Carclew youth creatively inspire businesses

Picture this – just as the long hours of intense conference training begins to fuddle the memory bank, a group of young musicians steps on stage to rap the key messages.

It is a memorable summary and one where “young people have a fantastic perspective and can have a new way of thinking for businesses,” Paul Mayers, from the state’s leading youth arts centre Carclew, says.

The conference rap is among a host of creative approaches Paul previously oversaw in a program he started in England to support young people moving into new jobs in the arts.

Now, Paul has moved to Adelaide to create similar opportunities for young South Australians. Last month Creative Consultants was launched at Carclew with its first cohort of 12 talented young people aged between 18 and 29 years.

Carclew Consultants are aged between 19-29 and provide businesses with creative solutions.

Backed with two years seed funding from the James and Diana Ramsay Foundation, the plan is to charge a fee to businesses as it supplies services like role-playing customer service, redesigning social media sites or supporting budding playwrights.

The fees from businesses pay the consultants, with plans for the group to eventually deliver a surplus so proceeds can flow back to Carclew.

Paul believes there are many opportunities in the state, with his job to support and train the Creative Consultants for hire to boardrooms or community groups.

“It’s about growing the creative economy, if we can work with businesses to help them realise the importance of creative thinking it grows the sector and grows their business,” Paul, who moved to SA with his partner in September last year, says.

“I’m a convert to the advantages of SA, we’ve put in the time and effort to come here because of the opportunities.”

Creative Consultants come from diverse backgrounds and bring with them a variety of different skills.

Paul says the Manchester-based program Creative Experts was highly successful and worked with a large number of high profile businesses including Siemens and IT giant Cisco, accountants, lawyers and electricity infrastructure companies.

It helped businesses take a fresh look at problem solving, while at the same time helping young people launch their careers in the arts.

“Young people need to know that there is a path to the career they want without having to leave the state,” Paul says. “To fully develop and maintain professional momentum, there needs to be a clear line of sight from training to career.”

The Carclew program received 65 applications in its first round and Paul is keen to grow its core numbers over the next five years, with the group already having delivered work to the Adelaide Youth Orchestra, an author and an eco-friendly holiday group.

Paul Mayers are the Creative Consultants launch recently.

Members are equipped with skills ranging from digital photography, music production, dance, a muralist, work psychology, theatre work, costume and fashion design.

“A key message is that by working with us businesses can fulfil their training obligations whilst also fulfilling their CSR (corporate social responsibility) obligations,” he says.

Creative Consultants sits among a host of programs for young people at Carclew, a multi-art form and cultural organisation working to support the state’s young people aged 26 and under.

The North Adelaide-based centre also hosts workshops, exhibitions, arts events, arts projects and skill development programs – while three young creatives were awarded residencies in January.

Painter Loren Orsillo and installation and performance artist Felicity Townsend were announced as artists in residence at the historic Carclew House studios, while Jack McBride was chosen as one of Carclew’s 2018 Emerging Curators.

He will receive 12 months mentoring, with Jack saying he is keen to learn more about the field while extending “professional networks within the local arts community and assisting other emerging artists in showcasing their art for the first time”.

Carclew House in North Adelaide.

Carclew was first started in the Dunstan government era in 1972 with its goal to be a centre for creativity for young people.

“Carclew’s mission is all about helping young people navigate a changing world, supporting creative development in communities, schools and in careers,” Paul says.

He thinks it’s the right fit for a similar program to Creative Experts in Manchester where 93% of participants went on to have careers in the creative industries.

“This is a really great opportunity for me to re-do this program, we’ve hit the ground running with this because I’ve learned a lot of lessons from Manchester,” he says.

“It’s was a really emotional moment bringing the 12 young people together, it’s so exciting to meet them … to see the fire in their eyes. I’m really keen now to set up meetings with businesses and find people willing to be the early adopters of this program.”

Businesses interested in learning more can contact

Industry in focus: Creative Industries

Throughout the month of March, the state’s creative industries will be explored as part of I Choose SA.

South Australia is home to a thriving ecosystem of creative businesses and specialists who are delivering world-class works VFX, TV and film production, app development and the VR space. Read more creative industries stories here.

Visit I Choose SA to meet the people building business and industry in SA, and to find out how your choices make a difference to our state.

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Mad March reaches peak as world acts prepare for WOMADelaide

Vibrant explosions of colour and a kaleidoscope of world dance and music are expected to once again add to Adelaide’s busiest time of year as preparations for this long weekend’s WOMADelaide festival enter their final stages.

Thousands of people, including locals and interstate and overseas visitors, will descend on Botanic Park from March 8–11 to enjoy four packed days of world dance, music and art installations from the peak of the day into the late of the night.

Event organisers say they’re expecting similar attendance numbers to last year’s event at 96,000 people in total.

