Now I've finally got 2008 out of the way, it's time to plug some fantastic works opening over the next month or so. Despite the grimness of the Arts NSW funding results that effectively decimated the Sydney performance community, there's some exciting work on the way. (Actually, 'decimate', meaning as it does the killing of 1 in every 10, is probably not harsh enough. Given Arts NSW effectively refused funding to what seems to be about 90% of the local performance culture - funding a total of only four theatre projects State-wide, plus a smattering of annual program grants, 'exterminate' is probably a more appropriate term. version 1.0 got lucky, and got two-thirds of our funding request but most of our peers, especially in the independent dance sector, got a big fat nothing. Ironically, these funding results were announced two days before the Sydney Festival's Festival First Night, a major part of which was framed as a celebration of local dance. This one-off event received $1 million from Arts NSW.)
But enough gloom for now. There's some great stuff appearing over February and March.
First up, the amazing UK group Blast Theory is presenting their work Rider Spoke in the Rocks from February 6-15. Last in Sydney back in 2002 with their acclaimed work Desert Rain, Blast Theory's latest work is described as "a unique cycling event which mixes theatre and location game play with state of the art technology." Blast Theory are world leaders in technology-saturated live performance, but unusually for that domain of practice their research and dramaturgy is always excellent as well. Even their conceptually simplest works such as Can you see me now? provide intelligent, surprising, entertaining, and deeply satisfying experiences. Definitely a must see.
For the first time, Performance Space is grouping together six works over the year into a subscription season, a long-overdue idea that's fantastic value. The works are Night Garden by My Darling Patricia (5 - 14 March), Dancenorth/Splintergroup's Roadkill (18 – 21 March, pictured), Martin del Amo's It's a Jungle Out There (17 – 20 June), version 1.0's Hurt and Damage (4 – 12 September) Sue Healey's The Curiosities (29 October - 7 November) and Marrugeku's Burning Daylight (12 – 15 November). All six shows for $120, which is a saving of $10 per ticket, AND there's no booking fee either! For those suffering from the global financial crisis and/or the extortive ticket prices and booking fees for Sydney Festival, Performance Space is offering the best value, and most interesting performance in town. But you need to get in quick! More info online here.
Also upcoming is the 2nd incarnation of The Imperial Panda Festival, playing from February 10-22 at a range of artist-run spaces across Chippendale, Redfern and Surry Hills, and featuring new work by The Suitcase Royale, Brown Council, Nick Coyle and much more. All tickets $12, only at the door. Be quick, and arrive early as every night will sell out. Full program online.
Following Imperial Panda, PACT's Quarterbred initiative has generated its own festival! The Tiny Stadiums Festival, running from around Erskineville from February 24- March 8, features performance works from spat + loogie, James Brown, Deadpan, Kenzie Larsen, Tiek Kim Pok, and much much more, as well as a DVD library and a symposium on February 28. Full program online here.
The fun's only just begun!
Images: Kenzie Larsen's The Word Game Project, Blast Theory's Rider Spoke, Dancenorth/Splintergroup's Roadkill.