As mentioned last time, you might want to read these Big hART news catch-ups in reverse order of posting, or you might not. You may, I hope, wish to know what Big hART is up to, now Drive and Ngapartji Ngapartj have come to end end (except for upcoming TV screenings and the long-lasting impact on many people’s lives).
Let’s just say, the intercultural connections born of Ngapartji Ngapartji, especially in the bond formed between leading actor Trevor Jamieson and writer/director Scott Jamieson has led to further projects. Late last year I attended the premiere in Adelaide of Nyuntu Ngali, a Big hART-Windmill youth theatre co-production, which comes to the Sydney Theatre Company as part of its Education strand early May. For more go here.
This lyrical futuristic tale looks at the survival of a young white woman, Eva (Anne Golding) and her aboriginal partner, Roam (Derek Lynch) in the 22nd century. The production features a narrator called Petrol, played by Jamieson. Any of you following this actor’s work must agree that we have a major talent – well, not emerging: emerged!
Not surprisingly, Jamieson is also playing the title role in the Big hART-Belvoir co-production currently in development – Namatjira – based on the life of the painter Albert Namatjira which opens in Sydney in late September. Derek Lynch will be performing in the show – as will Namatjira clan member who still work in the same painting/drawing tradition.
Here’s a message I got from Namatjira’s producer, Sophia Marinos, about a week ago – the morning after excepts from the show had been presented at Long Paddock. Long Paddock is a forum that brings together presenters, producers, state touring coordinators and other stakeholders to discuss productions for national touring. At the Long Paddock forums, producers are invited to “pitch” potential touring productions to a delegation of presenters.
“Big hART’s Namatjira arts and community development project has just launched a new project blog. The Namatjira Project, named after artist Albert Namatjira, is focused on research and development, and grass roots activity engaging project partners and key senior Namatjira family members. Over the last few months, members have begun to collect and explore a resource bank of information, photographic material, anecdotes, artifacts and inspirational conversations. The site will bring visitors up to speed with the project’s brief history, and will be updated regularly as it develops. Visitors are invited to read the blog, click through to the flickr photo stream, make comments, pass the link on to their networks, and contact the site owner directly with thoughts or feedback.
“Yesterday Big hART took a small contingent of the Namatjira team to Riverside Theatres in Sydney [for a Long Paddock presentation]. Our goal? To pitch Namatjira to venues and presenters in order to build a national tour of the performance piece in 2011 and 2012. The team? Writer/director Scott Rankin, actor Trevor Jamieson, musician Genevieve Lacey and creative producer Sophia Marinos.
With one day to rehearse a 15-minute excerpt, the pressure was on…. and we pulled it off.
The lights went down and up came the audio visuals. The audience is transported to Western Arrarnta country and the world of Lenie and Kevin Namatjira. This important story must be told.
Seamlessly, Trevor Jamieson moves into live performance. Quietly, slowly, gently removing his socks and shoes and shirt, he creates the the world of Albert Namatjira. “I’m going to let you in on a little secret…” As he tells Namatjira’s totemic flying ant dreaming story through movement and dance, the virtuosic Genevieve Lacey entrances the audience with mystical sounds from her the contra-base recorder. To a backdrop of watercolour paintings by Namatjira family artists this is mesmerising.
Rousing applause lets us know that people want to see this show.
The buzz in the foyer afterward, and the flurry of exchanging business cards confirms this. Presenters from Launceston, to Ballarat, to Illawarra, to Darwin, all want this show, if not in 2011 then in 2012.
Now it’s time close the deals..
So that is all good news. There is a chance I may get up to Alice for a further stage of community consultation and creative development in July – we’ll see – depends on the airfares. But it is important to know that Big hART don’t just put on shows, developed over your average 4-6 weeks rehearsal. Years and months go into the evolution of these shows.
For a whole lot more on the Namatjira project go to the official website
No doubt more on this website over the next few months as well.
the end – for now