No Plain Jane

Theatre reviews and musings (mostly) from Adelaide

Australian Theatre Forum: Funding children’s theatre as opera

Open spaces thoughts: one.

In Open Spaces today I attended in earnest the sessions on funding theatre for young audiences with the money that is received from opera and the discussion on critics, I butterflied around one session moving from a group on musical theatre to a group on new work, and then ended up listening to people talking about New Australian Theatre – but by that time I was needing something to eat and was rather disengaged.

The talk on theatre for young audiences was just all rather lovely, as expected.  With the idea put forward: what if we could subsidise seats in those theatre to the level where they have the same per-seat income as a seat at an opera performance, what could that mean for the sector?

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Australian Theatre Forum: Interdependence, or, what’s love got to do with it?

In this afternoon’s panel, Interdependence: Love, Money & Artistic Exchange, we were asked to consider the fact that the ecology should be characterised as co-dependence.  I came in from an afternoon talk on the place of critics in theatrical culture, and how artists support these: both fiscally and through giving them the tools and vocabulary to write about the arts.  More “amicable” than “terribly frank” as promised, talking about co-dependence I am reminded by one of my favourite quotes on the art of criticism and the intersection this has with the artists they write about:

“Is criticism less important than the literature it criticises? Oh, dear! What I think we should do with this question is reject it.  Though conceding that criticism is, if you will, a parasite upon which it criticises, as the misletoe upon the oak, one needs not declare the result inferior. If it has less of quality A, it has more of quality B. The oak may be king of the forest, yet it is the misletoe that one kisses under at Christmas. (What would it mean to say: oak is better than misletoe?)”

– Eric Bently, Thinking About The Playwright (1987)

But more on critics later. In lovely and frank conversations about the nature of a collaborative process, they were as much (or more so) a conversation about failures and hardships in collaboration in partnerships as the success story.  What it boiled down to was collaboration, like theatre, is a dialogue, and if one partner isn’t listening, if one partner stops talking, if the partners are actually having slightly different conversations, it is probably going to fall down.

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Australian Theatre Forum: Open Spaces

Open Space Creation

The ever wonderful Wesley Enoch immediately created a welcoming space in the room this morning by publicly humiliating anyone who showed up late.

He introduces us to day two and Open Spaces, asking us think about the thing that only you can say.  Think about the unique thing that you can say, that you can give.  Today we will be looking at:

Australian theatre 2021: courageous, relevant, dynamic.  Audience demand is at an all time high.  What will we do to get there?

Open Spaces is a self-directionised process, using the following seven principles:

1. Whoever comes are always the right people
2. Whatever happens is for the good
3. Conditions should be taken for what they are
4. The composition of the groups is determined by chance
5. Everyone may start whenever they feel like it
6. Everyone may stop whenever they feel like it
7. Everyone is free to move around as they like

Eighty discussion opportunities to fill, with an hour to talk about them.  Opening up the floor, the ideas launched were:

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