Hundreds of artists from more than 30 countries will work their magic at WOMAD, performing at multiple areas spread throughout the park. Inspirational young soul performer Adrian Eagle, of Adelaide’s northern suburbs, joins this year’s line-up of local talent as does hip hop princess Tkay Maidza and folk talent Timberwolf. Headlining acts include African singer and three-time Grammy winner Angelique Kidjo and Australia’s John Butler Trio.

Aside from artists from across the globe, WOMAD will also attract festivalgoers from far and wide who contribute to the local tourism and hospitality industry during their stay. The event is estimated to generate $14 million in visitor spend each year, while the total economic benefit in terms of incomes is estimated at $16.9 million and 164 FTEs (full time equivalent jobs).

WOMADelaide director Ian Scobie says festival research has shown almost half of the attendees come from outside of SA, with more than 40% also attending at least one other event during their stay.

“I believe it (WOMAD) is the second highest attractor of visitors behind the Adelaide 500 … it’s very efficient from a tourism perspective,” he says.

“Over that long weekend, a high number of visitors are from interstate and we also know from our research that a high portion of them stay an extra day, so they’ll visit wineries, McLaren Vale or Kangaroo Island.

“From a tourism perspective, it (WOMAD) is the hook that brings them in, and they do other things. It’s grown significantly in that regard.”

Photo by Tony Lewis.

While WOMAD is one of Adelaide’s biggest annual events – helping South Australia earn its ‘festival state’ name-tag – the timing of the event comes during the city’s busiest time of year.

Mad March, (and increasingly Mad February), is also a host to the Fringe Festival, Adelaide Festival and Adelaide 500 car race – events which collectively draw hundreds of thousands of people to the city centre.

“I think the key part of WOMAD’s success and why it works in Adelaide is that we’re a unique festival city,” Ian says.

WOMAD festivalgoers can travel around the world in four days, through the spread of art installations, musical acts and dance performances which all draw upon one common thread – unity.

“An event like WOMAD shows people that in the end there is a common humanity that unites everyone, whether you’re an Arab musician from Morocco or Adrian Eagle from the northern suburbs of Adelaide, in the end people are all connected, and they have common human aspirations,” Ian says.

Photo by Badstance.

Aside from the performance lineup, cultural installations such as the Colour of Time are also festival favourites. Explosions of coloured gulal powder will be set off in a tribute to the traditional Indian Holi Festival.

Other attractions include those with a local focus such as the WoMADE design market, supported by I Choose SA and showcasing locally crafted products.

The market comprises about 15 local stalls selling jewellery, homewares, artwork and gifts by SA designers including Julie White, Bluebell Design and Hey Reflect’o.

Still feeling the choose local vibes? Head for the Botanical Gin Bar for a range of SA gins to suit the palate of every gin lover. Coopers, Hills Cider, T Bar and Yalumba Winery are some other names to keep an eye out for.

For more info on WOMAD or to purchase tickets click here.

Feature image is The Colour of Time by Steve Trutwin.

Visit I Choose SA to meet the people building business and industry in SA, and to find out how your choices make a difference to our state.

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Adelaide to host 2020 Fringe World Congress

Delegates from Fringe festivals across the globe will descend upon Adelaide in 2020 when the city hosts the biennial Fringe World Congress.

The formal gathering of international Fringe representatives, directors and organisers will visit Adelaide during the Adelaide Fringe Festival (February 14 to March 15) to share ideas and network.

It will be the first time since its establishment in 2012 that the World Fringe Congress has been held somewhere in the southern hemisphere, with past gatherings occurring in Edinburgh and Montreal.

Adelaide Fringe, which will celebrate its 60th anniversary in 2020, is the second largest ticketed arts festival in the world after Edinburgh Festival Fringe.

Adelaide Fringe director and CEO Heather Croall says winning the bid to host the World Congress is a major coup for South Australia’s arts community.

“We’re delighted that we’ll be celebrating Adelaide Fringe’s 60th anniversary with the worldwide Fringe family by hosting the congress in 2020,” she says.

A Fringe show promoter in Adelaide’s Garden of Unearthly Delights. Photo by Trentino Priori.

“The congress will be a great platform for our festival to increase its international exposure while also raising the profile of SA as an arts destination.

“Adelaide Fringe is the party that defines our city and we want everyone to be able to experience the festival’s vibrancy and transformative power for themselves.”

World Fringe managing director Holly Lombardo says she is delighted the next congress will be held in Adelaide.

“This will be the fifth global meet of Fringe directors like this, and after destinations like Edinburgh and Montreal it is right and fitting that it’s going to the southern hemisphere – especially for Adelaide Fringe’s 60th,” she says.

“I know Adelaide Fringe will be perfect hosts for such a wonderful conference of international Fringes and I look forward to being part of it.”

Last year’s Adelaide Fringe was a record breaker with artists selling 705,761 tickets worth $16.6 million. More than $15 million landed directly into the pockets of artists and venues, thanks to the abolishment of inside charges.

