Please visit bsstc.com.au/blog for our new blog on our redesigned 2013 website.
September 2012 saw our stalker thriller Boy Gets Girl receive great reviews during its two-week run at the State Theatre Centre of WA. Adam Mitchell directed a stellar cast and the set design by Fiona Bruce was impressive. Audiences loved it!
Also loving the production was a group of students from Cyril Jackson Senior Campus who were successful in their application for bus sponsorship, supported by our 2012 Education Partner Hawaiian and their program, Hawaiian Alive.
The school group attended the matinee performance on 25 September and for some, it was their first time at the theatre. Teacher Libby Hinton said, “the students absolutely loved the performance and got to speak with two of the actors afterwards. I can already see that their attitude toward theatre has matured.”
Black Swan’s bus sponsorship initiative gave these students the opportunity to come to the State Theatre Centre using free transport arranged by Black Swan.
Applications for bus sponsorship in 2013 are now open. There are a few criteria that schools must meet, like:
- Schools must be no more that 100 kilometres from the Perth CBD.
- Students/teachers must apply as part of their Drama Course task work, using either Production or Investigation Task as a guideline.
- Schools must formally thank Black Swan in writing after attending the performance.
- Schools must provide two transportation quotes.
For more information about Black Swan’s bus sponsorship initiative, and to download an application form, click here. Plus, in the Education section of our website you can read about all the other things that Black Swan offers schools, teachers and students, like workshops, discounted tickets, free post-show Q&As with the cast and more.
Black Swan’s second live broadcast is fast approaching! David Williamson’sManaging Carmen will be broadcast live on 30 November 2012 from the State Theatre Centre of WA in Perth to regional WA audiences over the Westlink channel.
The live broadcast of theatre performances is an opportunity for thousands of regional WA citizens who cannot attend Black Swan performances because of distance or financial constraints to share a state-wide ‘live’ experience within their own home or community.
In very exciting news, we’ve just learned that Yule Brook College and Black Swan have been granted $30,000 from the AIR Grants Program!
Yule Brook College in Maddington approached Black Swan to request our involvement in a new project. The school does not currently run a drama program and students have been requesting one for many years. Staff members are keen to learn alongside their students so that they may implement their own programs after this project.
With this grant funding, Black Swan will work with Yule Brook College staff and Years 8-11 students on the techniques, language and conventions of theatre, as well as creative skills and critical appreciation.
Timothy Dashwood is the lead actor in the upcoming Managing Carmen, playing Brent Lyall and his alter ego Carmen. Managing Carmen opened to great patron feedback in Queensland and we are definitely looking forward to the production coming to Perth! Timothy was nice enough to answer a few questions for us:
You play Brent Lyall, a football team captain in Managing Carmen, have you ever played football, or been/are a fan?
Timothy Dashwood: Yes and yes! I’m a big fan of the Carlton Blues. I get very depressed when they lose and wish I was good enough to play for them!
I played for a few years but QLD isn’t really a big AFL place. When I was growing up, the league I was in only had three teams so I played for a year but was a bit too pudgy to play well. I played in grade 12 for my high school in an inter-school competition which was a heap of fun as I was one of the few players who wasn’t a rugby player playing football! A couple of years later after university I played again for a club and really enjoyed it but got my first ever concussion in the preliminary finals – and at the time I was doing a school’s touring show that meant up to 13 shows a week, and didn’t think it was worth gettin g injured and not being able to perform.
I thought about playing this year and went to a training session but wasn’t able to fit it in around some other shows I was doing for the first half of the year.
How did you prepare for this role? Did it require a lot of research to get into the mindset of the character?
TD: There were a lot of things I had to try and get my head around. I read a lot of books about different subjects, specifically autobiographies of sportsmen like Dennis Rodman and Jason Akermanis, also of David Williamson and Richard and Peter Werritt (there is some talk of cross-dressing).
I also tried to get in touch with a heap of football clubs but none of them were interested at the time. I was able to chat with a Collingwood player (before I knew my character was a Magpie…!) through a family connection which was really interesting. We met up a few times for coffee then I went along and saw the game on the weekend – was a nice insight!
Also I did a lot of reading on social disorders – Claire Lovering (playing Jessica in Managing Carmen) also showed me a few readings on behavioural issues and cross-dressing references. She did a lot of research on the psychology side which I was able to tap into.
Finally I had to do a lot of physical work – heels, lady-like business – and tried to kick a footy a lot and get to the gym. I did a lot of watching of how women move, walk, talk and how that differs from men.
How does this role differ from characters that you’ve played in the past?
