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Showing papers in "Australasian Drama Studies in 2005"


Journal Article
TL;DR: Giannachi as discussed by the authors argues that the virtual is a form of remediation, it is both 'about media' and an extension of mediated forms and functions by being ontologically intermedial and metamedial.
Abstract: Gabriella Giannachi, Virtual Theatres: An Introduction (London & New York: Routledge, 2004) In 2003 at the Performance Studies International conference, news was just to hand that the US Federal government had seized property and subpoenaed Steve Kurtz, one of the members of the Critical Arts Ensemble. After the sudden death of his wife, Kurtz's work as a bioartist had come under scrutiny and was regarded as a threat to government and corporate interests. His art practice mimics, experiments with and comments upon the manipulation of biogenctic materials that has become part of the privatised and corporatised sphere of scientific research. This case, in its extreme legal and political form, exemplifies the thesis of Gabriella Giannachi's succinct study of Virtual Theatres that the virtual inflects the real, and is intextricably close to the real, even being mistaken for the real. But the virtual also transforms and intensifies the effects of the real, so that it enables the viewer to see from within how the production of the real is taking place. This intimacy of the virtual with the real raises, as she points out, ethical and political questions but it also does so in the realm of art, through a remaking of aesthetic possibilities. In the introduction Giannachi establishes some key characteristics of the virtual, as they have been theorised during the last thirty years or more. Her central claim is that the virtual is a form of remediation, it is both 'about media' and an extension of mediated forms and functions by being ontologically intermedial and metamedial. While more conventional theatrical frames and realities position the viewer outside the production of illusion, the virtual requires the viewer to enter the simulated reality space, to become immersed in the production of both its meaning and form. In this sense, it is always a performance, subject to both disappearance (as Phelan defines the performative) and to its appearance (its repetitive production as a beginning for new events or interactions). The viewer as participant may interact with a screen, through a series of relatively limited modes of connection, or other machinic extensions that serve as prosthetics of the human body and, in reverse, the human becomes a prosthetics of the machine, a source of data or simulated movement. The ways in which the extended body becomes merged with the interface of the virtual provides the site of play for many of the works discussed. Once the performer-viewer is hooked up or inside the virtual, then they find themselves in newly fashioned environments through the telepresence of the internet or live-streaming, or in a virtual space in which simulated avatars and simulated environments interact. In the remediated world of virtual reality, according to Giannachi, there is a merging of the information society, the world that receives and processes messages from new technologies, and the world of flesh and blood, that is what remains of organic reality. Virtual theatres render visible the differences between the virtual and the real without asserting however, unless you believe Baudrillard literally, that one has replaced the other. But they cannot be separated since the real is already itself recreated and remediated by the virtual. For the relative initiate to this field, Virtual Theatres provides invaluable definitions for the new and essential lexicon of MUDS and MOOs, holopoelry, genart, telematics, knowbotics, QTVR, cyberpunk etc. etc. Moreover each chapter provides a detailed discussion of the layers through which virtual theatre might be approached: hypertextualities, cyborg theatre, the (re)crealion of nature, performing through the hypersurfacc and the aesthetic domain of VR. Key theorists, such as Baudillard, Virilio, Hayles, Haraway, Benedict, Cavallaro, Deleuze, are stitched into the discussion at the beginning of each chapter without making them the focus. In this field there is however a fascinating symbiosis between those that produce theory and those that write about their own work, in much of the literature the artist leads the theorist and produces the discourse. …

42 citations


Journal Article
TL;DR: Wissler et al. as discussed by the authors presented the outcomes of a major two-year ARC funded study into creative practice as research in Australian Higher Education, initiated by Professor Rod Wissler, then Chair of CHAUTSI (Council of Heads of Australian University Theatre Studies Institutions) and backed by the Australian Academy of the Humanities.
Abstract: Rod Wissler et al, ed., Innovation in Australian Arts, Media and Design: Fresh Challenges for the Tertiary Sector (Flaxton, Qld: Post Pressed, 2004) This publication offers a substantial addition to the literature on Australian creative arts and creative industry research. According to the Introduction, it presents the outcomes of a major two-year ARC funded study into creative practice as research in Australian Higher Education, initiated by Professor Rod Wissler, then Chair of CHAUTSI (Council of Heads of Australian University Theatre Studies Institutions) and backed by the Australian Academy of the Humanities. It is thus the latest available survey on the part of academic leaders from various disciplinary configurations in the Australian academy. The volume, consisting of twenty-two chapters plus an editorial Introduction, is in three parts. Part I, Disciplines in Transition, consists of ten chapters surveying current research practice in the Visual Arts, Dance, Drama, Creative Writing, Music, Architecture/Landscape/Planning, Industrial Design and Media and Communication, with the two remaining articles discussing new media and cross-media issues. Part II, Institutions in Transition, is made up of seven essays on a range of topics including network technologies and research training. Part III, Policy in Transition, consists of four chapters on research partnerships, priorities and outputs and the concluding chapter is, like the Introduction, an editorial contribution. There is also a Preface from John Hartley, Dean of the Creative Industries Faculty at the Queensland University of Technology. The volume may be read structurally for the range of disciplines and the fields of activity represented; analytically in terms of the issues raised and the vocabularies employed by contributors; and symptomatically for what it reveals about differences and commonalities across the specified horizon of 'arts, media and design' in the Australian tertiary sector. It can also, I would suggest, itself be read as a counter in increasingly loaded jockeying over the proper relationship between university research and productive capacity in the cultural industries. This debate operates in a number of centres and on a number of levels. It accompanies a contest for resources in what is an increasingly difficult financial environment for Australian university research and a struggle, both economic and ideological, over the ends and means of both research and practice in the arts and cultural sectors. It is not possible to cover these issues in great detail in the space of a review, but I will attempt to point to at least some of the strategic implications I see emerging from the positions taken up by contributors and by the editorial team, especially as they affect the conduct of research and research infrastructure issues in areas of interest to readers of ADS. The publication was edited by a cross-disciplinary team based at the Queensland University of Technology; all but one are also listed as contributors. Editors Rod Wissler, Brad Haseman, Sue-Anne Wallace and Michael Keane are part of a cluster of scholars and academic managers, many originally from an Arts Education background, working in an institution that has actively positioned itself to respond strategically to the challenges and opportunities presented by the circumstances described above. The project itself was conducted primarily through a three-part symposium entitled 'Innovation: Arts-Media-Design' held during 2001 and 2002 in Brisbane at QUT, Melbourne at the VCA and Perth at Curtin Institute of Technology. The project was lead and managed from within QUT by a team including Wissler, Professor of Drama and now Dean of Graduate Studies, and other colleagues located in the $60m Creative Industries Precinct and particularly in CIRAC, the Cultural Industries Research and Applications Centre. According to the Introduction, the research proposal was submitted by Wissler on behalf of ANCCA, the Australian National Coalition for the Creative Arts. …

14 citations


Journal Article
TL;DR: In this paper, the authors consider the possibilities for developing a critical analysis of how Kane's work functions in performance, and suggest that an effective analysis can only come through examining the affect of the work in performance.
Abstract: 'Performance is visceral. It puts you in direct physical contact with thought and feeling.'1 It is finally the Kane moment in Australia; between July and November 2004 I will have seen Blasted, two productions of Crave, the Australian premiere of Phaedra's Love and two productions of 4.48 Psychosis, including its Australian premiere. It is not within the scope of this paper to analyse the political and social context of this sudden glut, the 'why now?' Rather it will focus on the possibilities for developing a critical analysis of how Kane's work functions in performance. This paper considers the language available to address Kane's ideas of 'experiential' theatre, and proposes that an effective analysis can only come through examining the affect of the work in performance. It will suggest that a phenomenological enquiry that coopts a vocabulary of 'affect' from Deleuzian philosophy offers one potential methodology for discussing the 'affective specificity' of what is actually happening before us in the experience of being at the theatre for a Kane 'play'. Sarah Kane's reaction to Jeremy Weller's production Mad2 essentially defined for her what she wanted theatre to be: As an audience member, I was taken to a place of extreme mental discomfort and distress and then popped out the other end. What I did not do was sit in the theatre considering as an intellectual conceit what it might be like to be mentally ill... Mad took me to hell, and the night I saw it I made a decision about the kind of theatre I wanted to make - experiential.3 The overwhelming, visceral response that Kane had to Mad is what drives her aims for an 'experiential' theatre. The images and 'image structures'4 Kane develops throughout her work are an attempt to connect with the spectator at a physical level and the effectiveness - or affectiveness - of this imagery lies less in a request for the audience to make meaning, but in its demand for the audience to set active meaning-making aside; to allow the asignifying power of the work to take over. As such the work resists an analysis based only on 'what is this play about?' and demands instead one that asks 'what did this theatre feel like?' Kane is fiercely political, but her anger and despair at the state of the world is not channelled into 'meaningful' political speeches made by characters. We won't get a nice piece of dialogue elegantly expounding the problems with the British Government's appalling Care in the Community policy, for example, but we will get a searing indictment of that policy in 4.48 Psychosis where it comes from a different stage landscape that allows the spectator to experience the world of the suicide, rather than intellectualise and separate oneself from this experience. Kane takes very seriously Howard Barker's call for a theatre which 'must locate its creative tension not between characters and arguments on the stage but between the audience and the stage itself.'5 This paper argues that Kane sees experience as the key to eliciting change in the spectator: and here the word 'spectator' fails us, as the power of Kane's work - its 'affect', even its meaning - rests within the capacity of the spectator to 'experience' the work rather than simply observe it: If we can experience something through art, then we might be able to change our future, because experience engraves lessons on our heart through suffering, whereas speculation leaves us untouched.6 The need for an affective analysis Kane herself uses football and music as paradigms that offer an understanding of what she wants theatre to be, and both prove very useful starting points in approaching an analysis of her work. Almost every account of Crave, Sarah Kane's fourth play, or 'text for performance'7 as she called it, refers to its musicality. It is often likened to a string quartet, and even the introduction to the playtext states that it 'deploys language like music.'8 The director of its premiere, Vicky Featherstone, suggests that 'it was written for its rhythm rather than meaning through the juxtaposition of the lines. …