Adelaide Fringe also attracted more than 20,000 interstate and international visitors last year, up 8% on 2017, delivering $29.5 million for the state. Gross expenditure related to the 2018 Fringe hit a record $90.6 million.

Click here to view the 2019 Adelaide Fringe guide.

Header photo by Tony Virgo features the Fringe Wives Club.

Windmill Theatre one of SA’s best exports

Local theatre company Windmill Theatre Co looks set to continue its march onto the world stage in 2019, building on its success as one of South Australia’s best creative exports.

Windmill, founded in 2002, creates quirky, funny, thought provoking theatre for children and families. Some of the best known shows include Grug, Pinocchio and Big Bad Wolf.

Following a recent period of growth and expansion, the company has now positioned itself as one of the most innovative and in-demand theatre companies in the world, touring productions nationally and internationally, including to New York, China, Canada and New Zealand.

December will see a new pinnacle for the company when hit musical Rumpelstiltskin plays at Europe’s largest centre for the arts, the Southbank Centre in London.

Elena Carapetis, left, Alirio Zavarce, Matt Crook and Michaela Burger in ‘Rumpelstiltskin’. Photo by Shane Reid.

“That’s a really big deal for us,” says Rose Myers, Windmill’s artistic director, who directed and co-wrote the show.

”We’re taking a company of 20 people over and we will be there for a month in the heart of London.

“It’s a co-production with the State Theatre Company which premiered in Adelaide a couple of years ago. It is a big thrill to take that on the road.”

Taking great SA productions out to the world is not just about playing to bigger audiences, it’s about building cultural ties and artistic networks overseas that feed back into the state, says Rose, who has been at the helm since 2009.

“Touring is important because we make the work and there is a lot of investment poured into it,” she says. “SA is a small state and we have a small audience, but you get into a market place like China or America where the audience is huge and you are amortising your investment and generating employment for our artists and that helps keep great artists here in SA because they know they can make a living here.

Paul Capsis, left, and Ezra Juanta on stage. Photo by Shane Reid.

“It’s also just great cultural diplomacy. We’re trying to make trade links with China and this is all about cultural exchange and taking pieces of Australia over there and sharing culture which is really important.”

Over the last 16 years Windmill has done 59 regional, national and international tours taking in 247 cities across 28 countries and five continents. So far this year the company has already toured Scotland and NZ and is at the tail end of a regional stint with a 14-town, 18-week tour of Big Bad Wolf.

Beep, a production for under fives which premiered in 2017, is currently on a nine-week, five-city tour of mainland China and returns to Adelaide for the DreamBIG Children’s Festival next May, before heading to Sydney next July and Western Australia later in 2019.

Antoine Jelk, left, Kialea Nadine Williams and Ezra Juanta star in ‘Beep’. Photo by Shane Reid.

A new production in the 2019 season is Baba Yaga (ages 7+), a co-production with Scotland’s Imaginate Festival, which will have its premiere at the 2019 Adelaide Festival, following a sold out season at the 2018 Edinburgh International Children’s Festival.

The story is a new take on an old Russian folktale and has been co-created by Rose Myers, Scottish theatre maker Shona Reppe and Christine Johnston, of Kransky Sisters fame, who also plays the lead role. The show will tour in China, Ireland and England next year.

Windmill’s 2019 season also sees the return of the award-winning production Girl Asleep (ages 14+) which was first presented at the Adelaide Festival in 2014 as part of a trilogy that included Fugitive and School Dance.

Imaginate and Windmill Theatre’s ‘Baba Yaga’. Photo by Rob McDougall.

The production went on to be developed into a film, premiering at the 2015 Adelaide Film Festival and going on to achieve critical acclaim globally, screening in 114 cities across 21 countries, and winning numerous awards.

“It’s a coming of age show set in 1970s,” Rose explains. ”It’s very funny and loosely based on Sleeping Beauty. It stars a lot of great SA actors such as Ellen Steele and Amber McMahon who’s brilliant.

“There’s a lot of interest because a people have seen the movie and kids are now studying the movie at school.”

The success of Girl Asleep resulted in the company announcing the launch of Windmill Pictures in 2017, a new arm of the company dedicated to developing screen projects from its live theatre repertoire.

Rose says SA is the perfect place to create great film works.

Ellen Steele in ‘Girl Asleep’. Photo by Shane Reid.

Girl Asleep was supported by a great initiative called The Hive, through Amanda Duthie and Katrina Sedgwick at the Adelaide Film Festival,” she says. “It’s just all about innovation and I feel like in some of the bigger states you wouldn’t get that opportunity.

“This has opened up whole other dialogues and whole other ways we can generate more content and industries in Adelaide. That film was very successful and now we are exploring more film production opportunities and ways to bring more money into SA in that industry.”

Rose says it’s a privilege to be part of the team at Windmill as the company continues to be driven to make great works for young people.

“It’s always a joy for me,” she says. “I was in the audience watching Big Bad Wolf in Darling Harbour and I realised I never get sick of watching an audience get excited by the work.”

