Two young people squatting in front of graffiti. One is smoking the other is on her phone.
Features, Fringe World, Music, News, Theatre

On trusting your gut

It’s been little more than a year since Isaac Diamond graduated from the Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts but he’s already making a name for himself on the Perth theatre circuit. In 2018 he caught the attention of Seesaw critics in WA Youth Theatre Company’s Cloud Nine, Spare Parts Puppet Theatre’s The Night Zoo and Lazy Yarns’ Penthouse.

Now the emerging actor/performance maker is preparing to appear on stage with Slate, a new local theatre collective. Slate will debut at Fringe World 2019 with Michael Abercromby’s Front, a play that takes viewers behind the scenes of the music industry. Seesaw had a chat to Diamond ahead of opening night.

Isaac Diamond
Isaac Diamond

Seesaw: When did you first know that you wanted to be an actor?
Isaac Diamond: When I was a kid I thought I wanted to illustrate books but it turned out I really wasn’t that good at drawing. Fast forward to my first year out of school when I was giving physiotherapy a whirl and failing (literally). After some time off I decided to try the thing that had made me happiest in high school, performing.

S: Tell us about your training…
ID: I trained at the Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts (WAAPA) for three years. I did the Bachelor of Performing Arts majoring in Performance Making. In this course, students are encouraged to push boundaries and explore the limits of theatre and performance. We receive a wide range of training, ranging from traditional acting and voice classes to more diverse methods such as butoh, Suzuki, clowning and puppetry, among others.

As far as my personal method is concerned, it’s all on the job learning. Trust your gut, make mistakes and keep doing that until you unlock the secrets of the universe.

S: Describe your artistic practice…
ID: I consider myself a performer and a maker. Acting was my first love but training at WAAPA showed me how much more there is to art. I’ve been a part of the devising process for a number of shows now, and I’m proud of all of them. I like work that is nuanced, authentic, challenging and exciting. I want to see humans struggle and love and burn and fly and shit everywhere. You know, normal stuff.

S: Career highlight so far?
ID: I was honoured and humbled to be the recipient of the Blue Room Theatre’s “Best Performance” award for my role in Lazy Yarn’s Penthouse. The awards are presented by the Blue Room Theatre for their entire 2018 season. It is a crazy thing to have happened and I still can’t really believe it. The talent and quality of work being made in Perth is unreal and I’m so happy to be amongst it.

S: What do you love most about what you do?
ID: I feel like I’m playing make-believe out the back with my little brother except I’m an adult and I get paid… what’s not to like?

S: 2018’s Fringe World saw you perform in Salt Theatre Company’s Minus One Sister and Lazy Yarns’ Less Light. What drew you back to Fringe World?
ID: A few buddies of mine let me know about a casting call for FRONT, looking for actors/musicians to play members of a band in a new/high-energy show written by a WAAPA acting grad.

Plus, I’ve loved Fringe in the past – the city is transformed. It’s bliss.

S: Tell us about your 2019 Fringe show!
ID: FRONT is fun, high-energy, crass, loud and gut-wrenching. It dives deep into the psyche of a musical psycho and smashes together ideas of ego, fame, power and loyalty into a tight 65 minute emotion explosion.

S: Aside from your show, what are you looking forward to seeing/doing at Fringe?
ID: Grace (I’m doing the sound design hehe)
Dad (I’m doing the sound design hehehehehe)
Silence my Ladyhead (groovy groovy)
Cotton Wool Kid (wrap yourself up 4 this)
The Big City (Louis is a clown-god)
Feminah (Charlotte is a boss-ass-BITCH)
Tony Galati the Musical (COZ DUHHH?)

S: What is your favourite part of the playground?
ID: OMG the swings. I’ll swing all damn day.

You can catch Isaac Diamond in FRONT 18-26 January at the State Theatre Centre of WA as part of Summer Nights.

Pictured top are Isaac Diamond and Mikayla Merks in character for “FRONT”.

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shall we get comfy
Dance, Performing arts

Degrees of comfort

Are you sitting comfortably? If not, why not? These are some of the questions choreographer April Vardy asks in her new work Shall we get comfy?, premiering at Fringe World this month. In her Fringe Session Q&A, April takes her turn answering, rather than asking, the questions.