13 citations


Journal Article
TL;DR: The Staging Nation: English Language Theatre in Malaysia and Singapore (Hong Kong University Press, 2004) as discussed by the authors is an important work that maps out the ways in which nationhood is articulated and contested in the English-language theatre of Singapore and Malaysia.
Abstract: Jacqueling Lo, Staging Nation: English Language Theatre in Malaysia and Singapore (Hong Kong University Press, 2004) With great care and meticulous scholarship, Jacqueline Lo has assembled an important work that maps out the ways in which nationhood is articulated and contested in the English-language theatre of Singapore and Malaysia At the end of the book, Lo reminds readers of her intent: 'By drawing attention to the ways in which power is negotiated and challenged within the field of English-language theatre in Malaysia and Singapore, this study has endeavoured to draw attention to the struggle of theatre artists and intellectuals for a more pluralist political culture in these countries' (190) What makes this work particularly fruitful in this regard is its willingness to engage selectively and thoughtfully with the history, social policies, and political landscapes of these two related nations, while consistently linking these fields to specific plays and theatrical productions By focusing not merely on the dramatic text, but also on the larger context for the production and frequently the performance text as well, Lo is able to show, for instance, how the casting or costuming in a particular production fits into her larger thesis of how theatre reflects a contested political landscape Throughout the work, contemporary theory in postcolonial and cultural studies is used skillfully, elucidating key points and bringing text and production into a fuller light rather than obscuring the object of study, as is too often the case elsewhere Though separate nations, Singapore and Malaysia are well-partnered for purposes of this study, as both possess a lively English-language theatre scene that has become an important site for the articulation of competing political discourses Both nations are essentially one-party states with a similar history of colonisation that has resulted in each being a sort of demographically opposing mirror of the other, making them natural relatives for a study such as this Colonised by the British, both received independence in the 1950s and after a brief period of federation, they became separate nations again in 1965 While Singapore is predominantly comprised of ethnic Chinese, with smaller populations of Malays and Tamil-speaking South Indians, Malaysia reverses these demographics with a Malay majority, a smaller, though relatively prosperous Chinese minority, and a less economically successful and less numerous Indian population Because of language policies and the primacy of English as the language of international commerce and finance, English-language theatre in both countries is largely created and seen by a highly-educated, uppermiddle class minority Ironically, rather than being the marginal theatre one would expect it to be, in both countries theatre in English has emerged as a lightening rod for work that has pushed the acceptable boundaries of expression in the arts while frequently also mirroring or challenging the dominant discourse of the nation's leaders Lo argues that it is possibly precisely its marginal status as the province for the educated and large expatriate population that makes it a 'safe' place for competing discourses to play themselves out, in part because this dramatic space is relatively removed from the life of the majority of each country's citizens, most of whom are more likely to speak languages other than English at home or with their closest friends Rather than attempting to chronicle and document the vast terrain of English language theatre in both countries, Lo wisely devotes well over half of the book to an extended analysis of four key works, two from each country K S Maniam's The Cord (1984) and Kee Thuan Chye's 1984 Here and Now (1985) are pulled from the Malaysian repertory, while the key Singaporean texts are Stella Kon's Emily of Emerald Hill (premiered 1985) and Kuo Pao Kun's The Coffin Is Too Big for the Hole (premiered 1985) …

10 citations


Journal Article
TL;DR: The Third Place policy of Contact Inc as discussed by the authors aims to foster dialogue between and about cultures, and open opportunities for collaborative performance in the arts, and is informed by a commitment by artsworkcrs and young people to create a space "where cultures can safely and meaningfully meet".
Abstract: The wellspring [of peacebuilding] lies in our moral imaginalion, ...the capacity to imagine something rooted in the challenges of the real world yet capable of giving birth to that which does not yet exist.1 The arts have long been considered an apt vehicle for peacebuilding. Particularly in the fields of community cultural development and youth arts, there is a belief that the arts (and the performing arts in particular) can intrinsically foster the kinds of dialogue required to achieve constructive social change while making tangible and aesthetic the moral imaginings for a different future. Contact Inc is a youth-centred arts organisation that subscribes to this view, and 'through social justice principles, embraces a diversity of cultures to support and develop young peoples' cultural work'.2 Established in 1989 under the name Contact Youth Theatre, Contact Inc employs youth theatre processes and other arts-based modalities such as video, hip hop music, and dance that are responsive to young people's 'diversity of lived experience'. Contact Inc's work is informed by their Third Place policy: a commitment by artsworkcrs and young people to create a space 'where cultures can safely and meaningfully meet'. Resonating with various theoretical denotations of 'third space', Contact Inc's Third Place aims to foster dialogue between and about cultures, and open opportunities for collaborative performance. With an acknowledgement that young people have multi-dimensional cultural lives whereby they may identify at various times with their varied ethnic, geographic, religious, and gender-aligned communities, Contact Inc's processes of arts-based dialogue and collaboration create a complex and unique intercultural space where the moral imagination takes precedence. But how does this 'safe' and 'meaningful' space gel created - both literally and metaphorically - particularly in contexts where racial and cultural conflict exist among young people, many of whom have experienced ongoing displacement? What is it that makes the space 'safe' without losing the creative potential of the inevitable tensions of cross-cultural meeting and intercultural collaboration. And, once achieved, how does this 'safe space' become meaningful beyond its immediate community of participants? This paper explores these issues by examining two Contact projects: the Meetings/Dandiiri project in 1991 and the more recent Peace Project, ongoing since 2001. Through a ten-day multi-arts workshop with Indigenous and non-Indigenous artists and young people, the Meetings/Dandiiri sought to discover new ways of communicating and collaborating in the arts and explored the potential of an intercultural 'Third Place'. In the project, 'safe space' was constructed through explicit protocols for communication which allowed, as far as possible, for cultural differences to be acknowledged, cross-cultural arts skills to be shared, and the more risky terrain of intercultural arts collaboration to be traversed. The Peace Project has similarly searched for ways to communicate and collaborate interculturally, although with a specific brief to be a transformative intervention in a community's growing inter-racial violence among young people. By validating cultural difference, acknowledging the sources and attractions of conflict, and utilising hip hop as an aesthetic grounding, the Peace Project attempted to exemplify the co-creativity of peacebuilding and performance. An examination of both projects gives insight into, and extends critical discourse about, the production of safe space, utopie space, and intercultural space in community cultural development. Meetings/Dandiiri Contact Youth Theatre was founded in Brisbane by Ludmila Doneman and Michael Doneman in 1989 following their co-directorship of La Boite Youth Theatre in the mid-1980s. In a period of 'considerable energizing of youth arts across the country',5 the Donemans sought to 'move on' from La Boite's youth offshoot to create their own company, build on their experience in theatre and arts education in Australia and Czechoslovakia,6 and seek new directions in cross-cultural work. …