Header image features Christine Johnston in Baba Yaga. Photo by Rob McDougall.

Visit I Choose SA to meet the people building business and industry in SA, and to find out how your choices make a difference to our state.

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New theatre course is music to ears of Mamma Mia stars

A new musical theatre course recently announced by the University of Adelaide is attracting great interest not just locally, but from interstate and international students.

The new Bachelor of Music Theatre kicks off in 2019 at the University’s Elder Conservatorium and will be run by renowned music theatre expert and educator George Torbay.

He says the benefits of such a course are not just that aspiring musical theatre stars no longer need to study interstate, but there will also be flow on effects for the South Australian arts scene more broadly.

“The whole point of a course like this here is to add to the cultural scene in this state,” George says. “However, more than just keeping young artists here, the course is already attracting applicants from all over Australia and even international applicants.

“SA has been crying out for a degree like this. Music theatre is a rapidly growing art form and incredibly popular across Australia.”

The course will include singing lessons and song coaching, classes in acting, voice and speech, song repertoire and audition technique, ballet, pas de deux, tap and jazz. Students will also have the opportunity to connect with current writers and explore new works as well as gain professional-level experience working within Adelaide’s thriving festival scene.

Zoe Komazec is now living in SA and will teach dance as part of the University of Adelaide’s new musical theatre course.

Musical theatre star Zoe Komazec, who grew up in Adelaide and is currently starring in the hit production Mamma Mia! The Musical which begun this week, is particularly excited about the announcement as she and fiancé Matt Geronimi will be teaching dance as part of the new course.

“When I was contacted about the course I thought it was one of the most exciting things to happen,” says Zoe, who has been based in Sydney for the past five years but is now living in SA.

“Adelaide has produced so many incredibly talented people in various industries, particularly musical theatre. You’d be surprised how many times I mention I am from Adelaide and at least five people are also born and bred Radelaidians.

“Not having to leave this wonderful state straight away is such a bonus, I think it will allow more aspiring young South Aussies an avenue that they thought wasn’t an option.”

Zoe began dancing at age two at her mum’s studio Barbara Jayne Dance Centre in Norwood, seeing her first musical at age eight – The Sound of Music.

Annie Chiswell.

Annie Chiswell is another local musical theatre performer who trained here, at the Adelaide College of the Arts. She too is starring in Mamma Mia! The Musical, which will be her first major production appearance in front of a hometown crowd.

She agrees Adelaide is a breeding ground for great musical theatre talent, although she says time spent interstate can be of benefit.

“For me personally, I believe in any career it is important to take risks and break out of your comfort zone,” says Annie, who saw her first musical The Lion King, in Melbourne at age 10.

“I felt for my career that Melbourne was calling my name, but this doesn’t necessarily have to be the case. I know Adelaide is up and coming in musical theatre training and so hopefully there will be more opportunities to study here.

“I’m also a huge believer in it’s not where you study, but how. I will always be thankful for the artist foundation that SA gave me, and cannot wait to come home and perform.”

Phillip Lowe is yet another Mamma Mia! The Musical star who grew up in SA.

Phillip, who plays Harry Bright in the hit Abba musical, grew up in Jamestown and had no idea as a kid that people were paid to perform as a job.

Jamestown-raised actor Phillip Lowe is back in Adelaide for Mamma Mia! The Musical.

His mother was the piano player for the local production of Pirates of Penzance when Phillip was four years old and he remembers turning the pages for her and singing along as she practiced.

It wasn’t until his brother went to study at WA Academy of Performing Arts (WAPPA) that Phillip realised musical theatre was an actual career path.

However, he didn’t follow his dreams into musical theatrical when he finished school – first, he got a job at a bank and dabbled in amateur theatre.

“I thought I had to have a ‘real’ job. However, one day we got held up by two guys with shotguns so I decided that I was done with real jobs and I auditioned for drama school. I never looked back after that,” says Phillip, who also went on to study at WAPPA and has maintained a stellar career over the past 25 years, appearing in Crazy for You, The Producers, Dusty, Mary Poppins and many more.

Phillip has been based in Sydney for the past 23 years and Mamma Mia! The Musical will be his first time on the Adelaide Festival Theatre stage.

“I cannot wait. It’s a lifelong dream come true,” he adds.

Mama Mia! The Musical is on at the Adelaide Festival Centre until November 18. Click here for tickets.

Visit I Choose SA to meet the people building business and industry in SA, and to find out how your choices make a difference to our state.

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State Opera set for new era of drama in 2019

The State Opera of South Australia (SOSA) is entering a new era with an impressive line-up of imaginative firsts and a rejuvenated education program to help engage communities in the dramatic art.

The State Opera has revealed its 2019 program, unveiling plans to rediscover three of Australia’s ‘lost operas’ in The Lost Operas of Oz.

Among these Australian works is Martin Wesley-Smith’s Boojum! originally premiered by State Opera in 1986, and based on the legendary poem The Hunting of the Snark by Louis Carroll.