April Vardy
April Vardy

Seesaw: When did you first know that you wanted to be an artist?
April Vardy: I can’t pinpoint the exact moment I knew I wanted to be an artist. Going through university you slowly begin to realise and understand what it means to be an artist in the world. Being exposed and inspired by so many people through my studies at the Western Australia Academy of Performing Arts (WAAPA), such as Emma Fishwick, Storm Helmore, Talitha Maslin and Isabella Stone… they all gave me insight and a desire to pursue life as an artist. Having that sense of artist in myself is still growing, and may never stop but the confidence and daringness, is expanding the more I get to be creative and make movement or contemporary dance works.

S: Career highlight so far?
AV: Definitely performing at Vondelpark, Amsterdam’s largest city park. This was during my time in LINK Dance Company (WAAPA’s graduate dance company). There was only myself and three others in the company at the time, Tanya Brown, Cheyenne Davis and Antonio Rinaldi. It was an amazing experience to have the sun setting in your vision as you were dancing on stage. Also having the audience filled with absolute strangers who may have just stopped whilst walking their dogs was a beautiful thought.

S: What do you love most about what you do?
AV: I love being able to see my ideas come to life… it is so satisfying. Having a vision and it working exactly how you thought, which is rare, or collaborating with dancers who are willing to give things a go to figure out what it is exactly you are looking for… I love being surrounded by such amazingly creative and talented people. Lastly, I love sharing what I have done, no matter how small, with friends, family and anyone who will come along.

S: Tell us about Shall we get comfy?, your 2018 Fringe show!
AV: Shall we get comfy? is an exploration of questioning what it means to be comfortable. Do we see our homes as our comfort zones? How do we sit comfortably? Do the people surrounding us change our definition of comfortable? Must you be uncomfortable before you get comfy? How long does it take you to get comfortable with a person?

I feel as though comfort is something everyone can relate to whether it’s a place, a song or person, there is always something that can bring us comfort in life when we need it. I hope to answer all these questions and more with the help of my dancers.

S: What made you decide to give Fringe World a whirl?
AV: I have always enjoyed the time of year when there is so much happening in Perth for celebrating the arts, and I thought why not let myself have a moment to get creative and choreography a dance work. I was craving the chance to be creative and needed something to satisfy this feeling and I thought Fringe would fill the void. A lot of friends’ support and encouragement also pushed me to enter to something in Fringe, as well as talented dancer friends volunteering their time to help my ideas come to life.

S: What is your favourite playground equipment?
AV: Definitely not the monkey bars, they were never my thing but probably just a simple swing. Nothing beats that feeling of being pushed higher and higher!

‘Shall we get comfy’ plays Paper Mountain, 19-21 February.

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Raglan Fetish show
Performing arts, Theatre

You want content?

“You’ll get your content” is the motto scrawled across the promo image for the Raglan Fetish Show, a one-man show featuring Patrick Downlow, Esq. that features lipsync, transgression, spoken word poetry, audience participation and cursed images… all at once.

Is that a promise or a threat? Seesaw caught up with Patrick Downlow Esq. (AKA writer/performer Nick Morlet) to find out more about this unusual character and his show.

Nick Morlet
Patrick Downlow Esq. AKA Nick Morlet

Seesaw: When did you first know that you wanted to be an artist?
Patrick Downlow Esq.: It was maybe 2009 when I realised that, for the most part, lay people simply don’t have the time or wherewithal to furnish themselves with the kind of content they truly deserve. I was at my office viewing footage an associate had sent me of a migrating herd of critically endangered Saiga antelope when it occurred to me that I’m in a position to really help others, in ways they never knew they needed help to begin with.

S: Did you do formal training, learn on-the-job, or a bit of both?
PD: I suppose it could be said I’ve been training all my life… from my childhood spent in the attic amongst the mouldering stacks of Nat Geos and Women’s Weeklies, to that first CRT monitor and the widening world of screen-based content it brought into our home.

I digress, or rather, regress. My on-the-job training started really at my first journalism job, reviewing local film festivals and gallery openings but I consider my true inception as an artist to be when I opened my first content dissemination firm in 2004. From there it was just a matter of realising my ultimate path, to become the person I am today.