9 citations


Journal Article
TL;DR: Arrow as mentioned in this paper argues that women playwrights have been written out of history for every conceivable reason - their cheerful feminism (Oriel Gray) and their leftist politics (Mona Brand and Catherine Duncan); their capacity to earn a living from their craft through the new and popular media of radio and later television (Gwen Meredith, Oriel Gray and Mary Wilton).
Abstract: Michelle Arrow, Upstaged: Australian Women Dramatists in the Limelight at Last (Strawberry Hills, NSW: Pluto and Currency, 2002) The title of this scholarly, informative and entertaining book contains the ironic nub of the problem she addresses. The writers whose careers she illuminates have certainly been upstaged: as much by the nationalist creationism of the so-called new wave as by the 'usefulness' of so much of their own writing. But I wonder, can they really be said to be 'in the limelight at last' while the plays they wrote continue to receive so little actual production attention? The day I started reading Upstaged I received in the mail an invitation to a reading by Val Kirwan - the Diva of a theatrical movement I have long wanted to label 'Melbourne Surrealism'. The accompanying publicity material described Kirwan as the first woman playwright to have her work produced at La Mama and I was struck again by the fact that, in spite of her long history with that theatre - a production a year for at least seven years from the late seventies into the eighties -her influence on Melbourne performance traditions could be said to be as overshadowed by Jean-Pierre Mignon and Anthill in the hagiography of the eighties as Oriel Gray was eclipsed by the mordant masculinism of Ray Lawlcr's The Summer of the Seventeenth Doll in the historical legend of the beginning of Australian theatre in the fifties. Such an irony is only compounded by the fact that the production of "The Doll' that lifted that play onto the highest shelf in the brief canon of Australian dramatic literature was Mignon's post-modern production for Anthill. Kirwan's insouciant surrealism, her freewheeling, apparently improvisatory writing style and the drama and beauty of the theatrical image-making she managed in the tiny confines of La Mama had an impact on a generation of Melbourne theatre-makers far greater than her place in the historical and critical literature of the period would suggest, but at least her plays were produced, some of them even more than once. The women playwrights Arrow discusses in Upstaged have, she argues, been written out of history for every conceivable reason - their cheerful feminism (Oriel Gray) and their leftist politics (Mona Brand and Catherine Duncan); their capacity to earn a living from their craft through the new and popular media of radio and later television (Gwen Meredith, Oriel Gray and Mary Wilton). But the overwhelming evidence for their continuing obscurity is the depressingly patchy record of their production histories. Arrow, perhaps wisely in a book that describes her playwrights as in the limelight at last, chooses not to include any ordered list or statistics of productions of the plays discussed. This is made more noticeable by the comprehensive excellence of the appendices she docs include. There are brief biographies of all the playwrights in addition to the select bibliography of primary and secondary sources. It may be that since hers is essentially a cultural history of the women dramatists of the period rather than a theatre history per se, she did not consider such statistics relevant or she may have chosen not to spell out the pathetic production histories of most of the plays she discusses in order not to confront the crushing picture such figures would reveal. Reading Arrow's engaging account of these women and their work, I remain puzzled not simply by the scarcity of critical writing on their work - pace Carolyn Pickett's and Susan Pfisterer's admirable account of the same period in Playing with Ideas - but by the fact that even as they are being written into literary and cultural history they continue to be ignored or passed over for productions not only on main stages but on any stages. The reasons are in fact not far to seek and have less to do with the fact that the playwrights in question are women than they do with the fact that then as now, actual production opportunities for new writing were relatively scarce. …

7 citations


Journal Article
TL;DR: Geoffrey Milne as mentioned in this paper provides a detailed and comprehensive overview of the development of the theatre industry in relation to government funding and policy in Australia since the 1950s, focusing on institutions and funding practices and the essential development of infrastructure.
Abstract: Geoffrey Milne, Theatre Australia (Un)limited: Australian Theatre Since the 1950s (Amsterdam & New York: Rodopi, 2004) Though the situation is changing, texts about the history of Australian theatre practice are still few and far between. Most that are available, as Milne states in his prologue, focus on playtexts and playwrights. Whilst these works are important in their own right, without available information about the broader social and political context of production, studies that examine particular moments in isolation risk being selfreferential and cumulatively contribute to mystifying Australian theatre history. In the last few years a number of publications have appeared that have broadened the range of available information, such as the work of Michelle Arrow on women writers and Julian Meyrick on Nimrod Theatre Company. Cumulatively these studies provide the potential for a deeper understanding of the practices of Australian theatre beyond the mythologies and denials that are part of the residual cultural cringe and the legacy of imperialism and colonialism. This book by Geoffrey Milne is the tenth in the 'Australian Playwrights' series. As the title of the series suggests the initial focus was on studies of authors. Since Veronica Kelly became the series editor, it has been expanded to include historical, thematic and theoretical studies. These include Our Australian Theatre in the 1990s (1998), Body Show/s: Australian Viewings of Live Performance (2000), and Playing Australia: Australian Theatre and the International Stage (2003). Milne's text, focusing on the advent and practices of government subsidy to the performing arts, is an historical study. It provides a detailed and comprehensive overview of the history of the development of the theatre industry in relation to government funding and policy in Australia since the 1950s. It is a national study in two senses. Milne examines national organisations and institutions as well as state and territory organisations in all regions across the country. The focus is on institutions and funding practices and the essential development of infrastructure. Using the organisations and genres that national and state funding bodies include under the heading of theatre, Milne examines an impressively broad range of companies as a unified field. These organisations include companies that primarily produce spoken word drama, as well as other theatrical practices such as music theatre, circus, puppetry, community theatre and physical theatre. The range of companies he includes is extensive, encompassing small, medium and large companies, those based in both capital cities and regional centres, and companies that are subsidised and unsubsidised. As part of his focus on theatre as an organisational or institutional phenomenon, Milne also examines the dramatic repertoire and its writers in some detail in the context of the companies and organisations that nurtured and produced them. The book contains, as an epilogue, a systematic analysis of national repertoire patterns from 1968 to 1998. Milne draws on a broad range of resources for his comprehensive study. These include archival sources ranging from published print materials such as articles included with published plays, press reviews and articles, books about drama and dramatists, theatre and art magazines such as Theatre Australia and RealTime, government reports and web-based resources such as Ausstage. He also draws on personal archives and those of theatre companies for ephemera such as company brochures, mission statements, program notes, relevant correspondence, and pictorial records. Some of the photographs from the pictorial record are included in the book. This extensive archival research is further extended by Milne's personal discussions over a twelve-year period with hundreds of company directors, arts bureaucrats, theatre managers, journalists, playwrights, actors, designers, puppeteers and other theatre practitioners based all over Australia. …

6 citations


Journal Article
TL;DR: Theatre for Young People Theatre for Young people (TYP) as discussed by the authors is an antipodean response to British educational theatre models in the 1960s and 1970s and is driven by the desire to provide young audiences with aesthetic experiences that engage and inspire.
Abstract: Performance for and by young people in Australia and Aotearoa/New Zealand resonates with the diversity of these countries' Indigenous and immigrant cultures, regional and urban realities, and quirky view of the everyday. Having diverged from the traditions of European fairytale, the conventions of didactic educational theatre, and the floss of children's holiday entertainment, the leading work in this broad field places children and young people at the centre: as intelligent and critical audiences and as respected co-artists. As we outline in this brief overview, the related and changing sectors of theatre for young people and youth theatre in these countries provide opportunities for educational aesthetic engagement and emerging career development as well as platforms for young people to express the diversity of their contemporary experience. Theatre for Young People Theatre for Young People (TYP) chiefly developed as an antipodean response to British educational theatre models in the 1960s and 1970s and is driven by the desire to provide young audiences with aesthetic experiences that engage and inspire. From the 1960s on, UK expatriates like Barbara Manning, Roger Chapman, and David Holman brought theatre-in-education (TIE) practices to Australia through pioneering work with companies such as Salamanca in Hobart and Magpie Theatre in Adelaide. These companies and their schools-touring work were synonymous with progressive, good quality educational theatre. But Australian TYP never fully adopted the British model of group-devised TIE programs (although some of the work of Queensland's Kite Theatre may be a significant exception). Instead, as John O'Toole and Penny Bundy have discussed, educational TYP practitioners increasingly developed a 'writer's theatre' model: an approach which relies on extensive research about youth experience or curriculum issues and involves the shaping of scripts by commissioned professional writers - some associated with mainstage theatres and others specialising in young people's theatre. While still managing to suit the progressivist educational imperatives of the time, this approach placed one foot of TYP in the professional theatre industry and one foot in education. Writers worked with companies in a more-or-less standard professional company model to produce plays for young people to be performed both within and outside the school environment. New Zealand developments were somewhat different, in that they were not dependent upon English expatriates, although Dorothy Heathcote's influence was indirectly felt in theatre in schools during the 1980s. Educational TYP grew with 'Performers in Schools' (rather than production-based TIE) in the late 1970s and early 1980s, while some companies doing in-schools work were identified as community theatre (in the Australian sense of that term). Over the years, these developments in professional TYP in Australia were effected by the growth of sophisticated drama curricula in schools. By the late 1980s, touring educational theatre was no longer the main conduit for introducing young people to theatre and/or educating them through its forms and processes. Thus, the teaching of drama as a subject in its own right, which involved opportunities to attend theatre and to participate in theatre-making, overtook the importance of touring educational theatre. For TYP practitioners, however, this was not a totally disadvantageous development. Through the 1990s this latter aspect of theatre-making in schools - and the increasing body of Australian drama education research which supported it provided TYP with challenging new ways to look at its audiences and contributed to a discernable shift in the perception of children and young people as artists and critics in their own right. In or out of school, children and young people were being valued as aesthetically curious and innovative adventurers, and as discoverers of new ways of knowing the world. …

