Production Week

This was my last full week at PACT.  For the last two weeks I’ve been on my own on Tuesdays as the person who was supervising me on Tuesdays has worked on a different day.  Fortunately, I’ve got the hang of things and was able to work independently.  One of my challenges has been balancing the priorities of two different supervisors.

The week involved more blogging, more scheduling of social media posts, a chance to sit in on a final rehearsal of the PACT Collective and take some photos.  I also learnt some new skills in Adobe InDesign, doing up the show program.  I worked on rolling out the communication strategy for the BBM/PACT Travelling Scholarship.  This has involved sending individual e-mails to many university academics and e-mailing other arts organisations asking them to promote the scholarship to their students, within their networks and across their social media and other marketing platforms.  We’ve had a good, positive response from people, who see what a great opportunity it presents for emerging performing artists and are willing to help get the word out.  Who wouldn’t want $8,000 to travel to the UK and study with the company or individuals of your choice?

In order to keep the social media posts fresh, I trawled through reports and interviews with previous scholarship recipients to lift quotes, and made these the basis of the posts.  It provided a variety of perspectives on the experience from some very different artists.  I enjoyed the challenge of creating intriguing tweets that also provide enough information to get people to click through to the webpage.  Promo on Twitter really is an art in itself!

The huge reward of the week was watching opening night of the PACT Collective’s show, Listen! I’m telling you stories.  They played four shows this week and there were good audience numbers on Wednesday and Thursday.  Hoping that the momentum picked up for the last two shows (will check on final numbers when I’m next in).   It was great to watch them perform.

PACT Collective, Listen! I'm telling you stories.   L-R:  Jessica McKerlie, Amber Jacob, Courtney Ammenhauser, Tasha O'Brien, Alicia Dulnuan-Demou, Carissa Licciardello, Dubs Yunupingu, Mitchell Whitehead, Steve Wilson-Alexander. Image credit: Katy Green Loughrey.

PACT Collective, Listen! I’m telling you stories.
L-R: Jessica McKerlie, Amber Jacob, Courtney Ammenhauser, Tasha O’Brien, Alicia Dulnuan-Demou, Carissa Licciardello, Dubs Yunupingu, Mitchell Whitehead, Steve Wilson-Alexander.
Image credit: Katy Green Loughrey.


Stimulus Package

I’ve been reflecting on the deeper influence of my time at PACT for my internship, beyond the new skills I’ve picked up.  When I think about it, I have participated in more creative events or activities during the last couple of months than I ever have before.  I think part of the stimulus has been the regular travel to Sydney.  I’ve taken the opportunity to stay back after my PACT days to catch a show.  I’ve travelled back up to Sydney on an additional day because it feels like no big deal.  It’s all too easy being down in Wollongong to not make the effort to attend something in Sydney, even though I might be really interested in it.

The other reason I think it’s been happening is because creative exposure breeds more creativity.  I am in that space where I have allowed myself the freedom to try new things, explore, expose myself to new creative experiences.  I’ve allowed myself to believe that this is my life.  That it’s perfectly reasonable to be doing these things.  That I belong amongst these things.  They are natural.  They are necessary.

That might sound really obvious, but for someone who has denied the creative part of her life for a good 20 years, they are not obvious, and I have to struggle all the time with “permission” to “indulge”.  There is a voice within me that brings me down and tells me that I’m being selfish.  Self-indulgent.  That it’s a waste of time.  That I have responsibilities and therefore am being irresponsible.  It’s a loud voice, and I must overcome it.

Julia Cameron in The Artist’s Way has two activities that she insists you need to be disciplined about if you want to discover or recover your creativity .  The first is Morning Pages and the second is Artist Date.  I love the concept of both, but am not disciplined about either.  But I have been doing my Morning Pages on the train each day I’ve travelled to PACT and been on many Artist’s dates in the last two months.

Here’s some of the things I’ve been up to during this time.

Dark Mofo, Hobart, 10-14 June

Where I experienced


Hobart is transformed during this winter festival

Anthony McCall:  Solid Light Works, Landscape for Fire, Night Ship
Bastiaan Maris:  Fire Organ
Patricia Piccinini + Peter Hennessey:  The Shadows Calling
The Rabble:  Orlando, Theatre Royal
Lucy Bleach:  Radiant Heat
Jason James:  Angry Electrons
Tyrone Sheather:  Giidanyba
Marina Abramovic:  Private Archaeology, Museum of Old and New Art, exhibition grand opening
Film:  A Second Chance, Directed by Susanne Bier, at the State Cinema
At the Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery I saw exhibitions by John Kelly (Beyond Woop Woop), Patrick Hall (Things I Once Knew, a survey exhibition of his work) and the permanent exhibition Our Land:  parrawa, parrawa! Go away! in the Bond Store Galleries, which documents the Black War, the dark period of Tasmania’s history following European invasion.


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The Great Speckled Bird, PACT centre for emerging artists, 17 June

Created by Ryan McGoldrick, performed with Claire Stejpanovic and Steve Wilson-Alexander, all UoW grads.

Rites of Passage, ABC 1, Sunday 28 June

Directed by Phillip Crawford, produced by arts organisation Beyond Empathy.  I had a small part in this film, made by young people living in the most disadvantaged communities in the Illawarra.  It was very exciting to see it screened on the ABC.

