PUBLIC SHOWING & ARTISTS TALK:
Emma Rice International Director’s LAB
The Australian Circus and Physical Theatre Association [ACAPTA] is thrilled to bring renowned UK director, Emma Rice – from ground-breaking theatre company Kneehigh – to Melbourne from February 13 to 18 to conduct an International Directors’ LAB, the first of its kind in Melbourne.
For over 30 years Kneehigh has been celebrated as one of Britain’s most playful and irreverent theatre companies. As its Joint Artistic Director & Assistant Chief Executive, Rice has taken the company from a local theatre group in Cornwall to attracting commissions from the Royal Shakespeare Company, the Royal National Theatre and collaborations with the likes of French Soundtrack legend Michel Legrand.
An important opportunity for the Australian circus and physical theatre sector, the LAB is an initiative of The Australian Circus and Theatre Association (ACAPTA), and is funded by the Theatre Board of the Australia Council. The idea for the LAB came from a report, commissioned by the Australia Council in consultation with ACAPTA, which identified the need for a professional development program for directors to enable the Australian circus and physical theatre sector to secure a significant share of a rapidly growing domestic and international market.
Rice will mentor seven Australian directors who, along with some of Melbourne’s leading performers, will learn new ways of creating theatre work by exploring process, concepts, ideas and dramaturgy. The hallmark of Rice’s work is the integration of physical theatre and circus in narrative story-telling on stage. Members of the public are invited to see the culmination of the week-long workshops by the next generation of theatre innovators at an artists’ talk and public showing at the Meat Market in North Melbourne on Saturday 18 February.
After a vigorous and open selection process, 7 deserving Circus and Physical Theatre artists were selected to take part in the week long LAB intensive. These participating directors are: Sally Richardson (WA), Megan Jones (VIC), George Filev (VIC), Alexandra Talamo (VIC), Derek Ives (VIC), Dave Sleswick (QLD) and Amy Gibson (VIC).
We asked George Filev, participating director, what this opportunity meant to him as an artist. Filev said “In Australia there is a growing need for experienced directors of Circus and Physical Theatre. I am keen to advance my skills as a director and this rare opportunity to work with Emma Rice will go a long way in getting me closer to that goal. It’s only through valuable, local initiatives like this that people like me get a chance to learn from and work with world renowned mentors. The directors LAB is a fantastic gift to my sector and I hope it continues into the future and adds to the talent that currently exists.”
Rice’s visit to Melbourne is also supported by the National Institute of Circus Arts (NICA) in Prahran, where students, staff and industry practitioners will gain insights into directing for this rapidly growing artform when Rice delivers an artist talk there on 17 February.