Wednesday, February 1, 2012

A flurry of local arts activity to start the year! An update from Kylie

Emerging artists Alison Plevey and Adam Deusien are currently working together on Synthesis a new project developed with the assistance of Regional Arts Fund through Arts OutWest and Local Stages at BMEC. They have just completed some workshops which went really well. Alison and Adam are now working with a cast of 9 to develop their new physical theatre/dance work - which will be performed in early May. They are also looking at performing a section of the work at Catapult Festival at the end of March, and possibly taking some of the young dancers to the Australian Dance Festival in Gosford in April. So exciting to see young regional dancers have an opportunity to work with these exciting emerging artists.
Alison has let us share her journal over the last few weeks – here are some of her entries:

"Really enjoyed 2nd day, it is amazing to share with each other our practices and uncover the similarities and differences within them. Adam is such an inspired and intelligent artist, which motivates me to really engage with him and his interests as well as conjure my own ideas"

"Taking two roles, training Adam and being trained, helps me to reconnect with my artistic background as well as allowing the freedom to receive new information and test new approaches to performance and creation. It is interesting to notice my reactions to these new creative methods and physical challenges that are foreign to me. Soaking it all in."

"After a wonderfully engerised and rewarding weekend of community workshops and audition, Adam and I, with our group of 9 young performers, began the creative development phase of synthesis. Eagerly jumping into some further training in dance technique and physical theatre as well as giving the performers an introduction to the creative processes that Adam and I have explored during our lab. Working towards a shared understanding of training and creative practice that can form a foundation for our creative process over the next few months. We have coined this shared understanding as the "toolbox" to which we and the performers can continue to add to and draw from."

Pic from workshop

Becky Russell is currently working on (well everything!) but particularly with Nicole Henriksen on her new show Technicolour Sarcasm, which will be performed at the Ponton Theatre on 22 February (O-Week at CSU). Nicole made quite an impression at the last Cabaret Kite. (some of the audience loved her, while others where not so sure). Nicole’s sense of humour is quirky and not for the faint hearted! javascript:void(0)
Performances at Cabaret Kite also included Michelle Griffin trying out some pieces from a new show she is working on – since that showing the script has had some more work, and is looking good for performances in March. Cabaret Kite is a wonderful opportunity for local artists to try out new work, and for local audiences to support the array of exciting talent in the region. Cabaret Kite will continue in 2012. The next one will be mid year – look out for more information coming soon.
Images from Glam Rock Cabaret Kite December 2011 are now on facebook..

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Cold Times Are Here

While it has been snowing outside of late, we are working hard at BMEC and Local Stages to keep warm and to keep developing local performing arts.

Toward the end of last month we had Untrained at BMEC – which gave 2 local lads – Callum Lofts and James Surplice (follow the links to see their interview footage) an amazing opportunity to work with two professional performers.

The show was a wonderful insight into the world of professional theatre making and contemporary dance. Untrained was performed at Bathurst and the company then made their way through the ice and snow to Orange Civic Theatre for one night.
After the performances the guys held a breif Q&A to allow the audience to to ask their burning questions about the concept of the show. (Video Below)

Contemporary dance has certainly taken off this year for the boys and girls! Every weekend a group of dedicated young women from the region have been working in City Hall with guest artist Ghenoa Gela (Gee).
Gee has been visiting Bathurst recently as part of BMEC's Aboriginal Performing Arts Program to teach hip hop.

The girls are certainly dancing up a storm. They performed at Marramarra (Wiradjuri for ‘make, create, do’) A regional gathering and showcase of Aboriginal Arts from the Central West region of NSW presented by Arts OutWest at BMEC on Tuesday 12 July, and it looks like two of these girls will be heading off to NAISDA for workshops later this year which is very exciting! Prior to Gee coming to Bathurst Alison Plevey (Talk2Me) had been working with this group since March.

Linsey Pollak is a visiting artist at School of Communication and Creative Industries at CSU. A partnership formed between CSU and BMEC Local Stages program means that Linsey will also be doing some community workshops.
Linsey is well known for making music with found objects and even uses carrots as clarinets.
Linsey will be performing his show 'Passing Wind' tonight (6pm) at the Ponton Theatre at CSU as well as holding a workshop.