5 citations


Journal Article
TL;DR: Li Ruru, Shashibiya: Staging Shakespeare in China (Hong Kong: Hong Kong University Press, 2003) as discussed by the authors is a remarkable book, beautifully written Li Ruru manages successfully to tell three stories simultaneously: the political history of China in the twentieth century and its consequences for artists; the impact of successive waves of Western performance aesthetics and texts on a culture which absorbed them without colonial angst as contributions to its own stage and cultural concerns; and fascinating descriptions of some of the key performances.
Abstract: Li Ruru, Shashibiya: Staging Shakespeare in China (Hong Kong: Hong Kong University Press, 2003) This is a remarkable book, beautifully written Li Ruru manages successfully to tell three stories simultaneously: the political history of China in the twentieth century and its consequences for artists; the impact of successive waves of Western performance aesthetics and texts on a culture which absorbed them without colonial angst as contributions to its own stage and cultural concerns; and fascinating descriptions of some of the key performances, particularly in the 1980s as, for a brief decade, Shakespeare became a significant player as China emerged from its tragic 'Cultural Revolution' Towards the end the author herself becomes a character, tracking down retired artists and their unique records and memories of major productions through her family connections (her mother was a major star of jingju or Peking Opera), and then becoming herself a cultural and theatrical interpreter during British Council tours to China Preparing this review, I found myself taking notes from almost every page To a student of Western theatrical traditions, one particularly interesting facet of this history is the way in which modernist European theatrical history was replayed in a radically condensed time frame, as Shakespeare was discovered, replaced by Ibsen, appropriated according to Stanislavski, used as code for radical critique of the state, became a cultural passport as China opened up, and then after 1990 abandoned, along with subsidised theatre in general, by which time 'every home now had a television' (4) He survives now only in student productions and post-modern pastiche, as American popular culture floods into the world's fastest growing market for mass entertainment Li begins in the early twentieth century, when Shakespeare became part of the Western-orientated 'new learning' advocated by progressive intellectuals as a means of reinvigorating China as the Manchu Dynasty declined As in some other nonEnglish speaking cultures east and west, Shakespeare became known first through the Lambs' 1807 prose Tales from Shakespeare Li places side by side their account of the death of Desdemona and the Chinese scholar Lin Shu's 1904 version of the same passage (translated back into literal English): Desdemona was awakened with his kisses, and she looked upon Othello, and she saw him gnaw his under lip, and roll his eyes, and she knew he was always fatal when he looked so (Charles and Mary Lamb, Othello) At this time, Dedimuna was awakened by his kiss, and saw Wodelu gnashing his teeth A fiendish look appeared in the corner of his eyes Dedimuna was familiar with this look of his, and thought he was about to go out to slaughter his enemies as usual (Lin Shu, Black General) (12-13) In Shakespeare, Desdemona's comments on Othello's facial expressions follow his declaration that he is considering killing her, and serve as markers of her inability to stop his potential violence increasing during the next fifty lines of dialogue In the Lambs' racial romanticisation, Desdemona sees first the rolling and gnawing and senses the danger from his body language Lin Shu's Dedimuna, however, reads Wodelu's body innocently according to codes of military valour and, when confronted, she responds with her own code of honour: 'tell me my crime and I shall be willing to die' Wodelu 'hurriedly' smothers her to stop her explaining What is fascinating in this reworking of a reworking is that, however obviously it moves still further from the source, we can usefully write back onto Shakespeare's Othello Lin Shu's reflection of the military hero with which the play begins, and the way it reminds us that the play is another case study (like Brutus in Julius Caesar) dramatising one of Shakespeare's great questions: what constitutes honourable behaviour? After the First Republic was established in 1912, staged scenarios based on Lin Shu's best-selling stories became popular, shaped to reflect local issues: Hamlet became a study of the potential evils that follow when a widowed parent remarries (20) …

5 citations


Journal Article
TL;DR: In this paper, Shevtsova's new book on the work of Russian director Lev Dodin is published, focusing on his work as an accomplished and influential theatre practitioner in collaboration with his company.
Abstract: Maria Shevtsova, Dodin and the Maly Drama Theatre: Process to Performance (London & New York: Routledge, 2004) The 2004 conference of the International Federation for Theatre Research (FIRT/IFTR) was a fortuitous occasion for the launch of Maria Shevtsova's new book on the work of Russian director Lev Dodin. First, it was held in St Petersburg, where Dodin's Maly Drama Theatre is based, and provided an opportunity to see two of the company's productions in their own home: a new staging of Uncle Vanya and Dodin's 1997 A Play With No Name, which is an adaptation of Chekhov's untitled work often referred to in English as Platonov. Without having seen these, and especially the latter, it would have been more difficult to evaluate the success of Shevtsova's achievement in this book. Also fortuitous was the realisation that there is still considerable debate among scholars about the role of the director in live theatre. A significant undercurrent at the conference was a concern with directing as a form of art and the almost inevitable corollary, the issue of great directing as a sign of artistic genius. Shevtsova's book acknowledges this reverential and usually mystificatory attitude when she quotes an Italian review of Dodin's production of the opera Lady Macbeth ofMtsensk District; the critic suggested that features of the performance indicated Dodin's 'genius as a man of the theatre' (168). Happily, Shevtsova herself does not concentrate on Dodin's 'art' or 'genius' but focuses rather on his work as an accomplished and influential theatre practitioner in collaboration with his company. It is this, rather than the idolising tendency that often accompanies the idea of art, which is likely to be most useful to future theatre practice, and it is indicative of the book's likely success that it has a foreword by Simon Callow who enthuses, justifiably, about both Dodin's work and Shevtsova's analysis of it. Since it is the first substantial piece of writing in English on the topic, the book needs to cover the whole of Dodin's career to date, and the question of how to write a study such as this is important, and problematic for many reasons. The work of any director covers an enormous amount of territory, and an adequate account of even a few major productions could quickly fill a book of this length. The work of directors is often mutable and contingent, changing radically not only over time but also from one production to another and even from one day to the next within a single rehearsal period, depending on circumstances. In the case of European directors like Dodin whose individual productions tend to have a long life, the situation is even more complicated, with revivals of productions after long periods in mothballs, tours to festivals in different countries and continents, different venues, changes of cast, and the need to respond to a rapidly-changing social and political environment. Furthermore, as Shevtsova makes clear, a feature of Dodin's directing style is the production of a polyvocal performance text, a technique enabling work from the past to be read more easily as a comment on the present, which is even more difficult to describe in words than more conventional productions. In addition the challenge for Shevtsova's is made harder because many of Dodin's major productions are unfamiliar to most readers, since one part of his oeuvre is the adaptation to the stage of prose works, using his own techniques of improvised collective creation. It has to be acknowledged that, in the light of these constraints, the book is hard work in places. In an attempt to fit a comprehensive overview of Dodin's largely unfamiliar output into the available space, Shevtsova's writing is necessarily compact and intricate. Nevertheless it is worth persevering with because of the illuminating glimpses into Dodin's techniques and his achievements, and the real pleasures it affords when the daring and dazzling character of a piece of staging becomes apparent. …

