Critical Stages Touring, Australia’s national touring theatre company, has announce the launch of Come to Where I Am – Australia, a new playwriting program in partnership with the UK’s Paines Plough Theatre Company.
Come to Where I Am – Australia will engage seven regional and rural playwrights from around the country to create a new 10-minute story that is a snapshot of what it is like to live in their part of Australia right now.
These stories will then be turned into short video postcards featuring readings by the playwrights themselves. The readings and works will be showcased on a new digital channel launching on the Critical Stages Touring website in mid-2020.
Given an extraordinary year of bushfires and the Covid-19 pandemic, these works will be a poignant and timely artistic record of an incredible time, as well as a digital map of regional Australia for audiences around the world. Come To Where I Am – Australia will invite audiences to travel, virtually, at a time when visiting these communities is impossible.
The project is based on an exceptionally successful project from UK company Paines Plough – Come to Where I’m From. Since 2010 they have engaged more than 160 playwrights with invitations to write and perform short plays about their home towns and the places that shaped them, distributed globally through their smartphone and tablet apps.
The new works will be filmed at partner performing arts centres or a community venue near to the artists’ home. The works will live beyond their initial digital streams, with live performances to be staged at venues across the country when restrictions are lifted. They will also be hosted on the Paines Plough website.
“Our usual model of performance involves touring artists (predominantly from capital cities) to perform for audiences in regional Australia. At this time with restrictions in travel and gatherings, none of that is possible,” said Chris Bendall, CEO of Critical Stages Touring. “So, we are seeking to invert the model, taking advantage of the interest from audiences in digital platforms to bring stories from regional Australia to the rest of Australia.”
“I’m really pleased to be able to support artists to share with us a little something from their hometowns, and I’m excited to see what stories we will be able to share. I’m also thrilled to be able to partner with Paines Plough for the first time,” said Mr Bendall.
Critical Stages Touring hopes to extend the program through a fundraising campaign that is also underway. Every $1500 raised helps commission one more writer’s story.
Submissions for Come to Where I Am – Australia will be selected via an EOI process and close at midnight, Monday 25 May 2020. For more information, visit: www.criticalstages.com.au for details.
Image: Come To Where I Am – courtesy of Paines Plough