Another musician of a very different style is also coming to BMEC this month. Nick Christo is here with his Cabaret The Fabulous Francis Faye in Australia on July 15 & 16th.
While here, Nick will be running a master class for 10 lucky local singers. Nick is a graduate of WAAPA (Western Australia Academy of Performing Arts) and has had several successful musical theatre roles in My Fair Lady, The Hatpin, The Mikado, Barber of Seville, Fiddler on The Roof, Titanic, Me & My Girl and Camelot.

Nick also has several cabaret and television credits and was the Assistant Director on Gutenberg The Musical, which received a Helpmann nomination. Nick has also been the recipient of the 2008 Sydney Theatre Critic Award for Best Cabaret, the 2007 Short & Sweet Song Festival and the 2005 Sydney Cabaret Showcase Competition for Best Newcomer.

Finally, for the kiddies we have classic storytelling coming to life in BOATS where the story of two stranded mariners unfolds as props are created in front of the audience. A boat is made from a baguette, an oriental man from a teacup and a sail from a tabletop.
BOATS is a high quality and very entertaining performance that kids will love and the parents will have a chuckle as well.
Keep an eye out for more info on BOATS before it comes to BMEC on Thursday July 21 for two days with both evening and daytime performances.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Local stages creating cultural hub

Our local stages are busy with work in performance and in rehearsal. The wealth of material which our performing artists are exploring is exciting and confirming for me that Bathurst is the cultural hub in the central west.
Next week we have Version 1.0 in Bathurst rehearsing their new show, The Disappearances Project, which has been created following a research and development period in Bathurst in 2010. Version 1.0 last performed in Bathurst with their show ‘Deeply Offensive and Utterly Untrue” which was a striking and memorable production. It has been wonderful to work with Version 1.0 and to have them here for the premiere of this new production, which will be a deeply emotional work – which traces the trajectories of hope, anger and grief over years of police investigations in a range of unexplained disappearances, Version 1.0 will explore the effects of long term missing persons cases on family members and regional communities. The Disappearances Project

While V1.0 are in Bathurst, we will be chatting with them – and putting some of our conversations up facebook – be sure to check it out regularly..

Following the premiere of the show on the 8th we also look forward to the Tormentors and Teasers Supper Club - with local duo Fat Wombat performing. The supper clubs at BMEC offer a great opportunity to meet the cast and crew of the show, and a chance to discuss the show with other theatre goers. I love the T&T Supper clubs – I guess I love the idea of having a glass of wine and an opportunity to chat with visiting artists and listening to local music, a perfect way to end a night at the theatre. Ask our box office staff about your ticket to the Supper Club.

Other work in development is of course, The Inland Sea of Sound – an exciting week long world music festival which runs from 10-16 April. This wonderful festival brings local artists together with exciting guests from across the globe. The ‘100 miles picnic’ in Machattie Park from 12noon on the Sunday launches the festival. We invite the community to join us at this free event, which celebrates the diversity of our cultural hub. With music, dance, face painting, local food and wines this event will be a highlight of the festival. For more information about the ISOS Festival see our website and link to the blog which gives details of the program.
The Inland Sea Of Sound

On Becoming A Witch – a site specific work is also coming along. I had a meeting at Yetholme yesterday with Cate McCarthy. The property is so beautiful, and to be there at night with lighting, live music and poetry will be a thrilling experience. Tickets are onsale for the 20& 21 April and they are limited, due to the nature of the performance, don’t miss out..
What's On at BMEC

A big thank you to the volunteers who are helping us out with these shows aand festivals - we couldn't do it all without you! If you want to find out more about volunteering with us - please contact me

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

The Search For A Backyard

The other week we began search for a backyard awesome enough to contain a world of music.
Like last year, the 2011 Inland Sea of Sound has two concerts in two local backyards.
Locals handed in their expressions of interest forms and come application closing day, BMEC manager Stephen Champion, Artistic Director of the festival Aaron Hopper and myself set out on the sunny afternoon to inspect the candidates and make a difficult choice.

After some mild trekking around we had managed to narrow the pool down to three choices, two medium sized, hills hoisted, stock standard aussie backyards and one with a bit of a different style.

The one at the end of Russell st had a nice downhill slope for that nice layered audience feel, and a pre made slab suitable for a stage.

