers moved in, on and around. Stealthily, cat like, sexy, dangerous, and free. The team watched in awe. Taking notes, taking photos and videos assuming that if we watch them intensely enough maybe we will become like them! We are moved beyond jealousy they are the perfect fit! They are made for each other. But we are still in with a chance!

Week two…Our physical approach has changed. We have seen new ways of working her that we hadn’t previously. The bruises have faded and we are all feeling strong and ready for round 2. We may not be as stealthy, and as quiet and sure footed, but we are working on it! The week sees scenes forming, set ideas changing and morphing, the emergency room at Freo hospital (all is fine!), window play, harness work, climbing, sandpit dreaming, lots of climbing and CHOGM…mmm yes. Ella and Ross were relying on cloning to have been fully developed by this point, but to no avail. Someone had to go and entertain the children of CHOGM! Massive week but time apart, even though it were brief, made the heart grow stronger…

With a strong commitment to not stressing out about the showing (what showing?) in a week we continue to play, discover and fall for, not off, our beauteous beast.

PS The Queen of the Commonwealth may have left, but the Queen of ‘new’ circus arrives tomorrow…Please welcome Anni Davey into the madhouse of DREAMHOUSE!

Ella Hetherington
Performer, Pinstripe Circus


The Lost Boys Creative Development

Posted by Morgan Leek, May 6th, 2011

The Lost Boys

The Lost Boys, 2010 Creative Development, Photo: Otilee Lamb

As a new producer for Performing Lines WA, I had the privilege to work closely on the creative development for a new show by Pinstripe Circus at the beginning of April.  This is the first project I have taken on with Performing Lines WA and is a great opportunity for me as I have worked with Ross and Ella from Pinstripe on a couple of projects and love their energy.

After doing an initial development in October last year, the Pinstripe creative team knew they wanted to create a large outdoor circus-theatre work so decided that the next instalment should be about realising the set structure and how such a design might drive the creative content of the work.  And who better to help them achieve this but the infamous and renegade outdoor master of largess – Joey Ruigrok van der Werven.

Having worked on many a creative development in my time, I found Joey’s process refreshingly practical.  Pinstripe had a storyboard and ideas for a narrative show based on Peter Pan but after consulting with Joey on a potential set for the work, decided they should focus only on the key themes of the story and see where Joey’s creative process might take them.

In some developments I have found that it can be all too easy to discuss character, dramatic themes and enter in to endless provocations about what a show could be, finding ourselves buried in a creative hole with no clear path to find our way out again!!!.  However, Joey’s process was very practical, looking at ways to extract physical scenes, asking us not to explain what we think should happen but describe in action.  This was a way to constantly challenge ourselves to think of what we were seeing, not what we were trying to say.

Working through a number of clear steps such as listing the types of circus tricks that could be included and the emotion or meaning that might be conveyed by these,  we then looked at the environment this could happen in and what kind of props could be used that related to the set and story.  We were constantly kept in the physical realisation of the work, rather than simply the emotive or thematic.

After only 4 days, the circus work had evolved to be a FREE outdoor work, in-line with the street art philosophy of bringing art to the people and original notions of freedom and rebellion.  The set structure was made in miniature and the creative team acted out potential scenes that were physical manifestations of particular characters, relationships or even time frames in the show’s life.  This immediately showed us what might be exciting to watch and what may pale against the set, it also provided guidance about the number of performers needed to compete with such a large and potentially overpowering structure.

The plan now is to work towards a 3rd development stage in October when part of the set will be built so that scenes can be experimented with by artists/devisors to find out the capacity of the performers, set and strength of what this will actually say.  Of course, as a producer my challenge is to investigate how we might be able to get a work of such magnitude to our audience without banking on box office income!!  It will be a fantastic challenge to seek partners for this project and perhaps it will help to instigate new dialogue with funding bodies about how we can bring exciting large artistic projects to the people that really support us – our audience!

Written by Rachael Whitworth, Producer for Performing Lines WA

This project is supported by the Department of Culture and the Arts and the West Australian Theatre Development initiative (WATDI).

The Lost Boys Photoshoot

Posted by Morgan Leek, November 10th, 2010

(Left – Right) Otilee Lamb, Ross Vegas, Leon Krasenstein. Photo: Sarah Rowbottam

A few weeks ago the creative team behind The Lost Boys (Pinstripe Circus and Sally Richardson) piled into local street artist Steve Buckles’ (aka Hurben) temp studio space at the new one40William Shopping Centre for a photo shoot.

Tucked between ‘Fashion & Accessories’, Steve, who is also collaborating with the team on The Lost Boys was offered a three month residency at one40William, which enables him to take over various retail tenancies currently available for lease. His studio was the perfect backdrop for our first shot at creating a look for the show.