S: Describe your artistic practice…
PD: There are, in essence, two pathways open to people who are interested in soliciting my services: the first, one-on-one coaching wherein I not only expose people to content that I, through a rigorous period of research, find most appropriate but also! divulge to them my patented methods and means of content procurement. This is, of course, not comprehensive of my entire practice but is certainly more in-depth than your usual sub-Reddit listing or Instagram exposé.

The second is geared more towards group sessions and this is what I will be showcasing in my debut Fringe performance, the Raglan Fetish Show. Both multi-modal and interdisciplinary in focus, the show takes the guise of a conventionally presentational one-man act, but certain technical and, let’s say, attitudinal aspects of the production will impress upon the audience that what they see is meta-content at the bleeding edge, a “22nd-century TedX talk” so to speak.

S: What do you love most about what you do?
PD: Just the very particular, very special way an under-occupied individual’s dull face lights up when they see an example of especially good content, for what must feel like the first time in their lives.

S: What made you decide to give Fringe World a whirl?
PD: People are at Fringe for one thing, and one thing only: content. Whether or not they get the best is up to them but I feel I can help raise awareness, so that audiences can best decide where to put their valuable selves. In other words, I saw a niche, I filled a niche. Now, as they say, all there is to do is to sit back and wait for the kudos to roll in.

S: What is your favourite playground equipment?
PD: The large web-like climbing apparatuses, found, for example, on the Freo esplanade.

The ‘Raglan Fetish Show’ plays Paper Mountain 12-17 February.

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Menagerie choir
Features, Music, News, Performing arts, Pop

Pop in harmony

Perth’s indie-pop choir, Menagerie, has become a staple at Fringe World since its debut in 2014. With a back catalogue that ranges from Arcade Fire’s ‘Wake Up’ to Silverchair’s ‘Freak’, all transformed into glorious three-part (or more!) harmony, Menagerie has developed something of a cult following.

In this Fringe Session Q&A, conductor (AKA Zookeeper) Sally Banyard takes you behind the scenes of Menagerie, ahead of its fifth Fringe show.

Seesaw: Tell us about Menagerie Choir.
Sally Banyard: The choir was created mid-2013 by Claire Coleman, our original Zookeeper! The idea was to get together and have fun singing the indie-pop songs that everyone (or perhaps most people?!) love! No experience necessary, all humans welcome.

The choir is, first and foremost, a community. We come together each week to have some fun making music together. We are not auditioned (and never will be) but the commitment and enthusiasm from our members leads to some really great music-making, and the fact that the arrangements are written by members of our choir is one of the things that makes us unique and gives us that particular Menagerie sound!

All our members contribute in various ways, but we also have a very hardworking ‘Control Panel’ that takes care of the day-to-day running of the choir, as well as ‘Creative Panel’ – fresh each year, that (historically) mainly helps bring together ideas for our Fringe shows!

Sally Banyard
Zookeeper 3.0, Menagerie conductor Sally Banyard.

S: How did you come to be conductor/Zookeeper 3.0 of Menagerie Choir?
SB: I had heard about Menagerie through various acquaintances, and joined in 2015, after watching some close friends do their first season and feeling way too much like I was missing out on something really fun!

My training has been in music, specifically composition and music education, so I was keen to help out the choir in other ways and jumped at the opportunities, given to me by our Zookeeper 2.0, Kate Page, to do things like write arrangements, lead sectionals and occasionally direct! This prepared me to take on the role of director – an offer I couldn’t possibly pass up – and become a fully-fledged Zookeeper. I’m definitely still learning though!

S: Menagerie’s career highlight so far?
SB: We had a pretty exciting 2017 – after our traditional Fringe World show, we performed at the Perth Concert Hall in September as part of the WA Primary Schools Massed Choir Festival, then headed down south to take part in Dunsborough Songfest, and finally, supported Darren Hanlon for his Perth show!

S: What do you love most about Menagerie?
SB: Um, well it seems obvious, but singing Indie-pop songs in choral harmony is pretty glorious! We love performing around Perth (and now WA!) but this is really just a great bonus! For me personally, there is little more exhilarating than waving my arms in front of this lovely group of humans at our gigs, and having sonified joy emerge!

S: What has been your funniest Menagerie moment so far?
SB: Once our stage was powered by kids on bicycles! Also all singing the same incorrect lyrics at the same time – way to do the wrong thing the right way, Menagerie!

