Wednesday, 17 December 2008

'Love your work' report released

For those who are interested in staying abreast of federal arts policy, there's an interesting report just released from the Major Performing Arts Board of the Australia Council called 'Love your work'. Researched by Jackie Bailey, the report analyses the theatre sector nationwide, focusing especially on the linkages between the fringe, the small-to-medium sector, and the Major Performing Arts organisations, including career pathways through each of the sectors. Written in refreshingly clear and commonsense language, this is a useful report that connects in interesting ways to the 'Make it New' framework from the Theatre Board of the Australia Council. I'll have something more detailed to say shortly, but the report can be found in its entirety here, as well as several interesting funding initiatives that respond to the reports reccomendations. One of the more interesting reccomendations is the establishment of a national theatre forum, to better maintain dialogue between difference scaled organisations within the sector, and the first such forum is planned for May/June. Which is great, except version 1.0 will be on tour through regional Australia until June 21, and so will probably miss out. Bugger.

Sunday, 7 December 2008

"OK, you should stand by after I enter in a tank. No, even better - when the dog drives off in the taxi"

Long time, no posts. I know that I've said it before, but I can be a very bad blogger. I can safely say however, that there have been many many things to do, and very little time to reflect upon it all. Hopefully there will be some such reflective moments in the alleged holiday that surrounds Christmas time. Perhaps I'll be able to string two days off in a row! Stranger things have happened.

But what to blog? That indeed is the question. The last three months have been action-packed full of cultural activities, to say the least. I've got half conceived responses to at least ten performances gathering virtual dust in various notebooks across my desk, works from Kristy Edmunds' final Melbourne Festival in October, a report on September's hugely significant Liveworks Festival at Performance Space @ CarriageWorks, an account of the symposium event This is the time...this is the record of the time hosted by pvi collective and Artrage in Perth in late October, and then of course reflections on the final demise of the alma mater of so much contemporary performance in Sydney and beyond, Theatre Nepean. I've also pages of notes on inspiring thoughts from recent artist talks and forums including the deeply impressive Critical Art Ensemble's Steve Kurtz at Symbiotica, Kristy Edmunds' Phillip Parsons address in Sydney, and collaborative artists David Haines and Joyce Hinterding at the closing of their installation Telepathy at Performance Space. Along the way I've been grant writing, teaching and university marking, invited to speak at academic and industry events, and confirming artists and presenters for version 1.0's 2009 season (about which I'm inordinately proud of the not-so-subtle half page colour ad in the current issue of RealTime...) And yes, my continued life as a theatre technician. I've just had a very enjoyable, albeit very busy fortnight working on a comedy double bill of The Umbilical Brothers and Jimoen at the Sydney Opera House. While I spent my time with Jimeon catching up on my increasingly overdue university marking, for the Umbilicals I was much more hands-on, appearing a couple of times onstage as a straight guy for their banter to bounce off (they refered to their production manager as 'Tina' and me as 'Cindy', and it always got a laugh). And I had to carry them offstage at the end. The title of this post is a quote from the briefing I received immediately prior to the first performance, which made absolutely no sense at the time. Their show Don't Explain is immensely skillful and deeply entertaining, and shows no sign that its been in repertoire since 1992. I'll point out in passing that like all bar three members of version 1.0, Shane and David from the Umbilical Brothers are Theatre Nepean graduates, and it is beyond sad that this institution, so long brutalised, is now totally extinct, with its custom-made studio spaces demolished to make way for an indoor basketball court. Ah, what fantastic priorities we have here in NSW!

Anyway, perhaps now the madness is subsiding. Somewhat. I have joked in the last month or so that I've become a spreadsheet-based artist, and that my practice now consists of the creative movement of imaginary money across virtual pages, but version 1.0's recent elevation to the ranks of so-called 'Key Organisations' sees this taken to the next level. I currently have on my to-do list a document that I affectionately refer to as the 'Spreadsheet of Death', a document I am contractually obliged to submit to the Australia Council by December 31, despite not being able to determine the true financial position of the company because Arts NSW still has not announced its funding results for arts programs due to commence on January 1, 2009. Yes, that is three weeks away. Yes, we are a state that is very well organised, well-managed, and characterised by effective planning, clear dissemination of information, and workable timelines. Or something like that.

Oh well, at least I'll have Christmas day off...