Boojum! is described as a “deadly serious choral fantasy” showing at the Dunstan Playhouse in July, 2019, and will also provide opportunities for SOSA’s new Winter School students to be involved.

The oldest remaining in-tact theatre on mainland Australia – the Queen’s Theatre on Playhouse Lane – will host Christina’s World by Ross Edwards and Madeline Lee by John Haddock.

A program image of Christina’s World.

Christina’s World is about a middle-aged woman obsessed by a desire about returning to the house of her youth, while Madeline Lee tells the story of B24 bomber Lady Be Good and the 9-man crew who disappeared without a trace over Libya in North Africa in 1943.

Premiering in Sydney in 2004, the work went on to receive widespread critical acclaim and was nominated for seven Helpmann Awards.

“Creating new opera is very important to State Opera, but often in the push to produce new work, many great works only receive one outing,” says recently appointed State Opera artistic director Stuart Maunder AM.

“In 2019, State Opera will be leading the charge to showcase existing Australian opera. Not only are we dedicated to creating more opera, but we are reflecting on history and creating an opportunity for audiences to engage with these fantastic pieces.”

Families and younger audiences will be drawn to the world of opera with the 2019 season’s headlining “summer outdoor spectacular”, Carmen in the Square.

The passionate and feisty Carmen will come alive in Victoria Square.

The family-friendly performance, directed by Stuart Maunder, will take over Victoria Square Tarntanyangga on March 23, featuring the Adelaide Symphony Orchestra and the State Opera Chorus.

Set in Spain with “strutting bull-fighters, beautiful girls, jealousy and passion”, the production will also be filmed and simulcast to two regional theatres ensuring country communities can enjoy the city action.

The Adelaide Showground will host child-friendly opera Cunning Little Vixen, which SOSA says is a perfect introduction to opera for families and newbies.

State Opera executive director Yarmila Alfonzetti says the 2019 season belongs to the people.

“Stuart (Maunder) and I have strived to deliver on one of the simplest but more profound of arts aspirations – more opera for more people,” she says.

A scene from Cunning Little Vixen.

“From large scale family-friendly events such as Carmen and the magical world of Cunning Little Vixen, right through to intimate offerings in a diverse range of SA venues and an education program for all ages. We are very excited for what lies ahead.”

State Opera will also rebirth its education series including a primary schools tour of Elixir of Love, and a partnership program, The Opera Effect, which will engage high school students with the opera by offering discounted tickets, work experience opportunities and links to SACE achievements.

A new initiative between SOSA and the Helpmann Academy will also be launched, allowing an aspiring director to hone their craft and work alongside the creative team on opera productions.

For more information on the State Opera 2019 season visit the website.

OzAsia Festival program lands with record number of events

Disco dancing Korean grandmothers, acrobatic Shaolin monks and a group of millennial girls in a ‘fishbowl dormitory’ are among highlights of the 2018 OzAsia Festival program launched this week.

The 12th annual OzAsia Festival, Australia’s only international festival celebrating contemporary art from Asia, will feature five world premieres and 20 Australian premieres from October 25 – November 11.

OzAsia Festival director Joseph Mitchell says the level of talent and exclusivity in the event was a testament to Adelaide as the festival capital of Australia.

“I think it’s just another example of Adelaide being much more ahead of the game, innovative and aware of the role and responsibility of art and culture,” says Joseph, who moved in 2015 to Adelaide from Toronto, Canada, to take on the director’s role.

“I’ve always felt that South Australia has been a bit more innovative and leading the way.”

A record number of 60 events will unfold at various venues, featuring works from 817 artists from countries including Japan, Singapore, China, India, Malaysia, Korea, The Philippines, Hong Kong and Indonesia.

Hundreds of SA and interstate artists will also be involved, while the event organisers are hoping for visitor attendances to hit a record 200,000 people.

A scene from Here is the message you asked for… don’t tell anyone else 😉

Joseph says one of the most appealing aspects of OzAsia is the artists’ ability to create truly unique projects that set apart from theatre traditions.

One of the highlight performances is Sun Xiaoxing’s Here is the message you asked for… don’t tell anyone else ;), featuring a group of millennial girls in a transparent bedroom set.

Audience members can communicate on their mobile phones with the performers through popular Chinese social media app WeChat.

“The audience can use WeChat and interact with these girls who are essentially living their lives in their bedrooms, they’re playing computer games, using social media, drinking Coca-Cola, dressing up in cosplay and living their own identity,” Joseph says.

“They don’t talk to you, there’s no script and there’s no narrative, you watch this fishbowl performance installation which has live music … and the only way you can get a grasp on it is to communicate through WeChat.

“It completely rewrites the traditional theatre experience. It’s a great example of what OzAsia is.”

Dancing Grandmothers. Photo by Eunji Park.