TD: Almost every role is going to have some new challenge. This one is a bit unique because I’m playing two characters who are essentially one person. David Williamson gave me a lot of help with the journey of Brent/Carmen in that he is VERY specific at the beginning – almost so specific it is hard to play it convincingly, but throughout the play Brent is quickly caught up in his addiction and playing the role of Carmen that at the end of the play Brent comes out as a more ‘full’ person – the two halves join together.
I think the joining of the polar opposites is the interesting part: Brent who has no emotion and tries to hide everything, to Carmen who wants to be seen, heard and get out there.
It’s great to be given so many diverse roles in my short career. Just this year I have been in a Shakespeare, a musical and now a Williamson, as well as lots of little gigs throughout the years. Each role is completely new and different!
Do you feel Brent is in a common position? That there is a certain stereotype that surrounds football players and other sporting heroes, a persona that they have to meet in order to be accepted by the general public?
TD: Absolutely, although maybe not as extreme as Brent’s case. David has certainly used this story to express what is happening throughout our media and our heroes – showing that a lot of these people are just normal people who get put on a pedestal for their skill but are just as flawed as the rest of us. The media provide a huge framework for how our ‘famous’ people are accepted by the general public. Our sports heroes are expected to be an example for everyone. Whenever they do something ‘wrong’ we condemn them or at least hear about it and are forced to have some sort of opinion about it. We idolise them, children want to be them and some people strive their entire life to be like their sporting hero. When our heroes lose our trust or disappoint us we can’t help but feel betrayed….or can we?
What’s next for you?
TD: Lots of things actually! Straight after our season in Perth I head back to Brisbane to do a short children’s show for the lead up to Christmas playing a mischievous possum who ruins Christmas. Then I fly to Canada and New York to train in Stage Combat, Meyerhold’s Biomechanics and hopefully a bit of singing! I received the Brisbane City Council Lord Mayor’s Fellowship Grant to train with my mentor Nigel Poulton in the US and to attend the Paddy Crean Bi-annual Stage Combat Conference in Canada. It is going to be a great trip!
Then I’m on the road again with an adaptation of George Orwell’s Animal Farm with Shake ‘n’ Stir Theatre Company touring around Australia – playing a few more animals. I think I’ll even be back in WA at the start of next year.
Managing Carmen is on at the State Theatre Centre of Perth from 10 Nov – 2 Dec. Tickets on sale through Ticketek.
Two Recipients Awarded the Richard Burton Award for Playwriting
Two recipients have been selected from the shortlist of six entries to receive the Richard Burton Award for Playwriting, created by Sally Burton in association with Black Swan State Theatre Company. These two writers have been awarded commissions worth $15,000 each. With a prize pool of $30,000, the Richard Burton Award for Playwriting is one of the richest in Australia.
The recipients of the Richard Burton Award for Playwriting are:
- Ingle Knight (Western Australia) – Best New Play Equity Guild Awards 2003 and 2008, ‘Best of the Best’ Toronto Fringe 2008.
- Tommy Murphy (New South Wales) – WA Premier’s Award for Best Play, NSW Premier’s Literary Award for Best Play 2007, AWGIE Award for Best Play 2007, Aussietheatre.com online award for Best New Play.
Writers were shortlisted based on the strength of their submitted plays, then the six shortlisted writers were asked to submit a treatment for a proposed new work. Ingle Knight and Tommy Murphy were selected to receive this Award based on the strength of their treatments.
Black Swan will negotiate a commission agreement and a schedule for completion for the new plays with Knight and Murphy. They will each be awarded $15,000 for a successfully completed commission. Black Swan will have the first exclusive right to produce the play.
The other shortlisted writers were: Mary Rachel Brown (New South Wales), Melissa Bubnic (Victoria), Tom Holloway (Victoria) and David Milroy (Western Australia).
The judging panel was chaired by Sally Burton and included Black Swan’s Artistic Director Kate Cherry, Stephen Bevis (Arts Editor, The West Australian), Terri-ann White (Director, UWA Publishing) and Barbara Connell (Chair, Australian Writers Guild, WA).
Sally Burton said, “I am delighted by the calibre of submitted works to this year’s Richard Burton Award. The two chosen recipients provided exciting and inspiring works that caught our attention and our hearts.”
Kate Cherry, Black Swan’s Artistic Director said, “A Western Australian currently living in Northern Territory, Ingle Knight’s work is quite ambitious and stimulating, something the panel feels will resonate with audiences. New South Wales’ Tommy Murphy submitted a thought provoking work that has very timely themes, written in a most assured hand. I am excited to see what comes of the commissions.”
Now in its third year, the Richard Burton Award for Playwriting was established to celebrate the career of Richard Burton, one of the great actors of stage and screen, and to encourage great storytellers from all over Australia to develop new work.
More information about the Richard Burton Award for Playwriting can be found at www.bsstc.com.au.