Marina Abramovic in Residence, Kaldor Public Arts Project 30, Pier 2/3 Walsh Bay, 3 July

I lost myself for an unknown period of time participating in a range of Marina’s durational exercises, designed to help an artist engage fully in the present. I loved it.  I am always rushing from one thing to the next, running late, trying to fit one more thing in, dealing with the cacophony in my head and a multitude of distractions.  This forced me to expunge all of that and SLOW DOWN.

Mother Courage and Her Children, Belvoir St Theatre, 7 July

We are studying Brecht in Spring semester in our Political Dramaturgy subject, with Mother Courage one of the set works.  Is it possible to do Brecht in this day and age? Great to see Robyn Nevin at work, but not sure this packed the political punch it could have.

TV Commercial Casting Call, Outcast International, Wollongong 9 July

I took the plunge and rocked up to a casting.  Wendy Green is originally from Wollongong, now living and working in the US.  Her casting company specialises in finding odd, quirky, “outcasts” for film and TV projects.  Didn’t get cast, but experienced the process for the first time and didn’t talk myself out of it beforehand.

24 Frames Per Second, Carriageworks, 15 July

24 Frames - Untitled

Byron Perry + Antony Hamilton, Untitled

Didn’t leave myself enough time to fully immerse myself in the multitude of video installations.  Had the best fun playing with Byron Perry and Antony Hamilton’s work Untitled, where I could control the video projection of one or the other through a keyboard synchronised to frames of the video/audio.  In the videos, Byron and Antony were pulling funny faces while speaking and sometimes making random noises.  The blurb says “The installation is an attempt to place the participants in a situation where they can be swept up in the ridiculousness and sublime joy of unbridled creativity”. That’s exactly what it was.

Love and Information, Sydney Theatre Company, 15 July

I laughed my head off, then soon after could not subdue a flood of silent tears during one of the most beautiful scenes I have ever seen staged.  A testament to the power of simplicity in design, the power of symbols and suggestion and an incredible achievement for any director and cast to bring together this curious and complex … can’t even call it a play … by Caryl Churchill.  This is an example of everything that contemporary theatre can be about.

Lore, Bangarra Dance Theatre, Illawarra Performing Arts Centre, 24 July

My first time seeing Bangarra perform.  Bonus was that I won tickets through Merrigong Theatre Company.  Shared this one with my family.


Reflecting back on it all, I’m very impressed!  No wonder I’m so exhausted!






The Fourth Week

working 9-5

Those days are long gone in Australia!

Talk about busy!  No time to be bored.  Definitely have plenty to do.  Actually, more than enough.  This week I worked extra hours on my Tuesday and then worked on the train to and from PACT on Wednesday, as well as finished off some work when I got home.  With deadlines looming, my conscience (and work ethic) really wouldn’t let me walk away from the week without having ticked off more of the jobs on my list.  If I was to ever work in Sydney and was using public transport to get there, I think this would be one of the hugest challenges for me.  At the moment in my paid employment, I usually keep working until the jobs are done.  I have never been good at working my set hours.  This is good and bad. In 2014 The Australia Institute released a report valuing the unpaid overtime that workers donate to their employers at $100 billion.  It would be impossible to work like that if I had a train to catch (and I wanted to stay married)!

I don’t know how PACT would get along without interns.  At the moment there are several projects running or in development, all requiring a huge amount of publicity to try and get audiences in.  With little to no budget for advertising, PACT relies heavily on social media promotion and direct e-mailing through their e-News subscription and targeted e-mails to the contact lists they’ve built up over time.  The marketing coordinator only works two days a week and the artistic program manager works three days a week.  That’s pretty light on for human resources.

A brand new area for me was discovering the world of “listings”.  There are loads of websites that offer an event listing service, all of them free.  Some charge for listings with more details, but most of the ones I worked on this week allowed me to upload images and quite extensive details about PACT’s upcoming events.  Learning about this is invaluable – it’s definitely something I can use in the future if I’m involved in any kind of producing or marketing role.  Does it pay off with bums on seats?  It would be interesting to know as it was quite time consuming.

I worked on new project this week.  BBM Youth Support partners with PACT to offer a travelling scholarship valued at $8,000 to a young emerging performing artist to travel to the UK and further their professional development.  I created the webpage and began the targeted marketing to get the word out through universities and other arts organisations.  This year’s scholarship recipient is Christie Woodhouse, a UoW Bachelor of Performance graduate.  Christie and I have a coffee date planned on her return because she is learning all about socially engaged arts practice, visiting theatre companies in the UK that have been working with marginalised people for many years.  That’s something I’m very interested in talking about with her.

The other big job of the week has been interviewing each of the PACT Collective artists and releasing their interviews on social media as a promotion for their upcoming performance, Listen! I’m telling you stories, 22-25 July.  You can find my interviews on the PACT Blog here.

The PACT Collective enjoying Thai Thursdays

The PACT Collective enjoying Thai Thursdays

Morning yoga for the PACT Collective

Morning yoga for the PACT Collective

Voice training with Mara Davis (UoW grad and now UoW tutor)

Voice training with Mara Davis (UoW grad and now UoW tutor)