Prolific Korean choreographer Eun-Me Ahn’s Dancing Grandmothers is another highlight, featuring real life Korean grandmothers grooving under disco balls.

Eun-Me Ahn travelled her native country to meet the everyday women who founded modern Korea and to film them dancing in their villages.

Along with a screening of the video, a small group of the grandmothers themselves will hit the stage of Adelaide’s Dunstan Playhouse.

Other inspiring pieces include award-winning choreographer Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui and his masterpiece Sutra.

The critically acclaimed acrobatic piece features Cherkaoui and 19 Shaolin monks.

The festival’s most highly attended event, is the Moon Lantern Parade on October 27 featuring a parade of 40 large handmade lanterns including a 40m-long Hong Kong dragon.

OzAsia Festival artistic director Joseph Mitchell.

Visitors can also eat their way around Asia at the Lucky Dumpling Market on the Adelaide Riverbank lawn every night except Mondays.

Orginally from Newcastle, Joseph came to Adelaide after living in Toronto, Canada, where he lead multi-arts event the Luminato Festival.

He was also the executive producer of the Brisbane Festival.

“The Brisbane Festival and OzAsia ran at the same time so we’d shared work before and that’s when I became aware of OzAsia,” he says.

“I thought it was just so refreshingly different.

“There is no other festival in this country that operates annual and focusses on contemporary art and culture in Asia.”

Check out the full program here.

Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui’s masterpiece Sutra.

Visit I Choose SA to meet the people building business and industry in SA, and to find out how your choices make a difference to our state.

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Country Arts SA has brought theatre to the regions for 25 years

In six months’ time the rows of the Northern Festival Centre in Port Pirie will be lined with theatregoers awaiting the world premiere of emerging playwright Elena Carapetis’ Gods of Strangers.

Written by Port Pirie-raised Elena, the historical fiction piece is inspired by migrant stories of regional SA.

The show will be seen by regional audiences ahead of their metropolitan counterparts, and be added to an ever-growing list of productions that have spilled onto country stages for close to three decades.

Although commissioned by the State Theatre Company, Gods of Strangers is one of a string of shows brought to the regions by arts organisation, Country Arts SA.

Country Arts SA CEO Steve Saffell.

The regionally-focused organisation is celebrating 25 years of performing arts in the country.

Country Arts SA CEO Steve Saffell says accessibility to the arts is crucial for the wellbeing of regional communities.

“I believe it’s always about creating equal accessibility to the arts for people living in regional SA to provide them with the opportunities that people living in metropolitan areas can take for granted,” he says.

“It’s fair to say that the arts play a really important role in community wellbeing, economic development and tourism.

“For many regional communities, sport is freely available and important but there are many who need more or who don’t play sport, and this (the arts) provides an invaluable opportunity for these people.”

The Chaffey Theatre, Renmark. Photo by Chris Herzfeld.

Aside from programming thousands of performances across regional SA over the years, Country Arts SA also remains a strong funding source for regional artists and communities.

It manages four major regional theatres, the Northern Festival Centre in Port Pirie, the Chaffey Theatre in Renmark, the Sir Robert Helpmann Theatre in Mt Gambier and the Middleback Arts Centre in Whyalla, in addition to the Hopgood Theatre in Noarlunga.

Steve says it’s hard to pick a favourite among the thousands of shows that have graced the stages.

“There have been so many performances that have come through, from the Adelaide Symphony Orchestra to the Australian Ballet and the opera,” he says.

“This year Adelaide circus company Gravity and Other Myths came to Whyalla with their major show, Backbone.

“They stayed for a whole week, did workshops and engaged with local schools.”

Backbone performers putting gravity to the ultimate test. Photo by Carnival Cinema.

Steve says interactive performances are becoming more prominent.

Past examples have included multimedia police drama experience, Bingo Unit, where audiences helped film scenes in locations across their communities.

The audience was also invited on a backlot tour of the regional theatres, where they could choose to interrogate suspects, search for evidence, or simply watch the drama unfold.

Steve says many modern day theatre productions aren’t intended to fill hundreds of seats.

“A lot of the shows these days aren’t always intended for big audiences,” he says.

“Some performances just don’t work on a big stage with 500 seats in front of them.

“It’s much more about participation now and getting people involved rather than having a passive audience.”

Bingo Unit toured the regions in 2014.

Mt Gambier theatre director Jamie Harding knows the effectiveness of immersive audience experiences.

His regional production company Gener8 Theatre’s production, In the Pines, involved extensive community consultation and involves the audience donning visual reality (VR) headsets.

Premiering in August, In the Pines examines how the drug ice has an impact on local communities.

Wearing VR headsets for half of the performance, audience members are able to step inside the world of drug addiction and its devastating consequences.

“Nothing like this (use of VR) has ever been attempted in Australia and maybe even the world,” Jamie says.

In the Pines will have its world premiere in Mt Gambier in August and then a season in Adelaide in 2019 before touring nationally.

A scene from ‘In the Pines’.

