Twelve artists from across the Top End gathered together to explore their respective project ideas in the lush surrounds of Mary River Retreat, about halfway to Kakadu from Darwin. A crack team of mentors – dance theatre maker and director Kate Champion, Yorta Yorta/Kurnai theatremaker and playwright Andrea James, and audio-driven performance maker Roslyn Oades – worked with the artists across a weekend to interrogate their ideas and provide feedback and support to help them take the next step.
For the twelve artists, the residency was an opportunity to take time away from life’s distractions to consider their creative ideas and how to progress them. It was a chance for artists to connect with each other and explore collaborative possibilities. The interstate mentors and facilitators offered experience, practical advice and networks beyond those already available to artists in the Northern Territory.
Breaking into small groups, we discussed the content, form and intent of each new idea. And they were ambitious in the best possible way, exploring themes of autonomy, power and control; water as currency; romantic betrayal; identity; death; and social cohesion. Concepts included a performance in a mattress shop, pop-up dinner parties, site-responsive dancemaking and a Greek chorus in a musical.