I am a performer and creative producer based in Melbourne. I have a background of training and performance in acting, clown and physical theatre and have been producing my own brand of off-kilter physical comedy with heart, for both film and theatre for the past six years. I love to laugh, fall over and see things that inspire me and share them with you here.
Well I feel like I've spun out of the end of this year from a relentless spin cycle of creative projects, adrenaline and work. I was remembering this time last year and how fresh and excited I was feeling about my goals of this year and when I look back on what they were I see I did them all (and some). So before I dive headlong onto a new decade and new set of projects and ideas I think it's important to look back on they little year that could, what I've learnt, what inspired me, what challenged me and then of course a few musing on what is to come.
This hot summer month in Melbourne was spent hunkering down with the crew from Revolt Productions. Painting, grinding, cleaning, business planning in support of their epic vision of the space. These guys have had a huge year; nearly wiped out by the March flood they rose to the challenge and have created an ambitious arts venue in Kensington which was finally launched in early November. Do yourself a favour and check it out if your in melbs.
Feb march saw me and the minstrel boys heading to SA, first lesson learned was always pre-pay for excess baggage, which we didn't and had to undertake a stealthy cabin luggage fiasco and posted all our clothes to our hostel...planning planning planning people!
Arriving a week before to set up the venue with the ever lovely support of Carin from the fringe team, we built the stage, rigged the lights and set up our sparkly sign all in time for the big opening night. Spending a month in Adelaide was such a blast. Positives: our groovy hosts at the hostel, winding down each night at the atmospheric artist bar, playing to sell out crowds, the minstrels being nominated for Best Cabaret, our brilliant venue team, Murray, Jason and the crew at the Austral (favorite memory was dancing up a storm with them all on the our final night after the luke warm awards night), meeting other rad and inspiring artists and general fun of life on the road, oh and the mega amazingly tasty late night Mexican place across the road.. Negatives; eating enough hungry jacks for a lifetime, the late night antics of the local trashbags, suburban audiences and their prudishness (surprising and luckily not all inclusive), Calipsal (shudder). I had such a brilliant time in Adelaide, actually my favorite festival experience to date, I look forward to heading back there in 2011.
With only 4 days off between the Melbourne International Comedy Festival was upon us and homeless and couch surfing as I was I played an epic four week season at the Forum Theatre....in the broom cupboard ;) I loved this venue, it was tiny (30 seats with a stage the size of a desk), but it created a really different intimacy with the audience that hadn't existed in Adelaide. Best memories of this season was when an 80 year lady came and sat in the middle of the front row one night, she hadn't been back to Melbourne since she met her husband there in the 40's and she had an absolute blast! what a legend, hope I'm like that when I'm 80. The other highlight was seeing a whole family come and enjoy the show sitting up the back, the youngest boy was probably 12 and his two older brothers where killing themself with laughter as was the dad...the mum on the other hand was swinging between hysterics and horror at what her young son was seeing. And then the coolest thing was Birdman coming along, I saw Birdy in Brisbane 7 o 8 years ago at the Judith Wright Centre in this gorgeous little clown show along with Neridah Waters and Johnathan (lastname??) which my friend Ramona and I was so inspired by that we wrote our first theatre/clown show Small Dreams, it was a very special experience performing for such an great performer.
The other highlight of this festival was the riding of live camels down Swanston Street for a promo event for The Minstrels of The Revolution 'In Search of Atlantis', I love these moments when you do something so bizarre and you get to say yep....this is what I do for a living. The boys played a short season at The Butterfly Club in South Melbourne, which was a bit of a struggle as venues outside of the CBD have a really hard time, this was made up for the fact that David and the Gang at the club are total legends.
