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!
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!
Sensorium Theatre have packed up the beach and travelled down to the Mandurah Performing Arts Centre for a public pilot season of Oddysea.
Previously only available to children in Education Support Centres, we’ve opened the beach for children with special needs and their families and hosted our first early years performances, all with the assistance of Australian Government’s NGCS funding.
We’re trialling a new inclusive performance model that allows parents and siblings of children with disabilities to attend the performance as a family, along with a new method for delivering support materials including the soundtrack and story books.
The early years shows have also been a big hit – Crab and Turtle have met a whole new legion of fans!
We’re further refining both public shows and seeking presentation partners from 2015 and beyond.
Check the image gallery below to see some really lovely images from Jessica Wyld Photography.
The Performing Lines WA team will be at the APACA Conference in Hobart from 1 – 3 July presenting three breakout sessions of James Berlyn’s Crash Course, and an encounter session for Sensorium Theatre’s Oddysea.
Royal Society Room – Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery
Producer Contact: Fiona de Garis
Wednesday 2 July | 11.35am – 12.35pm & 3.00pm – 4.00pm
Thurs 3 July | 1.45pm – 2.45pm
The Magic Hour is embarking on a mammoth five state and territory, 23 venue national touring, opening tonight at Queensland Theatre Company’s Bille Brown Studio. The show’s star, internationally-renowned performer Ursula Yovich, brings a fresh, urban flavour to classic Grimm’s fairy tales in the swansong performance from Fremantle’s now-closed Deckchair Theatre. Ursula took time out from rehearsals to answer some quick questions from Performing Lines WA’s Thom Smyth.
TS: You’ve performed on every main stage and with every major theatre company in Australia. What was it that excites you about The Magic Hour? UY: The Magic Hour gave me the opportunity to do a play where I was not playing an indigenous character and to play complex and dramatically full roles on stage and it’s fun.
TS: You have appeared as the solo performer in a number of works, including The Magic Hour and your own show Magpie Blues. Are you drawn to this sort of raw performer/audience relationship, or it is it completely terrifying?! UY: It’s always terrifying! I think I’m losing my nerve but then I get up and I have to push everything out of my mind and tell the story. That’s the hardest thing for me to do as my mind is always talking. I do like the rawness and hope I get better at controlling the terror and enjoying the interaction more.
TS: You’ve won and been nominated for numerous Helpmann Awards, featured on stage and screen around Australia and the world…is there a stand-out moment you’ll never be able to forget? UY: I’ve never been in a production with Cate Blanchett, perhaps one day? Who knows? I don’t really have one stand-out performance. I have always found in every performance a moment that I like. I try and find something about every performances that I like.
TS: What can’t you live without when you’re on the road touring? UY: For this particular production I would have to say I can’t live without The Magic Hour script. I always go through my scripts before I go in stage, they’re my security blanket.
TS: The Magic Hour is visiting venues across five states and territories, including seasons with the Queensland Theatre Company and Darwin Festival. Is there anywhere on the tour particularly close to your heart. UY: Darwin is close to me – I have a love-hate relationship with the place I grew up in. I have a desire to go back and live there but after visits I change my mind but then a few months later I sway back to wanting to live there.
The Magic Hour national tour commences 20 May 2014, travelling through Queensland, New South Wales, ACT, Victoria and the Northern Territory. Keep up to date on the tour with the hashtag #MagicHourTour
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.