As I mentioned in my first post about this photoshoot (which you can read here), The Lost Boys is currently in first stage creative development. For some, this is quite an early time to start talking promo photoshoots. Whilst most people wait until the rehearsal stage of a show before they get snapping, this team – lead by Sally Richardson, wanted to kick start the process a year or two before and slowly evolve The Lost Boys look through a very visual, collaborative process. After being through the development with them, I actually think they might be onto something.

(Left – Right) Sally Richardson, Ella Hetherington, Ross Vegas. Photo: Sarah Rowbottam

On the day, we were joined by creative prowess photographer Otilee Lamb, who had worked with us before on Tawdry Heartburn’s Manic Cures by James Berlyn. Her knack for adding a touch of absurdity into all things beautiful was perfect for The Lost Boys brief and again, she didn’t cease to come up with something eye catching.

Leon Krasenstein, who is the designer for The Lost Boys, brought half of WAAPA’s costume department with him, offering everything from 9-5 suits to fish tail ball gowns.

Ella Hetherington. Photo: Sarah Rowbottam

And of course, the stars of the show – Ella Hetherington and Ross Vegas (Pinstripe Circus) brought their enthusiasm and flexibility to the fort by balancing on paint tins and wearing bizarre antlers Steve had made from sticky tape. As Ella and Ross come from a circus background, this was also an opportunity to‘re-style’ Pinstripe Circus and move away from the more traditional street based performance aesthetic they are accustomed too.

(Left – Right) Ella Hetherington, Ross Vegas, Otilee Lamb. Photo: Sarah Rowbottam

In short, this was a no pressure shoot which enabled the team to explore a variety of avenues for how The Lost Boys could look. The team was able to make stylistic choices together which could inform the aesthetic of the show. They were able to reflect on what worked and what didn’t.

From my perspective, it is actually a huge benefit to have promotional photos of a show when it is in development. It not only enables preliminary marketing and publicity, it is adds to your support material when applying for funding or sourcing sponsorship. My initial qualms have been assured; Sally Richardson is definitely onto something.

Photo: Otilee Lamb Styling: Leon Krasenstein Direction: Sally Richardson Performers: Ella Hetherington, Ross Vegas Artwork (background): Stephen Buckles (Hurben)

Check out other images from this shoot by clicking here!

Sarah Rowbottam, Communications Manager, Performing Lines WA

FINAL DAY – Creation

Posted by Pinstripe Circus, October 22nd, 2010

Last day of part one of “the lost boys” creative development

Among many other artistic adventures, we have picked apart the original text; who would have imagined “Peter Pan” to be so densely layered with psychological, sociological truths?

I guess that’s why some texts endure, while most fade into obscurity; they capture the fundamental anxieties, frustrations and hopes common to people from whatever time.

If JM barries neverland is the landscape of a childs imagination, populated with “redskins” and pirates, mermaids and faries, what would that landscape look like today? Terrorists and ninjas? Or just a barren canvas, with a playstation sized hole?

Hey, whatever happened to the future? From retro space images from the 50s to the 70s I can see that there used to be a hope that technology would lead us into a utopian fantasy. Sure, there were clearly fears of an orwellian dystopia as well, but now it feels like survival is all we can hope for. Where is my hover car? It seems that our hopes for technology now are carbon capture and hybrid engines, not instant teleportation and ships to take us beyond the stars, but different versions of things we already have, so that the abundance of things wont drag us over the precipice of environmental armageddon.

Has our imagination failed us? Have we, as a society, forgotten the neverland? Is human creativity running out like fossil fuel and afordable housing?

stay tuned for the lost boys…

DAY 7 – Finding Neverland

Posted by Morgan Leek, October 19th, 2010

Another awesome day where we met up with sound man Ben and talked more on who and what are Lost Boys, and our various.

Leon went off to track down clothing for the shoot tomorrow, while the rest of the gang hits the road in Steve’s blue van for the street art mystery tour..

We look at an array of sites, including the awesome Condor Tower Carpark which blows the senses… floor after floor of street art, and where it feels as if the walls and their collective of crazy creatures are talking to us…

We land in Steve’s ultra moderne studio in an inner city building scape, and here learn the fine arts of stencil art and spraying with an even sweep..Our resulting effort is attached above.

Looking forward to tomorrow’s photo session back in Steve’s studio with Otilee Lamb and Sarah R… then to the VIP site visits on Wednesday. Joey R has also started a dialogue which is great.

Sally Richardson, Director/ Dramaturg, The Lost Boys