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Monthly Letter No. 1: Collaborative practice and how ideas just keep growing

I have not written ‘letters’ before and may never again, but I feel like writing one right now.

I’m thinking about collaborative practice and how, when it works best, ideas build on themselves and new ways emerge seemingly effortlessly. An example of collaborative practice this morning was having a cup of tea and sesame snaps with Bev Jensen a visual artist who has designed some amazing stage shows over the last few years. My favourite so far was the set Bev designed and built for HOME, a reflective piece about belonging, which had a season at La Boite Independents last year.
As we sat in the Pullenvale sun, Bev came up with a name of our next project: “Open Theatre Scheme” as opposed to “Open Garden Scheme” which happens each year when gardens are open to the public. So an “Open Theatre Scheme” would require the garden/house to be a sort-of-theatre-space…we will trial it late November, 2013 with a private showing of “Man in Quotation Marks” or “The Man who dreamed a train” our latest work in development. We will incorporate garden, home, bush, ‘playpen'(an old tennis court where actors play). Last year Bev spent some time, along with other members of the 4change nest ensemble, creating garden rooms and these rooms will once again come alive. So for now, we will call it “The Open Theatre Scheme” and see what happens!

Monday night is the last night for the Master Class series at La Boite: i think a new one begins the following week which should be fabulous ( ). This is surprisingly my fourth week with this particular group and it will be a rewarding three hours, bringing together the whole eight weeks of coaching (other classes have been facilitated by Kathryn Marquet (who plays in The Glass Menagerie next month) and David Berthold (director of La BoƮte).

Tuesday is Perth week, facilitating ImpulseTraining with a group of artists based in Perth ( ). We will focus on ImpulseTraining which covers a wide range of experiential exercises including creative writing, ‘gypsy sticks’, basic elements of movement, meditation and much improvisation. We will focus on the space between the actors rather than the internal landscape of the actors. This creates a vibrant sense of presence for the actors as well as their audience. I also look forward to re-connecting with my long time and far away theatre collaborator Leah Mercer who lives in Perth.

Monday week 2 of July is back at Metro Arts and Pullenvale, focusing on the creative development “Man in Quotation Marks” or “The Man who Dreamed a Train”, partly based on the book written by David Brown (my brother).

Book Description of “HE DREAMED A TRAIN”. Here is a cut and paste from Kindle

“Tom stands on a cliff beside his smashed car. The comfortable life he knew lies in ruins beside him. Into the distance runs an abandoned train line, speaking to him of the feeling he somehow left out here as a boy.
What does the land want him to do?
To find the answer we must go back a hundred years to the first dreaming of the train track and to Anna, who wakes unexpectedly at the Governor’s Ball, to find herself surrounded by sleeping people”.

At this time of the year there is a lot-lot-lot of independent theatre in Brisbane with:
–‘Powerkids’ happening at Brisbane Powerhouse (I want to see The Empty City by David Megarrity and I did see Argus by David Morton…well worth while) and
–‘Orbit’ at Queensland Theatre Company’s GreenHouse where every theatrical in town is working right now including Grin and Tonic.
–Lots happening at the Judy (Judith Wright Centre): I have heard that ‘Salon’ is great! and
–Metro Arts is gearing up for their next Friday night!
–Zen Zen Zo is still in rehearsal with Medea and
–deBase has just closed “Hurry up and Wait” with Liz Skitch and Clint Bolster
–Queensland Shakespeare Ensemble is deeply entrenched in Theatre of the Oppressed Training and working in prisons.
–La Boite is in rehearsal for “Glass Menagerie” and Andrea Moor’s production “Venus in Furs” just opened (standing ovation?) at Queensland Theatre Company.
–QPAC Slava’s Snowshow has received much attention!

So winter-in-July is full. Hope you enjoy it. In this best-weather-in-the-world-winter-wonderland-Brisbane!

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