NAME: Rick Heath | PAC Australia
PERFORMANCE PICK #1: Tjaabi, Flood Country by Big hART at the Ngurin Cultural Centre in Roeburne. This was the perfect combination of place, people and story. Patrick Churnside’s performance was authentic real and deeply moving. Simple story telling brilliantly fusing traditional and contemporary practice.
PERFORMANCE PICK #2: Milnjiya, Milky Way – River of Stars by Gary Lang NT Dance Company & the West Australian Ballet at the Quarry Amphitheater. It’s rare, in my opinion, to see Aboriginal traditional dance and song integrated well with classical art forms (ballet/opera). This work was an extraordinary exception to that rule. Meditative and contemplative, the soul of this work seemed to flow to the audience – it certainly did to me. And kudos to WA Ballet for going there! (And the cosies were pretty amazing too.)
PERFORMANCE PICK #3: Solothello by Yirra Yaakin at Subiaco Arts Centre. Regan Taylor’s extraordinary solo performance was simultaneously warm and inviting, bold and compelling and laugh out loud in a kind of way that made me remember the joy of a great performer.
ARTIST/COMPANY TO WATCH FOR IN 2019?: Unashamedly bias, on two fronts… As a Board member of The Last Great Hunt I’m constantly astounded at the creative capacity of this team of individuals. Having seen a development of the upcoming Le Nor, commissioned with the Perth Festival, I have no doubt The Hunters will be adding yet another meaty work to their ever-growing repertoire of significant new Australian work. As a proud parent it’s my obligation (and total unbiased joy) to say keep an eye on beautiful WAAPA dance graduate Ella Watson-Heath. Stunning!
DISCUSSION WE NEED TO HAVE: PLEASE lets start taking about audiences – more, deeper, different. If, at its core, art is about communication then the audience is a critical part of the work. As funding stagnates, the potential to grown earned income i.e. box office (not by creating work for an audience) seems a logical and untapped revenue – this is about creating sustainable work for artists and companies and making sure the impact of the great work of our WA talent is shared far beyond those in-the-know and those who can afford it! Equally important, let’s push the conversation harder and longer about developing and promoting First Nations work. We are in the midst of a movement – our Indigenous culture will be the central focus of our national cultural identity before too long – lets get behind that and make it sooner rather than later. (And can someone please tell us about +8!)