With the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic having an impact on many industries across the globe, including our own creative sector, a new online theatre development initiative kicks off this week with Amity Dry’s The (M)other Life on Tuesday 21 April 2020.
Facilitated by James Millar (The Lady in the Van, Matilda The Musical, The Hatpin), the Hope. New Work Development Initiative seeks to undertake a number of online workshops to continue the development of new works while most of the industry is in shutdown.
“One thing we can do in isolation is read. And reading new works and sharing our voices is a way we can stay productive and interested,” said Millar. “This isn’t a theatre company or a business. It’s a way for the community to keep exercising a creative muscle during this period.”
“We currently don’t have a profession- which is vital in the world. As a cultural necessity, though, we need our professional feeling engaged with their skill until the profession is rebuilt.”
Following a call out back in March, in just a few days, Millar was inundated with support from across the sector – including writers, performers, creatives and musicians – who have submitted works for consideration, or keen to be part of this unique process.
“This is not an initiative led by me. It’s an initiative driven by the amazing people who put their hands up to exercise their creative muscles and develop works for the future of new theatre,” said Millar.
“It’s easy to give up when we can’t collect together. But with our technology, we can make new contacts and communities whilst fostering the writers process during this period. This is for the creative spirit to be maintained. Because mental and creative health in the arts community is vital for the world after this thing passes,” added Miller.
The first live streaming event will present Amity Dry’s exciting new musical, The (M)other Life on Tuesday 21 April 2020 (7.00pm). Directed by Petra Kalive, Samm Hagen, Amanda Harrison, Natalie O’Donnell and Jennifer Vuletic will read and sing through the work, accompanied by Jamie Burgess on piano. The work will be broadcast from the Palais – a new venue in Geelong.
The (M)other Life is about mothers, wives and their complicated lives. The musical centres around four best friends; Jessie, who’s returned from six years abroad to plan the wedding of the century; Kate, a career focused entrepreneur who doesn’t like kids but has just done a positive pregnancy test; Bec, a stay at home mum of three who’s trying not to lose her mind and Lily, a busy café owner who appears to have the perfect life, if only her husband would speak to her.
Every Friday the women meet in Lily’s cafe and share their lives with one another, revealing the often-unspoken realities of relationships, parenthood and the juggle to ‘do it all’. Through their every-day experiences we witness a raw, heart-warming and laugh-out-loud look at the challenges we all face, the strength of women and the power of friendship.
A further nine works are scheduled over the coming weeks, including:
The Sooterkin by Diana Simmonds (Thursday 30 April)
Gold by Jess Newman and Richard Lindenfelzer (Thursday 7 May)
The Mentor by Josh White (Thursday 14 May)
Beau wants to Be a Billionaire by Conor Neylon and Jackson Peele (Thursday 21 May)
Conversations with Berlin by Jessie Monk (Thursday 28 May)
Coburg, Melbourne by Michael Bingham and Nicholas Gentile (Thursday 4 June)
The Lorelei and The Siren by Geoff Wallis (Thursday 11 June)
Tied Up With Strings by A.J. Ridefelt (Thursday 18 June)
The Water Code by Vicki Larnach (Thursday 25 June)
Image: Amity Dry (supplied)