Our adventures thus far…

ACAPTA’s Cultural Leaders have been very busy! With so many
summits, symposiums and salons to attend we’ve hardly had time to blog! So
here’s a quick rundown of many of the things we’ve been keeping ourselves busy
with.

We kick-started our project in June with ‘Showcase
Victoria’, a showcase of potential touring shows presented by the Victorian
Association of Performing Arts Centres and Regional Arts Victoria. Here we met
many touring companies and regional venue coordinators, including Jessie Deane,
who invited us to have our first ‘salon’ session about her career and work as
Venues Coordinator for Hobson’s Bay City Council. We also connected with Donna
Jackson through the showcase, who gave us the opportunity to volunteer as
guides in the ‘Illuminated By Fire’ site specific project in July. This gave us
the chance to learn about her process and working style, which she then
formally shared and discussed with us in a session in the weeks after the show.

August saw the mentoring crew prepare for and ship off to
the Garma Festival, ‘Australia’s leading indigenous cultural exchange event’.
Our team, with the addition of Bree Le Cornu and Scott McBurnie, were entrusted
by the indomitable Madge Fletcher to run circus workshops for the Youth Forum
throughout the festival. Here we were given great insight into Yolngu culture
and life, and got to meet many wonderful people.

At the end of August, having barely been home, some of the
crew were again on a plane to Sydney for the unmissable premiere of DV8’s
latest physical theatre work, ‘Can We Talk About This?’ at the Sydney Opera
House.

September was by far our busiest month including a trip to
Brisbane for a string of events. The second national Youth Circus Symposium was
our first stop, held at Flipside Circus in Alderly. This was a great
opportunity to get together with directors, CEO’s, trainers and managers from
youth circus companies around Australia to discuss programs, money, spaces,
shows, emerging artists among many other things. We were even treated to a
performance of ‘Between You and Me’ by some of Flipsides young performers!

Our next stop in Brisbane was the Australian Theatre Forum
‘Convictions and Connections’ at the amazing Brisbane Powerhouse. A collection
of around 250 theatre workers from a broad range and scale of companies came
together to present and discuss their ‘visions of the future’ and what we can
do to get there.

During our time in Brisbane the Brisbane Festival and Under
The Radar provided us with an endless list of shows to see, including ‘Dream
Menagerie’ at the Speigeltent, ‘I Feel Awful’ by The Black Lung and ‘Petit Mal’
by Race Horse Company.

Back in Melbourne we got ourselves along to ‘Walking a
Tightrope: Rights and Risks in the Performing Arts’, co-presented by the Arts
Law Centre of Australia, Theatre Network Victoria, Ausdance Victoria and
ACAPTA. This was an eye-opening talk about copyright, intellectual property,
and how this affects performance and the creation of work.

Our most recent adventure has been attending the 5th
World Summit on Arts and Culture, hosted by the International Federation of
Arts Councils and Culture Agencies (IFACCA). Held at the Melbourne Convention
Centre, this was a truly international conference with delegates from government
and NGO’s from all over the world meeting to share difficulties, successes and
ideas for the future.

Still to come in our program will be the coordination of the
National Youth Circus Day event in Melbourne, salons with a number of
interesting, successful people working in the arts as well as a number of other
small industry events.

Stay tuned for more detailed accounts of our expeditions
thus far, and info on our future endeavours…

~Ella

How Close is the Future?

The ACAPTA Mentoring Project was implemented to invest in the future of circus and physical theatre in Australia and to address the current lack of female cultural leaders in the sector.

ACAPTA selected five young women from the Victorian circus and physical theatre industry (including myself) to participate in the project, which is currently providing us with opportunities to engage with and learn from a diverse range of experiences that will equip us for the future.

The ACAPTA mentorees are: Bec Cooen, Ella Holmes, Luth Wolff, Alex Talamo and myself – Terri Cat Silvertree.

We attended the Regional Arts Victoria Producers and Presenters showcase, and most recently we assisted in the presentation of Illuminated By Fire, under the guidance of Artistic Director of the project and founder of The Women’s Circus, Donna Jackson. Our participation in Illuminated By Fire at Federation Square gave us a range of insights into how site-specific work is created and developed and our involvement certainly deepened our understanding of community arts engagement and practice.

In the near future we are heading up to North-East Arnhem Land to run a youth circus program at the GARMA Festival, which is regarded as one of Australia’s most important Indigenous cultural events

For me, one of the most valuable aspects of the project so far has been meeting with women who’ve had long careers in the arts and hearing about their experiences. Listening to their stories has provided me with many invaluable insights and inspiration. It’s my hope that through projects such as this, that we can continue to create links and energize artistic practices across the circus and physical theatre as we career towards the future!

Illuminated By Fire

This week, our mentorees are working with Donna Jackson on Regional Art Victoria’s Illuminated by Fire, a site-specific event bringing together fire-related works from 10 regional artists. We are acting as marshals for the event, leading the audience around the site with the aid of some giant lanterns. Guided tours are happening Thursday(30th June) through Saturday, starting at 7 pm in the BMW edge.

This event is particularly interesting for me, as I am interested in production and stage management, but haven’t had the opportunity to do site-specific work before. The logistics of safely moving a crowd around a site within time constraints are fascinating, especially when faced with the challenge of convincing a group of people to move from the warmth of the BMW Edge to stand outside in the freezing night.I’ve taken on the role of ‘top dog’ of the marshals, an spent an extra night discussing the logistics with Donna and the crew from Right Angle Events. We solved some interesting problems regarding moving many people and a tall lanterns through a single door, and working out the visual and times cues for the chiors and pyrotechnic boat. At one stage, we lead the crowd down the riverbank, following the voices of a trio of singers. This part of the event is familiar to me, as it strongly resembles the work I’ve done managing the closing parade at the National Folk Festival. The radio etiquette and crowd management experience from the Folkie is helping greatly with my role at Illuminated by fire .

Tonight is the opening night of the tours, and we will see how effective our planning over the last couple of days has been. I am particularly looking forward to our upcoming discussion with Donna about the processes and difficulties involved in producing and risk-assesing an event of this type.

~ Luth