S: Tell us about your 2018 Fringe show, “Menagerie Choir Presents: Keeping Secrets”!
SB: Keeping secrets is a universal but at the same time uniquely personal experience.  Sharing secrets is often scary but usually liberating, and we hope that by shedding some light on some of those secrets that we tend to keep hidden, we can bring audiences together a bit and hopefully even make others feel less alone.

We have a great selection of secrets – some are lighthearted but we also won’t be shying away from more personal or serious matters. Hopefully the chosen songs will offer a fresh take on all these themes, and perhaps colour these seemingly unique but often shared experiences!

S: What is Menagerie’s favourite playground equipment?
SB: Anything animal-themed! Perhaps the monkey-bars – we could often be mistaken for oversized monkeys, after all!

Menagerie Choir Presents: Keeping Secrets plays Teatro @ The Pleasure Garden, February 17-18 & 24-24.

Pictured top: Menagerie performing at Fringe World in 2016, under Zookeeper 2.0/conductor Kate Page.

Disclaimer: Seesaw editor Nina Levy has been a proud member of Menagerie since 2013.

This post is sponsored content.

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minus one sister
Features, Performing arts, Theatre

About to fly the coup

SALT is a WA theatre collective making its debut at this year’s Fringe World with the highly-anticipated Minus One Sister, by award-winning Melbourne playwright Anna Barnes. It’s a last hurrah in Perth for director Riley Spadaro, who’ll be heading off to Sydney to further his skills at NIDA this year as soon as the season is over. Seesaw managed to catch him for a sneaky Fringe Session, mid-season.

Riley Spadaro
Riley Spadaro is about to head to Sydney to study directing at NIDA.

Seesaw: When did you first know you wanted to be an artist?
Riley Spadaro: The term ‘artist’ terrifies me… I much prefer ‘storyteller’ – there’s something warm about it. I have always loved a good story. A good story can irrevocably change you. I saw Luca Guadagnino’s latest film Call Me By Your Name a fortnight ago and it is still with me. That’s the stuff.

S: Did you do formal training, learn on the job, or a bit of both?
RS: I have just graduated from the Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts (Performance Making) and I am about to spend the next year studying directing at NIDA. I spent a large portion of last year working as an assistant director on as many projects as possible – including Trouble in Tahiti for Lost and Found Opera, An Almost Perfect Thing for The Blue Room Theatre, and, most recently, Barbara and the Camp Dogs for Belvoir St Theatre, which was recently nominated for four Sydney Theatre Awards, including Best New Australian Work. I have also interned with Performing Lines WA and Playwriting Australia.

S: Career highlight so far?
RS: Working as Leticia Caceres’ assistant director on Barbara and the Camp Dogs was pretty magical. Leticia is a fiercely talented director – the energy she brings into the room is electric. Watching her in action is a master class in giving your whole spirit over to the work.

S: What do you love most about what you do?
RS: Falling totally in love with people who are far more creative and talented than I am.

S: Are you new to Fringe World?
RS: Yes, I am a total Fringe World virgin.

S: What made you decide to give Fringe World a whirl?
RS: I don’t quite know. Maybe it was Anna Barnes’ killer writing, or maybe it was because I was reading a bunch of Clementine Ford at the time and feeling existentially guilty about participating in a system which preferences my experiences over the experiences of my female colleagues and peers. I am proud to say that we have assembled a team of fiercely talented women who are who have brought every inch of their spirit into the room, every single day. Words they have taught me to speak over and over again: “I don’t know, I’m listening, I don’t know, I’m listening…”

S: Aside from your show, what are you looking forward to seeing at Fringe?
RS: I am jetting back to Sydney the morning after Minus One Sister opens, but – if timing allowed – I would definitely be buying tickets to see Emily Steel’s 19 Weeks in the COMO Treasury’s pool, and Phoebe Waller-Bridge’s Olivier Award-nominated Fleabag. Also, check out Minus One Sister’s own Isaac Diamond in Less Light, presented by Summer Nights and Lazy Yarns!

‘Minus One Sister’ plays the Blue Room Theatre until February 3.

Pictured top: Skye Beker, Phoebe Sullivan and Stephanie Somerville in ‘Minus One Sister’.

