Tag Archives: Sydney Festival

URBAN THEATRE PROJECTS PRESENTS ‘HOME COUNTRY’

As the wafting smoke from the Welcome to Country drifts through the audience it seems to help me focus. It envelops so that the traffic speeding past seems distant. The smoke is pungent and yet soothing. It heightens my senses and increases my receptivity, yet several times during HOME COUNTRY I find little moments of wondering why I feel … whatever it is I am feeling.

HOME COUNTRY is the latest work from Urban Theatre Projects with Blacktown Arts Centre as part of the Sydney Festival. It is staged in Blacktown; it has three stories in a multi-storey carpark; it has a culturally diverse creative team of, writers, musicians, advisors, designers. But it is the actors who do the job here. They are a wonderful cast.

The first characters we meet are from the story BLACKTOWN ANGELS (Andrea James). Angel (Shakira Clanton) has been guarding the audience for quite a while, perched over us on the edge of one of the car park levels. What a presence this actor has. And then she begins to sing. What a voice! The words are unfamiliar but so beautifully rendered to be as enveloping as that smoke. Continue reading URBAN THEATRE PROJECTS PRESENTS ‘HOME COUNTRY’

SYDNEY FESTIVAL and RIVERSIDE THEATRES present ‘KALEIDOSCOPE’

 

KALEIDOSCOPE is fast paced,  high-energy exuberant school holiday entertainment, a multi-faceted circus experience, just perfect for a pre-teen audience.

With her young son Ethan Inspiring the creation of this work on stage, Ethan’s mother wrote a book that described stepping into her son’s  world as like, “the joy of walking through shafts of colour and light; like seeing through a dazzling kaleidoscope”.

When four years of age, Ethan Hugh was diagnosed with “Asperger Syndrome”. He is now twelve years old, and he has learned to understand the incredible beauty of his world discovered through touch. With this show you too can view how to enjoy living life through young Ethan’s eyes.

The show features five speech-free silent circus performers on stage with Ethan, with pre-recorded musical accompaniment and with some voice-overs from Ethan.

The five circus performers and Ethan, are seen slowly awakening from sleep on a huge video wall, then they perform tumbling mimed slapstick acrobatics as they start their day and then go to perform somersaults, flips, back-flips, back-bends, bridges, kick-overs, handstands, front-handsprings, back-handsprings, side aerial cartwheels, turning-cartwheels, in short all manner of acrobatics as they each change out of their pajamas and into their street wear.

Two pole-dancing risk-taking gymnasts, climbed the pole all the way to the ceiling, and then spun and dropped down at high speed.

Attached to the rigging, suspended from the ceiling, was a single tab aerial hoop-ring without a hand-loop. The hoop-ring aerialist was lifted by her troupe up to the hoop-ring, and then she delivered an awe-inspiring performance, with elegance strength and power, as she looped climbed spun, creating a clever aerial dance movement experience that regularly gained oohs and aahs from the audience.

A surprising pillow fight, lead to thousands of feathers flying everywhere which was delightfully followed by loud screaming from the boisterous young audience.

Whilst the silk aerialist is seated and playing music on a toy piano, Ethan decides to paint her feet red, and her arms yellow and orange. She then climbs the two white silks to perform aerial acrobatics, and while hanging from the fabric, wraps, drops, rolls, spins, climbs, all of which turned the white silks into a fantasy matrix of superb dazzling colours that was yet another great audience pleaser.

The shown ran for 50 minutes without interval.

Highly recommended, KALEIDOSCOPE plays the Lennox Theatre at Parramatta Riverside Theatres until the 18th January 2017.   The theatre is located on the corner of Church and Market Streets, Parramatta, NSW.

Remaining performances :-

Tuesday 17 January at 3.30pm
Wednesday 18 January at 6.15pm

https://riversideparramatta.com.au/show/kaleidoscope/

 

SYDNEY FESTIVAL 2017 LAUNCH

The 2017 Festival features 150 events, almost half of which are free. The Festival’s program was recently unveiled by Wesley Enoch, the Festival’s new and first indigenous Artistic Director at the State Theatre on 26 October 2016.

Big ticket items include UK theatre company Cheek by Jowl’s production of Shakespeare’s Measure for Measure, staged in Russian with the Pushkin Theatre Company, and, The Beach, an installation with one million recyclable balls at the Cutaway at the Barangaroo Reserve.

