NAISDA’s Training Delivery Coordinator, Craig Barry and Physical Theatre team teacher, Callan Purcell share their thoughts on the week-long collaboration between NAISDA’s Developing Artists and the students of NIDA’s Writers and Directors courses, which took place in July 2019.
Tell us about what this week has involved and the importance of it
Craig: We decided it would be great to do an exchange for a week – it’s the first time we’ve done this. We’re specifically using the writing and directing students to work with our Certificate IV and Diploma Developing Artists. The idea is to get these artists to collaborate and build relationships, and to see how they can work together in the future.
Callan: It’s really exciting because it’s created an interesting dialogue between all the creatives, whether they’re writers, directors or aspiring movers and dancers. In the room you can see that they’ve created their own kind of dialogue and how that can develop into other conversations and work as their careers grow.
There’s so many varying skillsets as they explore structure and form. This is creating a hybrid of forms and context and it’s igniting their theatrical form.
There was no specific theme for this week’s work. Why do you think it’s important to not have a theme involved?
Craig: We thought we’d let them find out who they are with each other and let them make connections and decisions for themselves. Every group has come up with something very exciting and every group is really different.
Callan: It’s that thing where if you come into an empty slate in the real world the pressure begins. So, we’ve given each ensemble the opportunity to make discoveries rather than decisions related to a theme where they have to tick boxes and make sure it’s relevant.
By having no theme they’ve been able to find their own collective voice which they can then express through movement or original composition.
I think they look for the themes within themselves and if they like it, they keep it and they run with it, otherwise it just melts away.
It makes their storytelling exciting and they have collective ownership.
What do you hope to see come out of this experience?
Craig: I didn’t really want to know specifically what I was going to get shown so I deliberately stayed away from being too involved. For me what I’d like to see is what NAISDA’s Developing Artists and NIDA’s writers and directors get from working with each other, and what that then develops into in a number of years’ time.
The outcome of the performance is secondary for me.
Callan: That permanency of continuing the conversation beyond these doors and taking the initiative to continue the curiosity with one another. We want to see them come together rather than trying to be the same.
It’s through collaborative and devised theatre that we can find and build relationships in the room. You learn about yourselves; you learn about the world and you learn the craft of storytelling.
To learn more about the collaboration and hear from other people involved in the project, click here.