Gener8 Theatre is supported by Country Arts SA and Jamie says art, cultural and theatre “should be at the heart of every community”.

“It’s a creative way to get them to talk about their sense of place and issues they feel are important,” he says.

“I think it’s vital to create from the regions and have work that is made in the regions and shown not only in SA and nationally, but on the world stage.”

Header photo is Rosalba Clemente in ‘The Gods of Strangers’.

Top 7 local picks at the Adelaide Festival

A spell-binding orchestra featuring traffic cones and water coolers, long lazy lunches on The Palais and world-premiere productions.

Hello, Adelaide Festival 2018.

The annual festival has started with a bang and will bring four world premieres and 13 Adelaide exclusives to various venues across the CBD until March 18.

Audiences have enjoyed the Adelaide Festival for more than half-a-century, with internationally acclaimed performers, musicians, dancers, writers and artists sharing their masterpieces with the city.

So for the Adelaide Festival in 2018, we’ve unpacked the program and picked the top seven local productions, events or instalments, each with a strong tie to SA.

For tickets or to read the full program visit the Adelaide Festival website.

Helen Morse stars in ‘Memorial’.

1. Memorial

Adelaide-based Brink Productions is transforming the award-winning work by British poet Alice Oswald to create a truly moving performance.

Memorial personalises 215 fallen soldiers in a modern day approach to a war story.

The 215 soldiers will be brought to life by the same number of performers drawn from the Adelaide community, while the cast is lead by Aussie stage and screen actor Helen Morse.

This world premiere and will also feature a live ensemble of singers and musicians lead by Golden Globe nominated composer Jocelyn Pook.

WHEN: Friday, March 2 – Tuesday, March 6.

WHERE: Dunstan Playhouse, Adelaide Festival Centre.

Lost and Found features hundreds of locals taking part in the percussive performance. PHOTO: Steve McNicholas.

2. The Lost and Found Orchestra

One of the standout instalments in the festival program is this uplifting UK production featuring hundreds of local musicians.

The large scale musical spectacle features participants playing instruments made from musical saws, bottles, water coolers and traffic cones.

From the creators of STOMP, Lost and Found will be performed for the first time outdoors.

But it’s only here for the first weekend of March, so hurry along!

WHEN: Saturday March 3 and Sunday March 4, 8.30pm both nights.

WHERE: Adelaide Riverbank, Elder Park.

Long Lunches on The Palais will delight foodies.

3. Long Lunches 

The festival’s “beating heart” is The Palais, a floating venue on the River Torrens offering views of the city and parklands, evening breezes and sunset drinks.

Enjoy a variety of lazy long lunches aboard The Palais throughout the Adelaide Festival, in addition to a range of forums and talks.

Long lunches are prepared by a selection of culinary experts, all of which are connected to Adelaide by two degrees of separation.

More of an early riser? Head along to Breakfast With Papers, run by The Advertiser.

Grab a coffee and a spot on The Palais and listen to a panel of journalists, academics and thought provokers dissect the news of the day each morning from 8am.

WHEN: Check the program for various dates.

WHERE: Adelaide Riverbank.

21: Memories of Growing Up will explore the different experiences of people who have turned 21, whether it was decades ago or recently!

4. 21: Memories of Growing Up 

Ah, the age of 21. When life has truly begun.

What happened when you were that age? Swiss artist Mats Staub has asked this question to more than 100 people of various ages and backgrounds.

He recorded the participants’ stories before allowing them to listen back to their own voices three months later – and recording their facial expressions while doing so.

The oldest participant recounts the year of 1939, while another participant explains being 21 in 2015.

The result is an emotional installation at the State Library of SA.

The emotional installation also features a selection of Adelaidians who have shared their experiences within the milestone age.

WHEN: March 2 – March 18, 10am–5pm.

WHERE: Institute Building, State Library of SA.

In The Club’s world premiere is presented by the State Theatre Company.

5. In The Club

The State Theatre Company SA will bring this heavy production that is bound to have everyone talking.

However, In The Club is not for younger audiences as it tears through some pretty tough topics around sexual violence.

Australian author Patricia Cornelius wrote the script that looks into the dark corners of Australian football culture.

WHEN: Most nights until March 18.

WHERE: Odeon Theatre, Norwood.

The Adelaide Symphony Orchestra will reawaken the brilliance of American composer Leonard Bernstein.

6. Bernstein on Stage!

Celebrating the 100th anniversary of the birth of the late great American composer, Leonard Bernstein, this production will bring New York alive … in Adelaide!

The performance will take place under the baton of John Mauceri, founding director of the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra, who worked alongside Bernstein for 18 years.

Celebrate the exuberance of one of the 20th Century’s greatest composers with hits such as New York, New York, and Maria.

WHEN: Friday, March 16 and Sunday, March 18, 7pm both nights.

WHERE: Adelaide Festival Theatre.

Can the colours of the rainbow be heard? PHOTO: Paoli Smith Creative.