4 citations


Journal Article
TL;DR: In this paper, E. E. Wilmer summarises these common problematics in his essay "On Writing National Theatre Histories": basically, whether to define one's object of study through geography, language, ethnicity or aesthetics.
Abstract: S. E. Wilmer, ed., Writing and Rewriting: National Theatre Histories (Iowa City: University of Iowa Press, 2004) Defining 'national' theatre history involves the related and formidable tasks of identifying what is to be understood as 'nation'; what range of performance forms are to be included as 'theatre'; and the mutating outlines of historically specific nationalisms presently and formerly current in various locations. Undertaking the inscription of national histories of theatre thus involves astuteness and flexibility in the face of its many methodological challenges. The field is defined, along with some specific solutions, in Wilmer's stimulating and useful collection of essays in the series 'Studies in Theatre History and Culture' from University of Iowa Press. Wilmer summarises these common problematics in his essay 'On Writing National Theatre Histories': basically, whether to define one's object of study through geography, language, ethnicity or aesthetics. The contributors write on a selected range of 'national' regions spread over Europe and North America, with South Africa and Indonesia venturing south of the equator. This sampling produces sufficient variety of historical circumstances and heterogeneity of performance forms to pursue a complex host of problematics and productive examples. Although the focus of the collection is on techniques and philosophies of historiography, some of the contributions largely ignore this topic and produce instead accounts of theatre history in specific regions. The individual essays speak from the collection in a polyphonic dialogue, sometimes reaching each other and sometimes left in intriguing open contradiction. In the fortunes of the national theatre history, present options appears poised between the grand synoptic narratives of the late nineteenth century and the more pluralist, targeted and problem-based essay format of the later twentieth century. The latter typically seek to link local events, dramaturgy, structures and personnel with similar or identical manifestations across the fragile 'national' borders which theatre - that most cosmopolitan and promiscuously mutating of cultural forms - has ever largely ignored. One of the many valuable provocations to be identified in this richly argued collection is whether the moment may be at hand for a cautious, post-Hayden White rapprochement with the large-scale narrative. Erika Fischer-Lichte, in an initial essay 'Some Critical Remarks on Theatre Historiography', declares that the 'totalising and Ideologically oriented constructions of history have long since become obsolete' (4) and denounces most synoptic histories as suffering from an overdose of fact-laden historicism. Partial, problem-oriented studies are offered as the optimal way of organising the masses of empirical material typical of theatrical studies. On the other hand, Bruce McConachie's chapter 'Narrative Possibilities for US Theatre Histories' discerns that the strategic and contextualised explorations of the essay approach need to be reintegrated with the historian's fundamental technique of narrative. It will, of course, be a narrative highly critical of 'the Herderian tradition of culturalist historiography' whose features are 'the search for origins, the claim of essential identity, and the ethical relativism of the volksgeist orientation' (141). Alan Filewod, while highly suspicious of the notion of 'national' stories which too frequently are 'not about Canadian theatre at all but rather about the genealogies of performance that have legitimized changing ideological projects of nationhood' (108), still mounts a strong case for the retention of nation as a useful organising category. Theatre as art form and institution 'operates in fields of cultural formation and policy that are formed by national experience and legislated by national states' (123). Purged of such standard cultural-nationalist assumptions as ethnic or linguistic privilege, aesthetic hierarchising, boosting of the literary over the popular or the professional over the amateur, mythologies of origin, phobias about contamination by the foreign or the commercial, or the effacing of indigeneity and internal cultural differences, the national theatre history can still offer a credible vehicle for locating specific cultural phenomena while mapping international transactions. …

Journal Article
TL;DR: In 2006, Arena Theatre Company will celebrate its fortieth year of creating performances for young people as mentioned in this paper, which is the very intertwined notion of young people's entitlement and engagement with the arts SKID 180 is a good vehicle for exploring both: how we arrived at our current focus and also the practical way that the mission plays out in the art we create and our broader programming strategies.
Abstract: In 2006, Arena Theatre Company will celebrate its fortieth year of creating performances for young people Thank you very much for having me here today to present to you on the company's international collaboration - SKID 180 SKID 180 is, I hope, an interesting case study for demonstrating Arena's current mission or priority concern - which is the very intertwined notion of young people's entitlement and engagement with the arts SKID 180 is a good vehicle for exploring both: how we arrived at our current focus and also the practical way that the mission plays out in the art we create and our broader programming strategies From the artist's perspective, and from the perspective of a theatre company that creates works for young audiences, our research takes place predominantly through our creative work, through our own activity For Arena our very work is founded in the idea that art making is about asking questions and inspiring a dialogue with our audience The debate that is generated through our work has a direct implication on the work itself and perhaps in that way our company's life and creative journey over the past 40 years can be seen as a thesis in motion SKID 180 is an international collaboration that came about when Tanya Farman, the Artistic Director of the 2002 Manchester Cultural Festival, Culture Shock, saw Arena's production Eat Your Young at the Adelaide Festival in 2000 She was very interested in the company's use of digital media as a performance language and she invited Tamsin Drury from Digital Summer, a digital arts company, to see the show at its return season the next year Tamsin introduced us to another organisation in Manchester - Contact Theatre - and we began an email dialogue with their Artistic Director, John McGrath Around this time Arena were developing a new work called Play Dirty for the Melbourne Festival 2002 The work was based in the world of Freestyle Moto Cross, which is the very extreme sport of motorcycles jumping through the air We ran a development process that included work-in-progress showings to over five hundred Victorian school students at the Myer Music Bowl and a website component which got lots of feedback (over two thousand log ons) during the creative process and also post-show This audience dialogue was extended even further when Helen Cahill and Graeme Smith at the Australian Youth Research Centre, at Melbourne University, conducted further research for Arena We used a range of methods to contact the audiences who saw the show, including post-show surveys and phone interviews, and we collected a diversity of information Of course, lots of people interviewed attended the work because they were theatregoers However, we also had the opportunity to interview representatives of our audience that would be considered as non-theatregoers These were two groups of students in a large rural secondary college with a low socioeconomic profile Class members represented the lower end of the literacy spectrum and had very low anticipation of entering tertiary study Most of the students had not seen theatre before Two or three girls in each class had been to see shows such as Disney on Ice, Cats or Grease When interviewing these students the researchers asked them to line up along a line that placed theatre at one end of the spectrum and sport at the other, placing themselves along the line according to where their interests lay Every student except for a few lined up at the sport end When we eagerly asked the others why they lined up towards the theatre end, the answer was unanimously that they hated sport The students were then asked to imagine that in five years they heard Arena had a great show on that was really relevant to them, would they imagine they would go and see it? They all voted a low interest in attending, and when asked why, their responses included: 'it might be boring', 'cos of what your friends might think', 'probably too costly', 'it could be OK to see if your friends come', 'movies are more comfortable' and 'sport is more exciting' …

Journal Article
TL;DR: Chanwai-Earle and Rajan as mentioned in this paper describe a journey between one island and another, through real-time and dream-time, and past and present, in a play called Rakiura by Eileen Philipp.
Abstract: Aotearoa/New Zealand is by definition a bicultural nation under the Treaty of Waitangi, signed by the Crown and representative Maori chiefs in 1840, and cemented by government policy in recent years. Bicultural theatre has had strong representation on the stage from both partners, Maori and Pakeha, walking separately and together.1 However, the last ten years have seen the emergence of what might be deemed a multicultural presence in the theatre, which challenges that bicultural viewpoint.2 Of particular note in this regard is the significant blossoming of new work by a dozen or more Pacific Island/Polynesian playwrights resident in New Zealand, led by Oscar Kightley (Samoa) and Toa Fraser (Fiji), whose impact has been particularly felt in Wellington and Auckland.3 Plays such as Think of a Garden, Bare, Fresh Off the Boat, Dawn Raids, Romeo and Tusi, Niu Sila, Frangipani Perfume and VuIa engage in a variety of ways with what it means to have a foot in two worlds, and are creating distinctive theatre forms of their own which draw on their specific cultural heritages. Pacific Island theatre is arguably the most vigorous and dynamic developing force in contemporary New Zealand theatre, but since 1996 there are other new voices to be heard which are becoming increasingly vociferous.5 Actor-writers Lynda Chanwai-Earle (a fourth generation New Zealander of Chinese and New Zealand parentage) and Jacob Rajan (Malaysian-born to Indian parents) form the vanguard of newly-emerging Asian voices which offer a further theatrical challenge to the bicultural foundation of Aotearoa. As Chanwai-Earle expresses it: 'I want to throw back in the audience's faces their own preconceptions taken from the media. New Zealand TV has constructed its own narrative ... it has generalized Asian communities and lumped them into one . . . We have to examine our very peculiar xenophobia about the Kiwi identity revolving around a white European-based culture or being proud to be bi-cultural.'6 Prior to 1996, the primary presence of Asian voices on stage or on film was filtered through Pakeha eyes. For example, George Leitch's sensation melodrama The Land of the Moa (1895), while focussing on the interaction of Pakeha and Maori characters amidst spectacular scenery, includes a Chinese cook amongst its ship crew, whose sole function is to appear in a fight scene to have his pigtail cut off and be kicked offstage.7 Leon Narbey's film Illustrious Energy (1988) follows the story of two impoverished Chinese gold miners in 1895 Otago who dream of returning home after twelve years.8 Hailed as 'the first New Zealand-based exploration of the classical Japanese Noh theatre', Rakiura by Eileen Philipp was staged in Auckland in Januaryl994.9 It was based on a true incident in which a Japanese woman entering New Zealand in a short-term visitor's visa was discovered some months later living on Stewart Island/Rakiura. As the New Zealand Listener review of the production indicates, 'her discovery provides the impetus for the journey: between one island and another, through real time and dream time, and past and present'. The central character was performed by the play's director John Davies, who had studied Noh in Japan, and who carved the two masks used on stage to distinguish the transformations of the character. Perhaps most notable in the theatre was Vincent O'Sullivan's Shuriken (1983). O'Sullivan takes as his starting point the historical 1942 internment of Japanese prisoners of war in a POW camp at Featherston, and the notorious incident in which about fifty of the prisoners were killed by their New Zealand guards.10 However, his intention clearly lies beyond a debate on the clash between East and West. The play uses its historical position to comment on tensions between Maori and Pakeha, suggesting, according to Sebastian Black, that 'the Maori may have had, and may still have, more in common with these Japanese prisoners than they ever did with their Pakeha mates. …