The cast of our upcoming production Managing Carmen is busy in Brisbane, as the Opening Night of the Queensland Theatre Company season is tonight! But Claire Lovering, who plays the psychologist Jessica, took some time out to answer a few questions for us:
Black Swan: What was it about Managing Carmen that sparked your interest?
Claire Lovering: The fact that it was the world premiere of a new David Williamson play to be directed by Wesley Enoch really peaked my interest. When I first read the script, I was most excited by the relevance of the writing and the accuracy of the contemporary archetypes each character represents.
BS: What have you been working on since The Damned, which was your most recent Black Swan production?
CL: I’ve been living in Sydney where I did an internship with Version 1.0 – a documentary theatre company, worked on a web series for Movie Network Channel, spent some time in the UK and most recently worked on a show at the Old Fitzroy theatre.
BS: You originally auditioned for the role of the main characters girlfriend, but were instead cast in the larger role of his psychologist. Was that surprising? How did it change your approach to the play?
CL: Yes it was a bit of a surprise! Jessica is a less heightened character than Clara and has more naturalistic dialogue. She ends up being the love interest of Brent Lyall and has a huge arc throughout the play. It changed my approach to the play in that she was a lot less comedic and often is the straight character in scenes, setting up the laughs for other characters. As such, I had to approach the role with a stronger search for truth in order for the romantic thread of the story to be convincing.
BS: How do you prepare for a role? What processes do you go through?
CL: I usually start by looking at the words and punctuation of the text, understanding the meanings and phrases my character and others use. I then write out lists of all the things my character says about themself and other characters and what other characters say about me. Once I have understood what the writer has intended I then set about fleshing out and layering the character. I write out their background, their likes and dislikes, their needs and obstacles, what they want in each scene and what they want in life. Jessica is a psychologist and acting coach so to further my research I spoke to a psychologist about the ethical boundaries of a therapist and her client. The scenes in Managing Carmen are very short and snappy and I’m often going from one scene straight into another so I made a storyboard so I could visually map out the journey of my character. Then it’s all about letting all that work go and seeing the world through her eyes and thinking her thoughts in order to just be in the moment.
BS: What do you feel this play highlights most about society? Do you agree?
CL: The play really highlights the themes of self-expression and individuality and the judgement and critical nature of society. It is set in the world of the AFL celebrity culture and sees the media response to a scandal involving a high-level football player. Because of this there is also a strong media influence and that has been emphasised by the use of technology within the play.
This play is a truly pertinent reflection on contemporary Australian culture. The ultimate message is one of tolerance and acceptance – and is one that I strongly support!
BS: Managing Carmen opens in Queensland before its two week season in Perth. Do you get the opportunity to travel much in your job? What’s the most exotic location or most interesting experience you have had so far in your career?
CL: Working on co-productions with other theatre companies is a great opportunity to live and work in other locations. I have been living in Brisbane for over a month now and between the gorgeous weather and the swimming pool it has been a wonderful experience!
Managing Carmen will be at the State Theatre Centre of WA from 10 November to 2 December. Tickets on sale now through Ticketek!
Lisa McCready has been working for Black Swan, coordinating a number of projects which include all of our regional engagement projects that have been implemented in 2012. We asked Lisa about:
Her thoughts on regional development?
My aspirations are to work collaboratively with regional towns and remote communities to produce high quality theatre, giving areas outside of the metropolitan area the same opportunities and access that people living in the city have. I feel that this is the way that arts organisations are heading, albeit slowly, with companies such as Black Swan utilising the advances that have been made with technology for broadcasting theatre across the state, it is becoming a lot more achievable. Art is something that should be celebrated and experienced by everyone. The belief that capital cities are the ‘cultural hubs’ of any country is not always the case. There are some amazing talents and passionate, creatively driven people outside of the box so to speak, and the wonderful thing about working closely with remote towns is that with different lifestyles come different perspectives and attitudes towards everything, particularly art. This ultimately creates a richer, more diverse piece driven by a passionate exchange of ideas.
Her role and what it involves?
To put it in a nutshell, I manage the logistics that go into all the projects, getting them from an A4 action plan and a budget to fruition.
I liaise with community members, tutors, venues, council staff, schools and anyone else involved with the project, and then I work backwards from what we are hoping to achieve in order to determine the steps it will take to get there. I enjoying coordinating; schedules, budgets, people and events. The sense of achievement it brings is multiplied when working with communities that don’t often have such activities available to them. Each project is different and has its own obstacles and rewards, much like the towns I am working with – some have a pre-established arts or theatre groups and others don’t. The variation in the project and the communities is what keeps my job interesting, plus I have the chance to chat with people from all walks of life and all areas of the state.
