PAC Conference 2018 reeled in the arts crowd to the Pilbara

This year, PAC Australia decided to move North for the winter for their annual conference, and delegates from all corners of Australia (and New-Zealand) migrated to the Pilbara where the small town of Karratha rolled out more than just the red carpet to make us feel so welcome. Performing Lines was there in force with teams from Perth, Sydney and Hobart, all coming to enjoy the week-long event.

L-R: Marion Potts, Zainab Syed, Cecile Lucas, Rachael Whitworth and Emma Corrick

City of Karratha’s new iconic Red Earth Arts Precinct

Although the weather peaked at 30 degrees, there was much contention as to what people thought was the hottest item in town. While we feel the quality of the shows pitched this year was quite high, here are our top 5 picks:

  • Jodee Mundy’s Personal is a poignant work exploring the strains and joys of being a CODA, a hearing child born into a deaf family. Directly inspired by Jodee’s personal history, the show shines light on dis/ability and how we perceive one another.
  • Grace Under Pressure by Alternative Facts is a deeply moving theatre piece that examines the working life of health professionals and asks: ‘Who is caring for those in the caring professions?”
  • A Slightly Isolated Dog Company from New Zealand made a killer impression with their two new productions Jekyll and Hyde and Don Juan, and their sexy fake French accents. Best pitch ever!
  • Catch by Circus Maxima (Sally Richardson) and supported by Mandurah Performing Arts Centre (WA) is a great example of a work being created regionally making it to the national marketplace.
  • With Playlist by PYT Fairfield the future is in good hands! Featuring a diverse and explosive cast of five young western Sydney women, the work explores the state of feminism in pop culture and music, in an environment largely influenced by the #MeToo movement.

The theme for the conference that followed the two-day Performing Art Exchange was Making Space and focused on identity and place, and “how place informs the art we make and how the art we do is relevant and resonates with the audience in the communities in which we live.”

As always, the event featured some exceptional keynote speakers, including Sigal Cohen, Director of International Relations and Development at the Cameri Theatre of Tel Aviv; Dr Richard Walley in conversation with Ilbijerri Theatre’s Artistic Director Rachael Maza and Thinker-in-Residence (and former Performing Lines CEO) Karilyn Brown; and Gill Hicks founder of M.A.D for Peace.

“All the keynote speakers were amazing, and I was personally moved by Gill Hicks, an incredible woman who is dedicating her life to helping others after surviving the 2005 London terrorist attack. As everyone in the room, I was hanging onto her words until the end. Her resilience and optimism are so infectious, and are here to remind us that no matter what happens in life, you are the only one in control of your own happiness.” said our Marketing Coordinator, Cecile Lucas.


Sigahl Cohen, Director of International Relations and Development at the Cameri Theatre of Tel Aviv

Gill Hicks, founder of M.A.D for Peace.

Breakout: Resilience with Heather McGregor-Bayne

Also on the agenda was a series of thought-provoking breakout sessions with topics spanning from running a venue, providing best mental health support for our industry, to the challenge and benefit of creating work regionally, etc.

“The mental health session provided some really practical ideas on how to increase resilience. I feel more time is needed on a topic like this for the health and sustainability of our sector” commented Senior Producer Rachael Whitworth.

“The serendipity vs strategy session with Annette Downs (Tasmania Performs) and Fraser Corfield (ATYP) offered incredible insights and learnings across the sector, investigating the nitty gritty of creating work from the genesis of an idea to national touring” said Associate Producer, Zainab Syed.

For Sydney Associate Producer Emma Corrick, the exploration of the rock art located in Murujuga National Park on the Burrup Peninsula (35kms from Karratha), the world’s oldest art gallery, will remain the highlight of her week.

“It was such an honour to visit this ancient and significant place” said Emma.

The decision to go regional this year was a fantastic idea as time seems to slow down outside the capital cities, which allows for more informal catch-ups and provides more thinking space.

Missed our pitches? Want to discuss options?

Here is a quick summary of the shows that were pitched across our three offices. If you want to find out more or start a conversation, click on the links below:

  • Sunshine Supergirl, a new stunner by Andrea James telling the true story of Evonne Goolagong, a young country Indigenous girl who became the world tennis champion in 1971 at the tender age of 19.
  • Whoosh!, Sensorium Theatre’s new interactive multi-sensory adventure into space, that puts children with disabilities in the Captain’s Chair!
  • Man With The Iron Neck from Legs On The Wall, a physical theatre company, is a powerful piece that tells the story of an Australian family – three Aboriginal kids from a small town – and how two choose to survive when one is lost.
  • Hide the Dog, a new First Nation cross cultural work in development written by Nathan Maynard (pakana, TAS) and Jamie McCaskill (Maori).
  • Circa’s Danger Club  is a new immersive community enrichment project with a performance outcome created with young people in the regions.
  • Silent Trio Beats, a highly physical new dance work by Raghav Handa that draws on Kathak rhythms and the principle of dynamic shift – extreme rapid motion punctuated by sudden periods of stillness.



Photo credit: PAC Australia

In everything we do, we acknowledge that we live on Aboriginal land and constantly learn from the wisdom of First Peoples.

Where we are and the history that precedes us informs how we work and how we move forward.