In his fifth and final program as Creative Producer of Theatre Works, Daniel Clarke curates a compelling season of work from the USA, Britain, Scotland, Germany and Holland as well as five world premieres and two remounts from MTC and Malthouse independent seasons.
In its largest program to date the company will present 17 works, four of which have been selected on the VCAA playlist for Drama and Theatre Studies alongside three critically acclaimed and award winning shows from the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in 2015.
“I hope that my final program captures my contribution to the very rich history of Theatre Works,” says Clarke. “This really is an exciting program for both artists and audiences and pretty much says without apology, that this is the type of work that I love and I think should be seen on our stages. It’s queer, inclusive, culturally diverse, challenging, political, disruptive and hugely entertaining.”
Opening the season in 2016 is Penny Arcade: Longing Last Longer, Edinburgh’s only double award winning show from New York’s undisputed queen of the underground. Driven by her magnetic rock n’ roll energy, Penny Arcade creates a crack in the post-gentrified landscape where you can think, laugh and dance – all at the same time. The show will also tour to Adelaide and Brisbane.
Exclusively to Melbourne, Volker Gerling’s Portraits in Motion is a show based on a collection of flipbooks he created while walking through Germany. Gerling shows the audience a selection of his favourite portraits by holding each one under a video camera so that its moving images are projected onto a large screen. This show won the 2015 Total Theatre Award for innovation in Edinburgh.
Winner of the prestigious Herald Angel Award at the 2014 Edinburgh Festival Fringe, Caroline Bowditch’s Falling In Love With Frida is an intimate and enticing performance that explores the life, loves and legacy of painter Frida Kahlo.
From Holland comes Blind, a French/Dutch and Australian collaboration with Black Hole Theatre Company and Duda Paiva Company. In this new solo work, renowned dancer/puppeteer Duda Paiva draws on his childhood growing up in Brazil, during which he suffered an illness that blistered his body and left him temporarily blind.
UK artist Natasha Davis’ highly experimental work Internal Terrains explores life as a choreography of decades, in search of what’s at stake as we move from one decade to another. Poetic and sensual, the performance plays chords with films and installations, crows, cages and electric shocks and features in in the Festival of Live Art (FOLA).
Australian artists that feature in the program include acclaimed independent company Little Ones Theatre with their sell-out and critically lauded MTC Neon Festival production of Dangerous Liaisons; while Nat Cursio and Nicola Gunn collaborate to create Playing Shop a new live art work for all ages. This will be an art-shop run by children, where the art is made on site by visitors who are offered Cursio and Gunn as canvas.
Anti-Hamlet by Mark Wilson uses the cultural capital of Shakespeare’s tragedy to create a contemporary Australian comedy-tragedy-burlesque; The Orchid And The Crow by Daniel Tobias and dramaturgy by Casey Bennetto – features original songs from the award-winning writers of Die Roten Punkte.
The Resistable Rise of Arturo Ui directed by Phil Rouse is Brecht’s satirical allegory about the rise of Hitler in the lead up to WWII, and Earshot performed by Kate Hunter is a unique performance based on private conversations gathered from around the world made public.
The world premiere of Animal directed by Susie Dee sees performers Nicci Wilks and Kate Sherman prepare themselves for society – one punch at a time. Animal takes raw physicality to new heights and asks the question: how do women respond to a world that celebrates the brutishness of men?
Theatre Works will also play a vital role in the growth and development of visionary artists to present new live performances. In 2016 the organisation is taking this support to a new and invaluable level by enabling two works to be developed entirely in the venue over six week periods.
The Access All Areas residency model will provide unrivalled support in the development and presentation of ARTHUR’s Bright World and Optic Nerve’s The Mill On the Floss. Both companies will be in residency at Theatre Works for six weeks each as they make their works.
Following the success of last year’s inaugural Directors Lab: Melbourne, the Lab returns in 2016. Participating directors will share their skills, methodologies and learnings within a community of peers through masterclasses, workshops, and explorations. The company continues its partnerships with Melbourne Festival, Brisbane Powerhouse, Adelaide Fringe, Melbourne International Comedy Festival, St Martins Youth Arts Centre, Arts House and Footscray Community Arts Centre.
“My trip to Edinburgh last year was so inspiring and I’m thrilled that I’ve been able to present some of these artists to Australian audiences,” says Clarke. “And as for Australian artists, I’m just stoked that I’ve been able to finish my time at Theatre Works working with some of our best and certainly most interesting theatre makers.”
For more information, and complete program, visit: www.theatreworks.org.au for details.
Image: Little Ones Theatre’s Dangerous Liaisons (supplied)