Journal Article
TL;DR: In contrast with more recent productions which have sought to celebrate the survival, ingenuity and achievements of Australian men at war, productions from the post-war period were less overtly nationalist and less assertively masculinist remembering men's wartime experiences of disarticulation from the comforts of suburban domesticity and heterosexual desire as discussed by the authors.
Abstract: Memories of war are prevalent in Australian theatrical production after the second world war From Sumner Locke Elliot's recollections of war-time homosociality in Rusty Bugles and Russell Braddon's depiction of Australian prisoners-of-war in Naked Island, to critical reflections on war memorialisation and suburban repatriation in Alan Seymour's The One Day Of The Year and Patrick White's The Season At Sarsaparilla, an array of post-war theatrical productions sought to articulate men's experiences at war and back home Surveying these productions along with the all-male Kiwis revue company, Beth Dean's television ballet G'day Digger and John Cameron's television play Outpost, this article explores the propagation of gender anxieties in performance during the post-war period of suburban expansion In contrast with more recent productions which have sought to celebrate the survival, ingenuity and achievements of Australian men at war, productions from the post-war period were less overtly nationalist and less assertively masculinist Remembering men's war-time experiences of disarticulation from the comforts of suburban domesticity and heterosexual desire, post-war productions celebrated less the heroism of men at war than the nostalgia of their returning home A soldier who knits The entire action of the play takes place in a small courtyard leading down from the cell block at Changi Jail, Singapore The year is 1945 Act One Scene 1 A small jail courtyard with steps from the cell block behind it Five men are about their routine jail chores: Jacko sits shaving, Mum is knitting, Ken is busy rolling a cigarette, Oscar marks up another day on his impressive tally of days spent in jail and Magpie studies an Italian grammar1 When the curtain rose on this, the opening scene of Russell Braddon's Naked Island at the University of Sydney's Union Theatre on 15 January 1962, did a little light-hearted laughter ruffle the audience?2 What murmurs of emotion flickered across faces at the sight on stage: a grown man knitting, his mates sitting around him, one having a shave, another rolling a smoke? Mum, as he is known throughout the play, is characterised by Braddon as 'a stolid, out-back type' with a 'most improbable talent for knitting'3 Brek, in his review of the production for Nation, recalled 'a fatherly soldier ("Mum") fussing over the youngsters' welfare' (1962)4 While we never find out how he came to be called Mum, we soon find out that his knitting, like many things for the prisoners-of-war at Changi, is a matter of practical necessity KEN: Must you knit all the time? MUM: Me life depends on it KEN: Why? MUM: Socks for Kanemoto He wants them by the day after tomorrow, the little bastard Giving me one hundred dollars for 'em KEN: Where'd you get the wool? MAGPIE: I pinched a Nip's sweater; we unraveled that KEN: Which Nip's? MAGPIE: Kanemoto's! KEN: The bloke that's buying the socks? MAGPIE: Certainly5 Beyond this joke, there is not much more to Mum's knitting; nor is much made of his name To mess with a metaphor, we could say that Mum's name and his knitting were inventions of the sort of which necessity is the mother Practical ingenuity in the face of necessity is demonstrably valued by Jacko, Ken, Oscar, Magpie and Mum - the five prisoners-of-war who, at this point in the play, have just assembled a makeshift radio out of a clothes line with an aerial flown from the fly-tower and various components kept hidden in the lavatory ' A capacity for making-do amidst deprivation and hardship was a recognisable aspect of the national character, that configuration of qualities and capacities that at the time were regarded as distinctly Australian and resolutely masculine In a well-known passage from 1958, historian Russell Ward described the 'typical Australian' as 'a practical man' and 'a great improviser, ever willing to "have a go'" at anything, but willing too to be content with a task done in a way that is "near enough'" …

Journal Article
TL;DR: Wilson and Milne as mentioned in this paper survey the history of Australian puppetry and visual theatre, focusing on a period beginning with the 'landmark year' of 1976, the year in which Richard Bradshaw took over the Marionette Theatre of Australia and introduced a whole new repertoire of puppetry, and in which Nigel Triffitt devised and directed for the Tasmanian Puppet Theatre Momma's Little Horror Show, 'an image-based, surreal and plotless spectacle piece' owing more to the Italian Futurists, Rene Magritte and the hippy ambience of
Abstract: Peter J. Wilson and Geoffrey Milne, The Space Between: The Art of Puppetry and Visual Theatre in Australia (Currency Press: Sydney, 2004) This book fulfils a need even more marked than that which produced Milne's other recent book, Theatre Australia (Unlimited. Both are partly inspired by a paucity of documentation of important bodies of work produced beyond the mainstream, and both perform important tasks in opening up areas for further research rather than closing them off. In doing so, both skate over the surface of the work they survey, but this is a necessary pioneering journey, particularly in the case of The Space Between. This is the only book to concern itself with Australian puppetry since Maeve Vella and Helen Rickards published Theatre of the Impossible in 1989, and it is a highly readable and attractively presented text accompanied by a wonderful collection of photographs. Its very short bibliography indicates that the published record on Australian puppetry otherwise remains very thin. As Wilson and Milne point out in chapters on writing and designing for puppetry, their object of study is so inherently collaborative, so much generated in workshop or rehearsal, and so centrally visual as to be very difficult to document in the conventional form of a script. To make the point, their bibliography includes just three puppetry scripts published in the thirty years which they survey, two by John Romeril (which demonstrate that a fairly reasonable job of it can be done), and Daniel Keene's script of the almost legendary Cho Cho San, which, beyond an introductory note, makes no reference to puppets throughout what reads as an orthodox, dialogue-based drama text. Their book serves as an excellent argument in support of their plea for 'the print or CD ROM publication of a range of puppetry texts' (103). They cast their net wide, defining puppetry as 'forms of theatre in which objects are manipulated in order to create theatrical images, abstract or realistic' (1), but sort their catch down to 'an indicative range' of work from the last thirty years which they describe as stemming from a number of companies formed in the 1960s and 1970s. This nonetheless covers work ranging from Norman Helherington's Mr Squiggle through to Handspan's Cho Cho San, Performing Lines' The Theft of Sita, erth's and Snuff Puppets' spectacular outdoor performances and eventually to the opening ceremony of the Sydney Olympics, which gave Australian puppetry (and in particular Nigel Triffitt, Nigel Jamieson and Wilson himself, each of whom directed a ten-minute segment) a gigantic international audience. This journey takes us from the dominant kids' and/or schools' market in which most of the work began, and much of it continued, to the mainstream theatres, alternative performance venues, community contexts and outdoor sites into which it moved in the 1970s and 1980s. Their focus is essentially on a period beginning with the 'landmark year' of 1976, the year in which Richard Bradshaw took over the Marionette Theatre of Australia and introduced a whole new repertoire of puppetry, and in which Nigel Triffitt devised and directed for the Tasmanian Puppet Theatre Momma's Little Horror Show, 'an image-based, surreal and plotless spectacle piece' (41) owing more to the Italian Futurists, Rene Magritte and the hippy ambience of Pink Floyd than to the kids' entertainment which had been the staple of the puppetry companies of the 1960s. Both broke 'the long-standing nexus between puppets and children' (2), and contributed to the inauguration of an eclectic and exciting puppetry movement which, with the enthusiastic support of the Australia Council's Theatre Board and State and Territory arts agencies, blossomed in the 1980s and has since survived the general cut-backs of the late 1990s. Wilson's long and peregrinatory career as puppeteer, director and artistic director with many of the most important companies in the country and Milne's encyclopaedic knowledge of recent Australian theatre practice combine to make the book's broad survey possible, and interviews with twenty-six major figures in the history of the boom period (all but two of them by Wilson) form its bedrock. …