The Festival will also feature performances by Nick Cave and P.J. Harvey.

Wesley Enoch’s first Festival includes an extensive program of indigenous arts. A feature event will be Bayala -LETS SPEAK SYDNEY LANGUAGE which features classes led by Darug woman Jacinta Tobin and Gadigal man Joel Davidson.

The Festival First Night at the Domain will not be held but an increased number of free events will be held in the Festival Village in Hyde Park North.

Both Symphony Under The Stars and Opera Under The Stars will be held twice, once in the Domain and the second performance at Parramatta Park.

This Western Suburbs inclusion features Circus City, a program of shows, workshops and free events in Parramatta.

In Campbelltown there will be an exhibition of Deathrow paintings by convicted heroin smuggler Myuran Sukumaran who was executed in Indonesia in 2015.

The Sydney Festival runs from January 7 to 29, 2017.

All images by Ben Apfelbaum (c). 

http://Sydneyfestival.org.au

WOYZECK @ CARRIAGEWORKS

Woyczek- main

Tom Wait’s and Kathleen Brennan’s music and lyrics performed by a glorious band and sung by the talented actors of the Thalia Theatre, Hamburg is what I took most away from this exciting Sydney Festival production. Much of the music had a delightful Kurt Weill aesthetic, whilst other songs were just as pleasing but were in more traditional Tom Wait Americana territory.

Georg Buchner’s 1836 play, WOYZECK, has a surprisingly modern resonance with its themes of workplace alienation, despair, jealously and marginalised members of society not functioning in our world of economic rationalism and political expediency.

Franz Woyzeck (Felix Knopp) is a lowly soldier stationed in a provincial German town. Woyzeck earns extra money for his family by performing menial jobs for the Captain (Philipp Hochmair) and agreeing to take part in medical experiments conducted by the Doctor (Tilo Werner). Continue reading WOYZECK @ CARRIAGEWORKS

WHAT WILL HAVE BEEN @ THE MAGIC MIRRORS SPIEGELTENT

What Will Have Been- Jamie Williams
Production photography by Jamie Williams

Since 2004 Circa has been creating powerful works of circus art that blur the lines between movement, dance, theatre and circus. Under the direction of Yaron Lifschitz the dynamic trio of two male and one female acrobat use everything at their disposal – trapeze, aerial ropes, balance poles and each other’s bodies – to thrill and astound the audience.

Live violinist Rebecca Seymour plays Bach amongst a soundtrack of electronica. The three performers are perfectly in tune with each other’s bodies as the music surrounds and enfolds them and us from the very start to their final embrace. Continue reading WHAT WILL HAVE BEEN @ THE MAGIC MIRRORS SPIEGELTENT

Wesley Enoch appointed as Sydney Festival Director 2017-2019

Sydney Festival has announced that Wesley Enoch as the incoming Festival Director for a three-year tenure from 2017-2019. He will take the reins from Lieven Bertels, who completes his term in 2016, marking the Festival’s 40th anniversary.

Wesley is currently the Artistic Director of the Queensland Theatre Company (2010-15). He has been the Artistic Director of Kooemba Jdarra in Brisbane (1994-97) and Ilibijerri in Melbourne (2003- 04), Resident Director for Sydney Theatre Company (2000-01), Associate Artistic Director of Belvoir (2006- 08), a Trustee of the Sydney Opera House (2003- 2011) and a director of the Indigenous section of the 2006 Melbourne Commonwealth Games Opening Ceremony.

He has directed six projects for Sydney Festival over the past 15 years: The Sunshine Club (2000), Eora Crossing (2004), The Sapphires (2005), Nargun and the Stars (2009), I am Eora (2012) and Black Diggers (2014). Wesley has worked with almost every major theatre company and festival in the country and toured shows internationally.

Deputy Premier and Minister for the Arts, Troy Grant, said “Sydney Festival is one of the world’s pre-eminent arts and cultural festivals and I am delighted that Wesley Enoch will be the Festival’s new Director. Wesley has already made a significant contribution to the Australian arts landscape and brings a wealth of experience to this coveted role in which he will lead one of our country’s most important annual events alongside Executive Director, Chris Tooher.”

The Lord Mayor, Clover Moore MP said “Wesley is one of Australia’s finest creative talents and it’s terrific to see him at the helm of Sydney’s major cultural festival. Judging by his past contributions to Sydney Festival, with productions like I am Eora and Black Diggers, he will not shy away from the important issues. Under Wesley Enoch’s watch I’m looking forward to seeing more Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander artists and audiences, who make such a valuable contribution to our country’s creativity and culture, taking part in the Festival.”