Man I'm exhausted from writing already, no wonder I am exhausted and burnt out by the end of this year! So after a few sweet weeks off after the end of the Comedy Festival we geared up for the Rented Space Shoot. For full details of this project check out my fellow blogger Kai Smythe at The Rented Space Diaries. In a nutshell this was blutty epic, an three month mammoth of no sleep and hard work to pull off the 6 day shoot. The film has only recently been finished and premiered at The Australian Centre for the Moving Image as part of the VCA Film and Television Graduate showcase. Over 40 crew, 50 cast members and a whooooole lotta catering. Had an absolute blast and looking forward to the next stage of development, to bring this kick ass series to your screens.
Kwikfix was a short film by Kelly Hucker which I script assisted and 1st AD on, this was a great little film starring Neil Triffet and Kate McLennan which won Best Comedy at the VCA Grad awards.
At the Formal was a work of art written and directed by Andrew Kavanagh and Produced by my very good friend Ramona Telecican. It is a truly beautiful film that swept the awards at the VCA Grad showings including, Best of Year, Best Overall, Most innovative and Best Cinematography (for Kai Smythe). I'm sure this will go onto other festivals so do yourself a favour and check it out.
As writer/director Kai Smythe continue the work on the pilot I turned by head to producing Tim Mager's directorial debut 'The Omega Quest' the epic space puppet opera that premiered at the Melbourne Fringe Festival starring Francis McMahon and Miyuki Watanabe. This was a really ambitious project that thankfully paid off and taught me a lot of lessons and reminded me of a few that I thought had sussed (he he never get to ahead of yourself, always keep your feet on the ground). The season was a huge hit with rave reviews and some really memorable moments.
One of my very favorite moments of the fringe was participating in 'Shut Up and Dance' a on mass clown dance with The Town Bikes. I loved the fact that dance become such a key part of the programming at this year's fringe, and spent many really excellent nights dancing away at the club.
I also took part in the two day Masterclass with Cal McCrystal the brilliant physical comedy director who co-created the Mighty Boosch and is currently the physical comedy director with Cirque du Soleil, met some brilliant performers and was so inspired that I'm trying to raise funds to bring him back for a two week creative development in mid 2011.
Because I wasn't performing this year at Fringe I really enjoyed the privilege of seeing lots of other shows, the highlight of which was definietly the 'Hermitude of Angus' from the kids at SlowClap Productions. Such a gorgeous physical comedy show that was at once, touching, heartfelt, intellegent, evil, ridiculous and fucking hilarious!!! Vachael and Steph are doing a big tour for the show in early 2011 so check it out if you can; Adelaide Fringe, Brisbane Comedy, Auckland Fringe and Melbourne Comedy Festival.
November - Training and Planning
As November clicked around I started a new day job as Program Coordinator at Creative Spaces at the Melbourne City Council a great program that links artist with spaces to exhibit, work, rehearse and perform. On pretty much the same day I was offered a place at the Witness Relocation Master class in Sydney with the Australian Circus and Physical Theatre Association, so off I went for two weeks of sweating, wrestling, tumbling and all round awesomeness, (see the post on Reptilian for more details). This month i also sent off a few grant applications for projects next year and me and Kai Smythe were shortlisted for the Moosehead Award for Sexytime!
December - Winding down and looking forward
As the year came winding down I enjoyed a great and short little season at Melbourne's heart of Cabaret The Butterfly Club with the 'How to be a Lady Christmas Special'. It was such a beautiful moment performing the show on that stage, six years prior I had come to Melbourne and experienced my first ever Melbourne Fringe Festival and was completely blown away at 'The Beautiful Losers', I dreamed of one day doing the same thing with my work, so there I was making people giggle and it was just lovely. I also got a great video recording of the show which will really help with the pitch pack for sending out for Grants and touring option in 2011.
Looking towards the Adelaide Fringe and Melbourne Comedy Festival the plans were put in place to bring Sexytime! to the stage, and we were very luck that the talented and lovely Michael Davoren has agreed to lend his voice to the narration of the show.
Now sitting in QLD for the annual northern pilgrimage for Christmas, I've eaten and drunk far too much and am spending the days snoozing, watching dvd's, reading and dreaming of what the next decade might hold in store for this little lass. xx