Sunday, 24 June 2007

Notable happenings this week

Just a quick note to mention a couple of interesting projects being conducted around town this week for and by emerging artist types. Over in Carlton at Shopfront, a wild and stormy Tuesday night saw the first outing of the artists from their year-long "hothousing residency" ArtsLab 07, a program of workshops, training, mentorship, and lots of performance making from a very promising team of young artists. While some works appealed to me more than others, I was particularly impressed by the willingness of the team of artists to face up to tough questions and stern but also constructive feedback from a room full of peers and colleagues. I've never seen a post- work in progress feedback session in which works could be minutely dissected in such a calm and professional manner, and its a credit both to the maturity of these artists, and the generous facilitation of Shopfront's Artistic Director T J Eckleberg. While the elements raged outside, exciting arts practice was being debated in the perhaps unlikely environs of the Rockdale Hotel upstairs bar. A sign of the future?

The ArtsLab artists to watch are: Holly Thompson, Miriam Waks, Alesha Murray, Kevin Ng, Sarah Emery and Natalia Ladyko.

Meanwhile, at PACT in Erskineville, the second in their new initiative Quarterbred has been playing out all week. An extension of their training ensemble program imPACT, Quarterbred gives the theatre space to these artist teams themselves to curate a program of events without oversight to cut loose and choose their own next stage of emergence. Its a big program, full of residencies, showings, forums and performances, and I must confess that I have been lax and have not yet attended. However, its still not too late! There's a fascinating sounding panel at 4pm today on reviewing, and all the speakers are young and emerging artists who also write reviews for various media outlets like the Sydney Stage and fBI radio hosted by the always charming Tiek-Kim Pok, himself a 2005 SPARK mentoree. Sounds interesting, n'est pas? Well worth a look to catch some of the energy of the future of local performance practice. Who knows? Perhaps it will be infectious...

Also, tonight is the last chance for Sydney-siders to see the dark brilliance of Stuck Pigs Squealing's The Eisteddfod at Belvoir St before it heads down south to chilly Melbourne. I thoroughly recommend it, and promise I'll post part 2.2 of my response very soon!

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