Wesley is delighted about the new challenge, saying “Excited is too inadequate a word for how I’m feeling. I have had a long love affair with Sydney Festival and its audiences. I’m totally thrilled to return in the role of Festival Director. The Festival is a huge family of people who give their time, resources, money and talent; and I want to meet every single one of them. Festivals provide a huge cultural canvas and help reimagine a city, helping it think creatively and see things differently. I’m looking forward to rolling up my sleeves and getting started.”

On The Harmful Effects of Tobacco

Tobacco-inset
Michel Robin delivered a memorable performance in this inter-disciplinary retelling of Anton Chekhov’s quirky one Act play

This Theatre Des Bouffes Du Nord production combined a quirky Chekhov one act play with classical French comedic theatre techniques along with powerful classical music to bring off a great night’s entertainment.

The quality of the musicianship was superb – Floriane Bonnani (Violin and Original Concept), Muriel Ferraro (Soprano) and Emmanuelle Swiercz (Piano) set a high standard for their playing of the Bach, Tchaikovsky and Berio pieces.   Continue reading On The Harmful Effects of Tobacco

Long Grass @ The Everest

Scenes from LONG GRASS. Pics by Jamie Williams
Scenes from LONG GRASS. Pics by Jamie Williams

LONG GRASS tells the story of living rough in Darwin, and mixes traditional Aboriginal mysticism with the harsher realities of indigenous life. The show touches on many issues facing the Aboriginal community there: unemployment, domestic and alcohol abuse, and it is hard to imagine the story being told would be anything but depressing, but the contrary was true: LONG GRASS was charming and captivating at every turn.

The term ‘long grass’ is applied to the Aboriginals who live on the fringe, homeless yet not without a community of their own. The influx of ‘New Australians’ to the top end receive housing, yet the Aboriginals camp out while the police and social services look the other way. Continue reading Long Grass @ The Everest

Tabac Rouge @ Sydney Theatre

James Thierree and Valerie Doucet in TABAC ROUGE
James Thierree and Valerie Doucet in TABAC ROUGE

What happens when you collide a world class exponent of the nonverbal with an educated audience of festival goers? If tonight’s performance of TABAC ROUGE is any indicator, there are those who huffily and noisily walk out during the performance and those who stand for the whole of the 10 minute long bows. Similarly the show ranges and yet is riven. In the world of surrealism, which appeals to who regarding what is central.

After sell-out international seasons since its inception early in 2013, TABAC ROUGE is the hot ticket of the Sydney Festival. The Compagnie Du Hanneton is under the directorship of James Thierree and the work encompasses dance, movement, magic, circus and an indefinable otherness to create an experience rather than tell a story. Continue reading Tabac Rouge @ Sydney Theatre

Archie Roach @ The Aurora

Archie Roach in concert

Archie Roach’s concert, CREATION, opened at Sydney Festival’s fabulous The Aurora, a Spiegeltent style construction. It was a pleasure to hear this iconic performer singing and telling his memorable stories in such a stunning location.

Children feature prominently in the stories in Archie’s songs, obviously in Took the Children Away, but also in Nowhere To Go, a song about the government’s closing of schools, and Old Mission Road, where Archie imagines what his young life would have been like if he had been able to spend more time with his parents instead of being stolen away.

Archie also speaks lovingly about children in the rambling stories he shares with the audience between songs. Initially these stories seem like a distraction, but they grow on you and become an integral part of the evening’s entertainment. Continue reading Archie Roach @ The Aurora

MASQUERADE @ the Drama Theatre

“Fifty is my first, Nothing is my second, Five just makes my third, My fourth a vowel is reckoned.”

Bring your children to Sydney Opera House to see this world  premiere production delivered in a manner that is well beyond the world of the armchair treasure hunt, with its beautiful illustrations, provided by the book.

Local playwright Kate Mulvany has lovingly adapted British author Kit Williams’ children’s book, first published in January, 1987.

Jack Hare takes us all on a fast-paced 120 minute journey, departing from his mistress, The Moon and then setting out on a mission to deliver both her message of love (a deep and meaningful riddle) and her jeweled gift, to her male paramour, The Sun. Continue reading MASQUERADE @ the Drama Theatre