There was also one in Morrisset st which was slightly smaller than the Russell st backyard but did have some nice aesthetic touches such as little colourful lanterns and a cute water feature. There was also a handy rear entrance from Rankin street which we thought could prove useful.

Finally there was the special one. Miss Trails House, which I hadn’t been to since I was a kid at a Carols by Candlelight evening. I had forgotten how big it was.
Right out the back there is a massive block of land suitable for a large mob with extra space for picnic blankets and kids to run around.
We all decided then and there that it would have to be one of the chosen ones.
There is a great spot for a stage right in the centre with the beautiful backdrop of the heritage building behind it and a clear view for the audience from all angles.

We decided that we would go with Miss Trails House and have one really big open concert and one small intimate one. We figured that this also solves one of the major issues from last year where we had to turn so many people away because there just wasn’t the space.
After much debate we are leaning toward the Morrisset St house as we thought it provided a little more atmospheric vibe that fits into the intimate feel we are going for but we will have to see what happens.
You can check out the places on the video below.

The festival itself is really starting to take shape. We have site maps and things planned out and it is getting close real quick. We still need to find a few volunteers to help with stage managing, band managing promotion etc so if that sounds like some experience you would like to have under your belt please contact us on 63336161 or leave a comment on facebook.

Personally I am really looking forward to Lolo Lovina, the gypsy band. I have been checking them out a bit on youtube and I really like the gypsy vibe. Also I love world film so I’m looking forward to the film night where you will be able to come and go as you please and chat and have a few drinks during the screenings.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Phil's look at Feb and The Sand Dwellers

We are approaching the end of another month at BMEC and with it the beginning of the next and our second season show for the year.

Local play The Sand Dwellers has been a significant part of our lives in the last few weeks as this technical giants has been growing and growing on stage.
Looking at the set today it is completely unrecognisable from its makeshift counterpart that I witnessed at its preview a few months ago.

What was before a modest bookshelf holding a handful of videotape props now towers over the stage reaching the lighting bar. There are TV ‘s scattered everywhere all of which are hooked up together (I know a bit about plugging in TV’s and I have no idea how they are doing it) displaying various scenes and logos.

Personally I have only seen the few scenes of the show at the preview in November and read bits and pieces of the script but already I find myself looking forward to seeing what is going to happen to this cast of colourful characters (some more dubious than others)

WIN TV were in this morning to interview The Sand Dwellers writer Kay Nankervis as well as the character John Dunn, and shoot a scene or two which will hopefully be airing on WIN news very soon.

I managed to capture some footage with the trusty BMEC Flipcam and although my cameraman skills leave something to be desired, it does give you a bit of a behind the scenes peek.

And WIN also managed to catch a breif interview with the very busy CEO of network 8 John Dunn

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

What’s Kylie doing on a public holiday in January – by Kylie

Apart from sweltering in the heat I have been reading a play – a new work, by another new local writer Sam Stewart, I’ve also been assisting Zoe from BTC with a funding application. I know, it’s a public holiday – and possibly ‘unAustralian’ to be working (but Ive never been sure about what that really means)

I’m always interested in new opportunities; reading plays, working with young writers and helping to find more funding to support these amazing theatre makers is an incredibly important part of what makes opportunities happen, and therefore makes the Bathurst region a culturally exciting place to live.. and also I’m taking tomorrow afternoon off to head to Sydney to see Gavin Webber & Grayson Millwood’s new work Food Chain which is a part of the Sydney Festival.
Seeing new shows is an exciting part of my job, although seeing new work developing in the region is more so!

I’ve also spent sometime today reflecting on the last few weeks, and thinking about all the exciting productions coming up; This last week has seen Angela Prior and Aaron Hopper back at BMEC, while we plan The Inland Sea of Sound – running from 10 April for 1 week, it is a great festival, which brings world music to Bathurst. This year we are planning a film night as part of the festival. It looks like being another fantastic event, and the nation should start seeing some media coverage for this in the next few weeks. Aaron is also working to assist Flamenco guitarist Andrew Veivers , on his NSW Tour playing a gig with him in Sydney and working with us to support Andrew with a venue for his Bathurst Concert (8 Feb) and workshop (10 Feb). Can’t wait to hear Andrew performing in the Wattle Foyer.

