An Awfully Big Adventure

I am on an adventure.

This is a fact that will not have escaped you if you’re one of those people subject to my lately fitful social media presence. Machine-gun bursts of content triggered by open WIFI networks.

Alternatively, you may be one of about twelve friends I invited over for a sneaky wine the day before I packed up my den, when I realised that in my mad scramble to organise the first leg of my trip, I had failed to notify anyone of my imminent departure.

What had been a pipe dream for most of the year had suddenly become reality, and “by the way I am leaving on Sunday… till Christmas…”

This is how it happened.

Last year I applied for Asialink’s Artist Residency Program to travel to Korea for 3 months. I was proposing to continue my study of Pansori (traditional opera) at The National Chenggeuk Company of Korea, observe some physical theatre companies in training and rehearsal, and work on the scenario and storyboard of a new piece of multilingual theatre with my dear friend Paul Matthews.

This application was not successful, but a few months later, I used it as the basis of a proposed Brisbane City Council Lord Mayor’s Young and Emerging Artists Fellowship (LMF) – which I expanded to include participation in the TransCultural Exchange Conference in Boston in October and a range of professional development and training opportunities in New York. To frame these experiences, I approached Wesley Enoch, Queensland Theatre Company‘s Artistic Director to serve as my mentor as I navigate the development of the new work with Paul which will eventually engage artists from the Torres Strait. Wesley was keen to take me under his wing regardless of the outcome of the funding and he has since become an invaluable resource, especially in his capacity to give me short swifts kicks in the arse when I am feeling particularly overwhelmed.

In June, I started answering the telephone (which usually fills me with irrational sense of dread). One afternoon, feeling particularly brave, I answered a call from a blocked number and was rewarded by being offered an 8-week, out-of-round Asialink Residency.

This was completely unexpected, and as I had at this stage given up the hope of success of my LMF application – it was past the notification date of June 4 – and I assumed that I would see out the rest of the year in Brisbane. I suddenly however found myself in the position of wrapping up my life in Brisbane in order to make it to Seoul in time for the Korean International Performance Art Festival which I had been invited to present at in mid July, confirming my residency at The National Theater of Korea, booking my accommodation at V Mansion, and most of all purchasing dirt cheap flights on Air Asia. To top it all off, my lease was due to expire while I was away – so I had to pack up my life and convince Nathan (recently returned from his own adventures) to sublet my room.

A week before I was due to leave I was at the weeklong ADSA conference in Adelaide (awkwardly timed, but which I had submitted to present at months ago) I heard that I had also received The Lord Mayor’s Fellowship. The last two weeks have been a frenzied scramble to confirm and arrange an expanded program of residencies and internships, as well as actually departing for Korea, devising a piece of performance art and surviving Mr. Hong O Bong’s Summer Performance Art Driving Tour (you’ll read more about this particular, peculiar, and unique experience in my next post).

So there it is. You’re all up to date. And for now, this is my plan:

Asialink Residency / BCC Lord Mayor’s Fellowship

These activities are framed by a mentorship with Queensland Theatre Company’s Artistic Director Wesley Enoch, laying the groundwork for developing a new multilingual work with artists from Korea, Brisbane, and the Torres Strait in 2014.

SEOUL: 22/07/2013 – 07/10/13

Korean International Performance Art Tour
Present a solo dance piece at 3 regional performance art festivals venues around the Korean peninsular.

Australia – Korea International Cultural Exchange (AKICE)
Motherboard Productions in partnership with The Seoul Foundation for Arts and Culture, REM Theatre, and The Brisbane Powerhouse is running an exchange program for artists in memory of my late friend and mentor Roger Rynd. We have selected two Australian and Two Korean artists to work together, first in Seoul, and then later this year in Brisbane. I will be helping to facilitate this exchange once the Australian artists arrive in Seoul.

Residency at National Changgeuk Company of Korea (The National Theater of Korea)
Advance my skills in traditional Korea voice by training with Oh Min Ah – one of the company’s performers.
Professional development in directing and working in traditional Korean performance through observing the company as they rehearse “Seopyeonjae”.

Performing Arts Market Seoul (PAMS)
Along with Motherboard Productions’ director Dave Sleswick, I will be present at this industry tradeshow to promote and attempt to gain international partners for two of my works: 지하 Underground, and Deluge.

BOSTON: 10/10/13 – 13/10/13

Transcultural Exchange Conference
This major international conference is for practitioners working in the field of transcultural art production and collaboration.

NEW YORK: 28/10/13 – 01/12/13

Complete internships and training with a range of intercultural companies and performers. I am currently in the process of re-confirming these opportunities.

SINGAPORE: 04/12/13 – 20/12/13

The Necessary Stage
I will complete a short internship with The Necessary Stage, one of Singapore’s most prominent contemporary theatre companies, and specialists in multilingual theatre as they enter the second development of their new work “Poor Thing”.

So. That’s where I’m at. Stay tuned for notice of further adventures.

Lord Mayor’s Young and Emerging Artists Fellowships are an initiative of Brisbane City Council. This project is supported by Asialink and Arts Queensland.

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