Journal Article
TL;DR: Magpie was the name of the company run by the South Australian Theatre Company (SATC) for children and young people for a quarter of a century Magpie's embryonic form, the Saturday Company, was founded in 1972; the company hatched as Magpie in 1976, was reincarnated as MagPie in 1997, and was 'killed off' at the end of that year.
Abstract: 'Magpie' was the name of the company run by the South Australian Theatre Company (SATC)1 for children and young people for a quarter of a century Magpie's embryonic form, the Saturday Company, was founded in 1972; the company hatched as Magpie in 1976, was reincarnated as Magpie2 in 1997, and was 'killed off' at the end of that year In a theatrical arena, the company created a formidable canon of new work and made a respected contribution to the dcvclopmenl of innovative theatre forms; in the educational arena, the company offered an array of broad-ranging and specific programmes in drama-in-education (DIE)2 and theatre-in-cducation (TIE) ; in a social and political arena, major issues were reflected and addressed by Magpie Funded by the Australia Council and considered a 'wing' of the parent company, Magpie's artistic directors had autonomy in programming until 1994 and enjoyed access, together with the main-stage 'Playhouse' company, to the technical facilities of the SATC Records, which were not always kept, show that over a quarter of a million people witnessed Magpie performances, although the real total could be much higher It can be said with confidence that Magpie was an influential company in the development of theatre for young people Australia-wide There were nine artistic directors during the life-span of Magpie; Geoffrey Rush, the fourth, coined the phrase, 'Pecking at Your Head' as his company slogan He believed: Theatre as a function or an event is nothing like school, nor should it be It's got to be something that comes in, cuts a swathe through the minds of the children - pecks at their heads4 Theatre for the young was not to be just an entertaining experience - although entertainment came first - nor educational to the detriment of fun and theatricality, but a thrilling and stimulating occurrence that made some kind of impact on the minds and emotions of the young The other directors of Magpie subscribed to this philosophy each in his or her own way The shift of focus within this parameter, as each successive Director explored a unique vision, provides a rare overview of a multiplicity of approaches to Theatre for Young People5 Magpie is hatched and goes 'On the Wing' (1972-1983) The SATC established a Youth Activities branch in 1972; Helmut Bakaitis was appointed as its director and remained until 1976 His approach was political, influenced by the radical Melbourne theatrical environment from which he emerged and informed by the educational ideas promulgated in Britain by Peter Slade, Brian Way and in particular, Dorothy Heathcote He established the Saturday Company - a youth theatre6 company - and the Youth Activities Team, which functioned as a drama-in-education team focusing on upper primary children Bakaitis believed in the developmental potential of drama as a methodology in the education of the whole person and as a strategy to help children understand and question the world around them, reflect upon it, accept it, or see a need for reform Eighty teenagers from across Adelaide formed the first Saturday Company Bakaitis was offered Carclew as a venue, an old Adelaide mansion of considerable architectural beauty and interest with a large garden The company devised street theatre, a rock'n'roll cabaret and 'happenings' for Adelaide's biennial Come Out Festival for children The first of two full-scale productions was The Lay of Sir Orfeo (1975), a project linked to the curriculum and the study of Middle English Based on the medieval narrative poem, the company worked on the development of the presentation for nearly a year under Bakaitis' direction7 The stage of the newly built Space Theatre was opened into the huge workshop behind, forming an immense performance venue which broke completely away from proscenium-framed theatre and offered innovative opportunities for actor/audience integration The company constructed the city of Winchester out of cardboard, with stages set all around the 'town' (the SATC provided professional designers to aid the young people) …

Journal Article
TL;DR: In his introduction to Place and Experience as mentioned in this paper, Malpas cited considerations of the relation of persons to space from writers as varied as Wordsworth, Proust, Bachelard, Deleuze and Guattari, Heidegger, and Mark Johnson.
Abstract: Ideas about place have occupied thinkers from a wide spectrum of disciplines, including poets, geographers, philosophers and cultural theorists. In his introduction to Place and Experience, Jeff Malpas cites considerations of the relation of persons to space from writers as varied as Wordsworth, Proust, Bachelard, Deleuze and Guattari, Heidegger, and Mark Johnson. Such writers have established the fundamental importance of place to our sense of being in the world, but have also shown that the relationship between place and identity is highly complex. Both 'place' and 'space' are ambiguous.


Journal Article
TL;DR: The process of devising theatre with an ensemble of young people holds challenges that will test the resources of the most potent director to make dramatic performance from the personal myth and view-point of the actors who perform it requires deft interlocution of diverging narratives and assumptions as discussed by the authors.
Abstract: The process of devising theatre with an ensemble of young people holds challenges that will test the resources of the most potent director To make dramatic performance from the personal myth and view-point of the actors who perform it requires deft interlocution of diverging narratives and assumptions How, in the devising process, to mould a coherent form in order to contain specific subject matter pertaining to youth is the challenge that two Auckland women have taken up This paper is an analysis of their craft and an investigation of their success In 1990, there were two organisations in Auckland that employed theatre professionals on a part time basis to run drama classes for young people1 There were also a number of amateur dramatic societies that presented youth drama classes and theatre performances for a younger audience What was missing however was the opportunity for young people to perform theatre specific to their own concerns and aspirations Sam Scott and Ros Gardner have provided this opportunity, and in the process distilled a rigorous notion of Youth Theatre Sam Scott is director of Massive, a company that had its beginnings in an artist-in-residence program at an East Auckland High School in 1990 Massive is now a professional touring ensemble with appearances in 2004 at the Royal Court in London and Contact Theatre in Manchester Ros Gardner is director of Out Loud, resident Youth Theatre Company at the new and impressive TAPAC (The Auckland Performing Arts Centre), a purpose built theatre facility for the young people of Auckland and New Zealand The central question guiding my investigation into the work of these two women is whether the issues and concerns of the plays that their respective companies present are specific to the lives of young people Ros Gardner and her company Out Loud make it point one on their mission statement to articulate the concerns of youth Sam Scott and Massive make their firststated concern a deep engagement with one another, eliciting passion and commitment To what extent do these stated intentions guide the enterprises and define the outcomes? Is the distillation of youthful passion valid as specificity? Or does specificity equate to social relevance and youth experience? By considering the plays the companies have performed, I will evaluate the companies' achievements and intentions, and consider the degree of specificity contained in the form and content I have seen performances by both companies and have strong impressions of their work; these impressions will be measured alongside the companies' stated intentions, the critical reception of their work, and the responses of peers and of the young actors themselves Sam Scott and Massive: 'For me it's about discovery' As a teenager Scott attended drama classes and later studied drama at Auckland University She had been involved with young people and theatre through the 1980s There were residencies in high schools, intermittent jobs working with youth on summer programs, project-by-project directing jobs, creating plays with adults to be performed for young people, sometimes plays to be devised by young people themselves - all activities around the notion of theatre for young people, yet none close to Scott's own vision of theatre performed by young people In early 1990 Scott was invited by Philipa Sheen, artistic director at the Maidment Theatre, to form a Youth Theatre Company and base her activities at the Maidment on the Auckland University campus This opportunity would provide a secure funding base from the New Zealand Arts Council and Auckland City Scott was to formulate a consistent approach, working with young actors for up to five or six years Each summer a company of approximately twenty would go into rehearsal for six weeks and present a season of eight to twelve performances From year to year throughout the decade the cast numbers would vary from as many as thirty to as few as ten …