Also in the Wattle Foyer in February, Aaron will be playing at the Tormentors & Teasers Supper Club on the 14th following TURNS . For us theatre boffins it will be a lovely way to spend Valentines Day!

Angela has also been meeting with us to get the Aboriginal Performing Arts Program up and running in 2011, again plans for this program include getting the circus program up and running again, continuing the dance program and offering the girls some radio production training.
Last year one of the girls who has been involved in the program expressed interest in enrolling at TAFE. This would be a wonderful outcome for the program and I’m really looking forward to following her journey. The next APAP meeting with the community is next week and I’m sure it will be informative.
This program has opened my eyes to a range of issues in our region, hopefully some of which we can do our bit to address. Also last week Stephen and I met with Arts OutWest and Desert Pea Media to discuss the Arts OutWest Aboriginal Arts Program through the region.
This partnership will bring great opportunities to the region, including a showcase in July. I’m looking forward to continuing to work with Ted and Tracey at Arts OutWest to develop this further.

This Sunday I will be at BMEC all day – with The Sand Dwellers doing a run on Sunday morning.. can’t wait to have a peak at what Becky and the team have been up to.
Marketing for The Sand Dwellers gets underway this week too...Sunday afternoon will be Alison’s auditions for Talk2Me . I’m looking forward to meeting some of the talented young dancers in the region and getting stuck into the development of this new work.

Also next week our intern Sam will be getting creative with Cate McCarthy at Yetholme, the Witch project is coming together beautifully, and the weekend of 12 and 13 February will be a rehearsal intensive as well as a ‘making’ weekend. We will be inviting the community to join us.. don’t miss out, it will be an afternoon of messy fun while we make lanterns and other props for the show. If you are like me – you will be sure to be learning some new techniques along the way...

So while I watch news footage of police on beaches in Sydney arresting ‘proud Australians’ I consider that I am incredibly lucky to live where I do, I can work at home when it suits me, I have time to spend with my kids, and work with a range of intelligent people with something positive to offer the Cental West, I look forward to working with more and more artists, and the program continuing to develop over the next few years and I hope that those boys on the tele are not the ones that see the evocities campaign..

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Local Stages - what are we up to in January...

Came back to work on January 6 and we haven’t stopped...
On January 10th  rehearsals began for BTC/Local Stages production of The Sand Dwellers, by local writer Kay Nankervis. Local Director Becky Russell is working with a talented cast, including Vince Melton, Susan Douglas and Fiona Halloway. The Sand Dwellers will be performed at BMEC on 24 - 26 February.
Watch out soon - Network 8 is getting its own website..

January 10 was also the beginning of a second creative development  for On Becoming A Witch. This site specific work combines, poetry, music, movement and visual art by writer/musician/artist Cate McCarthy and a talented group of other local and guest artists. It will be performed in Yetholme in April. Its an amazingly beautiful site. Coming back to work at BMEC after spending a few hours onsite is a bit difficult!  Cate along with performers Kate, Lauren and Mary are working their magic - and Keith Manning and his waterphone (along with other instruments) are creating an incredible piece of theatre. Below is just snippet of the work in development this week at Yetholme. Thanks to Phil for this little video..

Coming up soon - January 30 – auditions for Talk2Me will take place at BMEC. Talk2Me is a contemporary dance work to be choreographed by Alison Plevey and Larissa Wilson.
Auditions are open enthusiastic and creative young people 14-26 years. Rehearsals will begin for Talk2Me in February and the show will be performed in Bathurst and Cowra in May. This is another amazing opportunity for young people in Bathurst! Talk2Me has been supported by Australia Council for the Arts.
Talk2Me Auditions Sign-up

Last year I was fortunate enough to spend sometime in New York with Colette Keen (and Kate Smith) it was an amazing time, especially as Colette was working on a verbatim theatre work - Windows on the World, an incredible account of 9/11. The stories that Colette heard while in NY were incredibly moving and I cant wait to see where this work goes. At the end of the month we will be working on a rehearsed reading of the play.

At the moment I am also working on a couple of applications for funding for other projects for this year. It is looking like being another busy and creative year for Local Stages at BMEC.