The 2022 Associate Artists program has begun! Over the coming months, we will be hearing from different artists about their journey with Theatre Works. Kicking off this new blog thread are Belle Hansen and George Lazaris.
A massive hello to the Theatre Works community, and welcome to the first Associate Artist blog. We’re Belle Hansen and George Lazaris, two of the 2022 Associate artists and we're so excited to give you a look into what we’ve been working on over the first month of the program. Different sets of Associate Artists will be giving you a look into the process over the next few months, and we can’t wait to share our learnings with the entire community. First up for the Associate Artists was meeting each other and taking part in a week-long workshop focusing on the path from Emerging to Emerged - what does that path look like for other artists, and how can we find a way as a group of emerging artists to establish ourselves further in the industry. The Associate Artist cohort for 2022 includes a group of multihyphenates, with directors, producers, puppeteers, choreographers, writers, theatre makers, performers, artistic directors, dramaturgs and storytellers, all of whom have an investment in the future of theatre in Australia and want to build sustainable, long-term careers. This week was facilitated by Steven Mitchell Wright, Artistic Associate of Theatre Works and Artistic Director of The Danger Ensemble, who spoke to us about his own path through the industry and the ways in which it has evolved over the course of his career. Steven invited a series of guests from the independent theatre world to give us an insight to their paths through the industry and broaden our views on what avenues are available to us. Dr Margi Brown Ash, actor/theatre-maker and art therapist, lead us in creative dreaming workshops, helping us to understand that which we as artists carry with us into our work, and envision the ways in which our own individual paths will be unique to us as both people and creatives. Sonya Suares, Chairperson of Watch This and director, looked at paths to financial stability as an artist, and spoke of ways to work within companies to make real impact. Ian Pidd, director of both theatre and festivals, spoke to us about recontextualising our work, showing us that just because our career begins in theatre, we still have the opportunity to find creative ways to use our skills in contexts which are theatre-adjacent. Stephen Nicolazzo, director from Little Ones Theatre gave us context around the ways mentorship and committing to the artistic practices which interest him have lead to a fruitful career. Throughout the week we were also given a wide range of skills to take with us into our artistic practice, with Kabi Kabi and Wiradjuri woman and Artistic Director of Digi Youth Arts Dr Alethia Beetson giving us a primer and introduction on aspects of working with Indigenous Australians and practical methodologies to increase the levels of cultural safety within a creative space. Finally, Penny Harpham from Western Edge spoke to us as a white creative who has work extensively with artists of the global majority, about ways in which fruitful and ongoing relationships can be built and maintained. One of the major take-aways from the week came from us interrogating the ways in which we have evolved as artists through a pandemic, and how we want the industry to speak about us and our work. Shifting the focus of conversation with artists from what projects are upcoming to what their current inquiries and interests was one way we began to change the way in which we focus on our work, moving from simply looking at the end product to a more holistic view of the whole creative process as the work. Soon we’ll be locking in our secondments on shows throughout the Theatre Works season and coming back to the Theatre Works office in early May for another week of enthusiastic discussion and a broadening of our artistic horizons. All six of us will be around Theatre Works for the rest of the year, seconding on shows and attending opening nights, so please say hi if you see us, we’d love to get to know the whole Theatre Works community!