Journal Article
TL;DR: The Young People and the Arts Australia (YPAA) as mentioned in this paper is a national umbrella organisation for young people and the arts in Australia, which was founded by Anne Harvey's play I'll Be in On That.
Abstract: As I began the research for this article, I realised that a large chapter of the history of Young People and Performance in Australia has been yet another victim of denial of the past, which seems to be a national pastime The homepage for the websitc of Young People and the Arts Australia (YPAA),1 the current name for the national umbrella organisation based in Adelaide, which considers its role to be advocacy, professional development and training, research, and information provision, includes a brief history of the organisation The earliest date mentioned is 1994, giving the impression that, with one change in name and administrative office, there has been for only ten years an organisation in Australia representing individual professional artists and arts organisations working in the young people and the arts sector across all areas of artform practice While I appreciate that it is not essential for an organisation such as YPAA to provide a detailed history on its website, I find this sparse version historically inaccurate and disappointing, particularly in the light of the copy written more than twenty-seven years ago for the programme used by the AYPAA company when Australia participated in the 1977 ASSITEJ2 Festival in Wales and toured England with Anne Harvey's thcatre-in-education piece I'll Be in On That3 I quote in detail because the intentions and activities of the current organisation derive from its predecessor that began life in 1972: The AUSTRALIAN YOUTH PERFORMING ARTS ASSOCIATION (AYPAA) is the Australian Centre of ASSITEJ It was established some four years ago to act as a resource centre/clearing house for information, people and ideas in the performing arts for young people The vastness of Australia and the sense of isolation felt by many professional and nonprofessional artists, teachers and students are gradually being overcome as AYPAA helps create a greater awareness and confidence through local festivals, seminars, the exchange of ideas and people, and through research and publication A major report, researched by our consultant who travelled throughout Australia for 18 months seeking information on facilities and needs in this area, will shortly be published AYPAA has branches and representatives in all states and territories; publishes a quarterly journal on the performing arts for young people; and assists in the organisation of national and local performing and community arts activities The Association's development has been greatly assisted by the support and encouragement of the Australia Council, the main funding body for the arts in Australia In recent years the Association has organised the first national youth drama camp, held during the Australia 75 Festival in Canberra; hosted a tour by the Theatre Centre, Iran; and conducted a Playwright's Seminar on writing for young people's theatre The performing arts for young people in Australia cover a wide range of activities - including drama, theatre, dance, music, puppetry and film Most of the professional companies presenting programmes for young audiences work in schools and community centres as there are few theatre facilities regularly available for young audiences4 While issue could be taken with a number of statements in YPAA's website history, from simple facts relating to its administrative bases5 or to the implication that before 2004 the membership did not embrace individuals and organisations working in the sector across all areas of artform practice, it is more important to demonstrate that the current organisation is part of a continuum, and that recognising our history is part of growing up, making progress and advancing beyond the perpetual re-invention of the wheel Although I lived in England between 1978 and 1995 and my work has taken different directions, I remain committed to the aims and objectives of an organisation which has had minor name changes (largely a re-arrangement of the same words) over the years …

Journal Article
TL;DR: The St Martins Youth Arts Centre as mentioned in this paper was the first youth theatre company in Australia, and has been in operation since 1978, with a board of directors, a skeleton production and administrative staff and its broad objectives.
Abstract: The face of young people's theatre (YPT) in Australia underwent profound change through the 1980s and 1990s.1 In short, theatre-in-education, (theatre performed by professional companies for the entertainment and education of young people, mostly in schools), had been the dominant form of funded theatre for young people for two decades, but by about 1995 the number of funded companies had fallen away to barely one major company in each capital city.2 TIE has all but died as a form; the few former TIE companies that still exist mainly perform plays and high-tech multimedia works with high production values for youth audiences in theatres. From about the middle of the 1980s, TIE companies gave ground to a rapidly growing number of funded youth theatres: theatre performed and often created by young people up to about twenty-six years of age within professional company structures. In 2003/04, the Australia Council provided grants of various kinds to at least twenty youth theatres and only eight professional YPT companies.3 This paper examines a range of youth theatre practice in Melbourne since the last years of the 1990s, focusing on the long-established and state-funded St Martins Youth Arts Centre4 and two newer organisations: the orthodox Platform Youth Theatre, which has been in operation since 1998, and Wcstsidc Circus, whose origins date back to 1995. It examines a mixture of extant works, or plays specially commissioned for youth companies, and others that are devised by members of the companies with assistance from professional writers and dramaturgs. Some of the playwrights and dramaturge arc emerging artists themselves while others are well-experienced in writing tailor-made plays for different kinds of companies. I am interested in the 'youth-specificity' of the material performed, the kinds of working relationships different writers and/or dramaturgs have with the young people, as well as the efficacy of the works as theatre and as youth theatre. I am especially interested in the ways in which contemporary youth theatre in Melbourne enables or promotes agency in the young people themselves. St Martins Youth Arts Centre St Martins Youth Arts Centre was established in 1978 on the South Yarra site of the old semi-professional adult repertory theatre St Martin's, which in 1973 lost a long battle for financial and artistic survival to its rival the Melbourne Theatre Company (MTC). The site was put up for auction in 1977 (after the MTC relinquished a brief tenancy) and the Liberal state government of Sir Rupert Hamer bought it at the end of 19775, along with what was to become the company's administrative and rehearsal headquarters further up St Martin's Lane, with a view to establishing a fully-equipped, professionally-managed, two-venue complex for a permanent 'children's theatre' along the lines of the Australian Theatre for Young People in Sydney.6 But the inaugural artistic director, Helmut Bakaitis, insisted on a participatory youth theatre model, which is what it became and so it has remained ever since. Bakaitis (an actor trained at the National Institute of Dramatic Art) came to this new venture from a wide range of youth-specific work in Adelaide, where - between 1972 and 1976 - he had been director of YPT activities with the State Theatre Company of SA, director of the young people's theatre programme for the Adelaide Festival (which transformed into the autonomous Come Out Festival in 1975) and was involved with the early work of Carclew Youth Arts Centre.7 While waiting for the theatre rebuilding to be completed,8 Bakaitis and his associate director Michael Mitchener quickly attracted enough young people to stage several substantial productions in 1978 and 1979 as St Martin's Youth Theatre. They performed in various venues, including the Playbox Theatre in Melbourne, and toured to Come Out. In 1980, the new company took possession of its administrative office and was formally incorporated as St Martins Youth Arts Centre, with a board of directors, a skeleton production and administrative staff and its broad objectives. …

Journal Article
TL;DR: In terms of Australian notions of identity, the bush has conventionally been regarded as a place of authenticity, especially for men as mentioned in this paper, where they are thought to be free to act in traditional ways, less confined and constrained than their city-dwelling counterparts, and relationships between men, and those between men and women, are less distorted by 'artificial' external pressures.
Abstract: In terms of Australian notions of identity, the bush has conventionally been regarded as a place of authenticity, especially for men It is where they are thought to be free to act in traditional ways, less confined and constrained than their city-dwelling counterparts, and where relationships between men, and those between men and women, are less distorted by 'artificial' external pressures This article examines these patterns of social interaction and gender relations in three important plays from the 1950s set in rural Australia While the 1950s was a time in which masculinity was in radical transition, there was a strong and widely-recognised consensus at the time about what it meant in practice, and therefore about what men could and could not acceptably do if they wished to qualify for the status of masculinity The article examines the features of masculinity as they appear in these plays, and discusses the uses to which these depictions are put Its aims are in part dramaturgical: to think about the relationship between the scripts of the plays and the time in which they were first performed, and to ask questions about how these plays worked in relation to changing possibilities for the performance of gender In talking about gender, I am using the term to refer to a performed series of actions rather than an innate attribute of human beings, or of characters Judith Butler has described gender as neither a stable identity, nor a locus of agency but an identity 'tenuously constituted in time, instituted in an exterior space through a stylized repetition of acts'1 More recently she describes it as 'a kind of doing, an incessant activity performed, in part, without one's knowing and without one's willing', noting that it is neither automatic nor mechanical but rather 'a practice of improvisation within a scene of constraint'2 This article examines the acts which constituted masculinity at the time of these plays, especially as they were stylised and repeated through the process of creating theatre It also explores both society and the theatre as scenes of constraint, and the ways that three plays responded to these constraints, accepting the dominant version of masculinity to some extent but also exploring and improvising alternatives The special focus on masculinity, rather than gender more widely, is in response to the tendency to take it for granted as an unmarked term As Bruce R Smith points out, 'In the binary "masculine'/'feminine" the criterion has usually been taken to be 'masculine' As a result, "masculine" has managed to deflect attention from itself It is "feminine" that is different, or so the implication goes'3 The first task, then, is to try to mark the term, showing how conventional masculinity was performed, before investigating ways that the theatre tried to problematise it at the time Dick Diamond's musical Reedy River is a useful starting point for an exploration of conventional Australian ways of performing masculinity on stage in the 1950s It provides a kind of gold standard of manliness for the whole period This popular Australian folk musical was first performed in Melbourne in 1953, then in Sydney, and revived repeatedly by the New Theatres throughout the 1950s and 60s in Brisbane, Adelaide, Perth and Newcastle It had many other regional productions, and at least two productions in London An estimate as early as 1969 reckoned that it had already been seen, exclusively in amateur productions, by over 500,000 people4 The play, commissioned by the New Theatre at the time of the Cold War, is a celebration of the lives and values of working men, and in particular the Trade Union movement The New Theatre was considered sufficiently radical at this period to be monitored by the Australian security Intelligence Organisation (ASIO), and according to Gary Smith there are reports of official surveillance at the Sydney season in the Redfern Town Hall in 1955 where it is clear that the working-class agenda of the play was well understood by its audience …