 

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The Honeymoon Suite
Dance, News, Performing arts

Abundantly kitsch

Those who were lucky enough to get a sneak peek at Bernadette Lewis’s “The Honeymoon Suite” in STRUT Dance’s “Short Cuts” program last year will know that the work is imbued with both sensuality and satire. Seesaw found out a little more about the dynamic emerging choreographer behind “The Honeymoon Suite”, ahead of its Fringe World season.

Bernadette Lewis
Bernadette Lewis. Photo: Jenni Large.

Seesaw: Tell us about your training… formal training, on-the-job, or a bit of both?
Bernadette Lewis: I began my training as an elite level gymnast at age seven, retiring from my Olympic pursuit at the ripe old age of 12 when I started my formal classical, jazz and contemporary dance training. I completed my BA in dance at WAAPA in 2005 and then temporarily retired again before returning for my honours year with LINK Dance Company in 2011. I’ve been learning on the job ever since.

S: Describe your artistic practice…
BL: My artistic practice crosses performance, choreography, teaching and community engagement. My choreographic works are moving pastiches that drive toward a dialogue or confluence of high art and pop culture.

S: Career highlight so far?
BL: So hard to pick one, but definitely up there is returning to LINK as a guest artist in 2015 to perform in Didier Théron’s Shanghai Bolero at the Fremantle Arts Centre.

S: Career lowlight?
BL: The inevitable gaps in work that we independent artists face year in, year out.

S: What do you love most about what you do?
BL: Being able to share the absolute joy of dance with all walks of life from professionals, to young aspiring dancers, to kids who can’t afford dance and to seniors who always wanted to.

S: Tell us about your 2018 Fringe show, The Honeymoon Suite!
BL: The Honeymoon Suite is a short, contemporary dance work staged in a light, photography and found object installation. It’s a neon, time travelling dreamscape that collages together vintage women’s wrestling, 1940’s beauty queens and the best of 1980’s exercise fads with all the religious fervour of a devout, Mexican Luchadora. It’s a bit slapstick, a bit satirical and abundantly kitsch.

It’s performed by Laura Boynes and Tanya Brown, with killer photography by Emma Fishwick and will be full of colour thanks to some very sage lighting advice from Chris Donnelly.

S: You’ve performed in Fringe before but not presented your own work. What made you decide to give Fringe World a whirl as a maker?
BL: I’ve been very choosy about entering the Fringe domain as a presenter and have been waiting for the right opportunity to present the right work for some time now. I was determined to be involved in a curated program so when Paper Mountain’s Peaks call out was announced I didn’t want to miss out. I’m a big fan of their volunteer/co-op model and am really interested in placing dance in non-conventional spaces. The Paper Mountain Gallery is an absolute gift for us.

S: Aside from your show, what are you looking forward to seeing/doing at Fringe?
BL: I can’t wait to see the rest of the Peaks program and “MicroMove” at The Blue Room as part of Summer Nights, where I’ll be performing in Scott Elstermann’s Act 2, Scenes 1-4 – The Murder / The Horror / The Arrest / The Escape.

S: What is your favourite playground equipment? 
BL: The swings. No doubt about it.

‘The Honeymoon Suite’ plays Paper Mountain, February 1-5.

Pictured top is dancer Laura Boynes. Photo: Emma Fishwick.

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Features, hip hop, News, Performing arts, Rap, Slam poetry

Poetry for our times

What do you get when you mix performance poetry, spoken word and rap? Star-Crossed Poets, a group of Perth performers who will be mixing poetry with a little hip-hop at Fringe World. Jesse Oliver, founder of Star-Crossed Poets, gave Seesaw an insight into the wonderful world of performance poetry… including competing nationally!

Seesaw: When did you first know that you wanted to be an artist?
Jesse Oliver: I knew I wanted to be an artist when I realised that my poetry is worth more to me than having money. Unfortunately, that’s where a lot of artists start. I left a full-time retail job and lived hard for the art! I’m just glad it paid off in the past year.

S: Did you do formal training, learn on-the-job, or a bit of both?
JO: In the few years leading up to the National Poetry Slam, I trained myself in my bedroom. I think you’re the hardest on yourself, the worst critic… but that can be a good thing! It just requires patience, forgiveness, determination and being able to recognise when something’s finished.