7. Can You Hear Colour?

The Adelaide Festival will be the first Australian venue to showcase this delight of a production that explores a tale of when a child discovers a gift – the ability to hear colour.

This Adelaide-based Patch Theatre Company production was directed by Naomi Edwards and composed by the award-winning Alan John and is a good one to help kids explore their imaginations.

Can You Hear Colour invites children to discover the musical world of pitch, intervals, scales, rhythm and harmony.

WHEN: Friday March 9 – Thursday March 15.

WHERE: AC Arts Main Theatre.


Header image by Sia Duff

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It’s all so seamless for State Theatre Company’s Enken Hagge

Hand sewing hundreds of fish “scales” onto a waistcoat, making a post-apocalyptic costume out of curtains and having to think about fake blood stains on material are just some of the work challenges faced by Enken Hagge, the wardrobe supervisor at the State Theatre Company.

Enken Hagge had done two undergraduate degrees, in media and arts, and had started an honors degree in English Literature when she suddenly realised she would spend most of her life “writing essays that no one would see”.

That realisation was the catalyst for the 34-year-old to pursue a whole new career, based on her love of sewing.

“I’d always liked sewing as a hobby but I have little interest in commercial fashion, so I had no idea how to make it a career until I found out about the Diploma of Costume Construction at AC Arts, which sadly no longer exists,” she says.

While completing her diploma, Enken managed to find work on some feature films and TV shows being filmed in Adelaide and also did work experience at State Theatre Company on a show called Three Sisters.

Enken Hagge, wardrobe supervisor at the State Theatre Company.

“From there on I was employed casually until I finally joined the State Theatre family in 2014,” she says.

Enken’s daily routine involves working closely with a production’s costume designer interpreting their designs and deciding what parts of the costume need to be handmade and what can be sourced or bought.

“A lot of my job involves finding bits and pieces of a costume out in the ‘real world’ and bringing everything together,” she says.

“I also source all the fabrics for the sewing room, shoes and accessories. Essentially, a designer shows me their dream costume and I work out how to make it a reality.

“So imagine we need a ladies’ Victorian era outfit consisting of a skirt, blouse, hat, shoes and undergarments.

“I might buy the fabric for the blouse in a local fabric shop, purchase the trims online, find an appropriate skirt in our vast State Theatre store that we can alter and use again and make a new corset from scratch to fit the actor.

“The shoes I might also find in a vintage shop, or source online.

“The hat base might be vintage but we can re-decorate and trim it to suit. Often I buy fabrics from all over Australia and worldwide.”

Enken with colleagues Sandra Anderson and Martine Micklem.

Being able to bring a simple costume sketch to life and see it work well on stage is the most rewarding aspect of the job for Enken.

“I love getting a design that looks impossible to pull off and then making it a reality,” she says.

“The most challenging part is realising a costume design that may look pretty as a sketch, but would not be appropriate onstage – for example, where a designer has drawn a female character in a slinky, restrictive dress and high heels although her role requires lots of physical action on an uneven stage.

“In that case it’s a delicate negotiation between the designer, the actor and myself to get to a final design that everyone loves.”

A typical day for Enken involves doing fittings with the actors and the designer first thing, then there is usually sourcing to be done, fabric buying and returning unwanted stock.

The best part is later in the day when she gets hands on, crafting costumes and accessories such as hats, bags or masks, or altering existing costumes.

Enken and her partner Kyle Bowen.

Being able to problem solve creatively and thinking outside the box are key qualities of any wardrobe supervisor, says Enken, pointing out that costume making is very different to fashion design.

“Theatre is not the real world – clothes often have to do some interesting things,” she says.

“Our costumes need to withstand both rough treatment and action onstage as well as repeated laundering.

“They also need to accommodate things like quick changes (very fast changes of costume at the side of the stage) so we have tricks to make those possible.

“Also, actors might be dealing with things like fake blood onstage, so the fabrics that we use have to be appropriate. Anything we make ourselves is made to be as tough as possible to survive a season of a show!”

“For Masquerade (2015) I made a fish’s waistcoat which involved hundreds of individually sewn-on shimmery fabric scales.

“For Mr Burns (2017) I created a post-apocalyptic dress for Lisa Simpson that was made out of old curtains and that I embroidered with nuclear waste symbols.

“Sometimes the fabrics are silk, and sometimes we make very intricate costumes out of humble cloth – it takes an equal amount of time!”

Working with natural fabrics, especially linen and wool, is a highlight for Enken because they “behave” well under the sewing machine, are comfortable to wear and are long lasting.

“But there are now really interesting developments in thermoplastics – heat malleable sheets of plastic that can be bent and formed into any number of useful things like headpieces and armour,” she explains.

“I’m always finding new ways to use them.”

Enken says there is still so much to learn in her field, improving her skills and learning new techniques, and in the future she’d love to do more costume designing.

Not surprisingly her philosophy on life is “be curious, and never stop learning!”.