The regional projects she has been working on?
Earlier this year I coordinated a series of free workshops that accompanied the regional tour of Signs Of Life, a pilot project in Carnarvon entitled WA Stories, workshop residencies in Karratha and Kalgoorlie, and a Live Broadcast of Managing Carmen to 11 regional venues across WA with companion workshops in Broome, Carnarvon and Merredin.
What she is enjoying about the role?
I enjoy the research process, learning about towns I haven’t been to and delving deeper into towns I have. Having the opportunity to talk to people in the towns and find out what they do, what they want out of workshops or projects and their opinions on what worked and what didn’t is incredibly valuable. Each project is always a learning curve as unfortunately I am not the person on the ground, therefore I am heavily reliant on feedback to evaluate the process and adapt projects to cater more to the needs of the community. It’s probably the one time that being the messenger will not get you shot! I have the joy of passing on messages to tutors about how much people enjoyed their workshops and on the flipside I have the chance to offer communities these opportunities for free
After the glowing success of Black Swan’s live broadcast of A Midsummer Night’s Dream in 2011, we bring you the live broadcast of David Williamson’s Managing Carmen on Friday 30 November 2012 at 7.30pm. Managing Carmen is a brand-new comedy about fooball and fashion – to be exact, about an AFL superstar who has a secret penchant for cross-dressing. To find out more about the play, click here.
This second simulcast is once again supported by Lotterywest, allowing Black Swan to broadcast Managing Carmen to 10 regional theatres or community venues and regional Community Resource Centres (CRCs) via the State Government owned Westlink Satellite Channel.
This year, Black Swan is extending its reach from as far north as Broome and as far south as Esperance, alongside a Perth metropolitan screening at the Piazza and Perth Cultural Centre screens.
The regional simulcasts on Friday 30 November are free events, and patrons are encouraged to book tickets through the following venues prior to the performance to secure their seats:
Bunbury The New Lyric Theatre
Broome Sun Pictures
Carnarvon Camel Lane Theatre
Esperance Esperance Civic Centre
Geraldton Queens Park Theatre
Kalgoorlie Goldfields Arts Centre
Margaret River Margaret River Cultural Centre
Merredin Cummins Theatre
Moora Moora Performing Arts Centre
Port Hedland Matt Dann Cultural Centre
From our Education and Community Access Manager, Alena:
Each year we choose three regional areas to receive the community engagement package as well as the broadcast for free. This added extra includes free workshops for the community as well as a Black Swan tutor in their venue on the evening of the broadcast. As Education & Community Access Manager, part of my role includes getting out into the community to meet recipients of the free workshops, well ahead of the actual event.
I recently returned from sunny Broome, after three wonderful days sampling its wares and talking with the theatre movers and shakers in town. Teachers, theatre leaders, venue managers and community members are all eager to help spread the word about this fabulous event and the free workshops that will be available not only in Broome, but Carnarvon and Merredin as well.
Black Swan State Theatre Company’s new community engagement initiative is WA Stories, a project that works to bring local stories to life to showcase regional communities. The Town of Carnarvon has been chosen as the inaugural WA town for this exciting pilot project. Writer Francis Italiano will work with the Carnarvon community to research and develop local stories.
Everyone and every community have a story to tell. That’s the idea behind Black Swan’s pilot project WA Stories. Black Swan will work with the Carnarvon community to find their stories and support the local artistic community at the same time.
With an initial community consultation period and regular week long visits by writer Francis Italiano, Black Swan will work in collaboration with community members in Carnarvon to create a theatre script unique to the town and its stories. This stage will not only allow for voices to be heard and ideas to be brainstormed, but it will also determine the overall outcome of the project and form the shape that any future performance might take.
Francis Italiano just completed his second visit to Carnarvon, with two more visits to occur by early next year. The expected date for the finished script is March 2013.
Stage two will see Black Swan take on a mentoring and support role and handing over the reins of the project to the community. Black Swan can provide a theatre maker who will work with community members to help and advise them on bringing the production to fruition in a venue or multiple venues – this could be the local hall or theatre, library, schools, senior centres or open spaces.
Black Swan can provide workshops focusing on performance skills, a resident director or designer to support any local artists, an understanding of the production process, and information on funding bodies and other resource organisations that could assist in producing and presenting the final work.
Facilitating the development by providing the community with these tools will allow people to collaborate and work towards a common goal, giving Carnarvon a sense of ownership of the piece.
We anticipate these two stages may take place over an extended period of up to two years dependent on each community.
Enquiries can be directed to:
Lisa McCready, Project Coordinator, Black Swan State Theatre Company
State Theatre Centre of WA, Level 1, 182 William Street, Perth WA 6000
Tel: +61 8 6212 9300 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org