NT artists explore new ideas at inaugural Brown’s Mart Residency

With a collaboration crossing states, territories and the Bass Strait, Performing Lines in Sydney, Brown’s Mart Theatre in Darwin and Tasmania Performs combined powers to deliver the inaugural Brown’s Mart Artist Residency a few weeks ago.

This project was the first of a series of regional residencies produced by Performing Lines that aim to support independent artists fulfil their ambitions – no matter where they are based in Australia.

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.

The participating artists left the residency with an action plan for how to take their idea forward, and we are eagerly following the progress of each project and artist.

For Performing Lines, this was a confirmation of our belief that our Tasmanian Senior Producer Annette Downs’ hugely successful Tasmania Performs Artist Residency at Tarraleah was a model that could be transferred to a new community.

Brown’s Mart are already looking towards next year – a big thanks to their stellar team for making this such a successful project.

In the meantime, we get to do it all again with the Tasmania Performs Residency in mid-October, and our inaugural partnership with Bunbury Regional Entertainment Centre to deliver the BREC Artist Residency from 15 to 17 November

Applications for artists and creatives from all performing arts disciplines to be part of the BREC Artist Residency are now open.

Click here for more info and to apply


The Brown’ s Mart Artist Residency was produced by Performing Lines and Brown’s Mart Theatre, assisted by the Australian Government through the Australia Council for the Arts, its arts funding and advisory body. Original concept developed by Tasmania Performs and supported by Arts Tasmania.

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