S: Describe your artistic practice.
JO: Usually my best work comes to me around 11pm when I’m falling asleep and I annoy my girlfriend by jumping out of bed and scrambling for a pen in the dark. Once I have these sleepy scribbles I make sure I make time to workshop them for performance. It’s a lot easier with the Star-Crossed crew because we have scheduled meetings. Every one of the team inspires me with their unique styles and it’s easy to roll with each other’s poetry. Two things we do always ensures a great session; laughs and food.

Jesse Oliver
Jesse Oliver, winner of the 2017 Australian Poetry Slam Championship.

S: Career highlight so far?
JO: October 15, 2017. After months of daily practise, I won the Australian Poetry Slam Championship at the Sydney Opera House to a crowd of 600+. Since then, I’ve been blessed with amazing opportunities like directing the National Young Writers’ Festival, a world tour and of course, starting my Star-Crossed crew.

S: Career lowlight?
JO: Not winning in 2015. I missed out on attending the Sydney final by half a point, and was so ready to give up poetry all together as I battled social anxiety. But on the plus side, it’s the same time that I met the amazing Perth Poetry community (SHOUT OUT!) and it was like a warm hug through a dark time of my life.

Seesaw: What do you love most about what you do?
JO: The intimacy, connection and liberation that comes from sharing yourself. Poetry is personal, when I’m on stage with a poem that’s true to who I am I feel like I’m flying. After the social anxiety thing, it’s the most amazing feeling to be fearless in your words and to have people clicking your truth. That’s the connection, having a whole room on the same page. (Fun Fact: Clicks are a poet’s applause, as clapping is thought to throw off a performance)

S: Tell us about your 2018 Fringe show, Star-Crossed Poetry!
JO: Star-Crossed Poetry is a brand-new show! It’s actually based on my own love life, told through poetry, rap and storytelling. I’m performing alongside some of Perth’s most talented young writers; Laundry Man, Demie Scally, Saoirse Nash and Jake “Wiseguy” Sulli. It’s a light hearted, funny journey through four stages of being in love; love, heartbreak, meaningless sex and something more. We’re all really excited to show it to the world!

S: What made you decide to give Fringe World a whirl?
JO: Some of the SC crew and I were heading back to Perth from the National Young Writers Festival. So we were hanging at the Sydney airport terminal when I saw that the Fringe registrations were open, and to be honest, also closing that night in exactly one hour. I have never mobile typed so fast in my life. But underlying this, I’ve just always wanted to do one. Also, sometimes I just cheekily want to see what I’m capable of, I’ve spent too long living in fear. Sometimes I surprise myself, other times I fall flat on my face. Thankfully, this crew has been the coolest thing I have ever put together.

 

S: What is your favourite playground equipment?
JO: I am NOT a fan of slides… When I was about eight I went down one after a kid who had peed himself and it’s never been the same for me. I like the weird animal things that are on a big spring, to this day I cannot resist a quick go.

Star Crossed Poetry’ plays Mezzanine Bar at Cheeky Sparrow and the Common Room at Paper Mountain, 29 January – 4 February.

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52 hertz
Features, News, Performing arts, Theatre

Only the lonely

We all feel alone at times, but when you’re experiencing loneliness it can feel like you’re the only one. 52 Hertz, by young artist collective Beyond the Yard, seeks to reassure the ‘lonely whales’ amongst us that we are not alone, says the show’s writer, director and co-producer, Terence Smith. Seesaw caught up with Smith for a Fringe Session to find out more.

Terence Smith

Seesaw: When did you first know that you wanted to be an artist?
Terence Smith: I don’t think it’s a choice I made. I think I’ve always wanted to be an artist and more specifically a director. From a young age I was always the kid who would tell his friends what to say and how to act when playing in the playground. I have definitely been shaped towards being an artist by being raised in Denmark, WA, as it is such an artistic town that encourages and celebrates the arts.

S: Did you complete formal training?
TS: Yes – I have completed my BA (Performance Studies) and have just completed my Bachelor of Arts (Honours) at Curtin University where my thesis looked into the role of a director and theatre maker and how one can create empathy from an audience through performance, the result being an early draft of the show 52 Hertz.

S: Tell us about Beyond the Yard…
TS: Beyond The Yard currently comprises of a group of young artists currently residing in Perth, Western Australia. Together we aim to create new Australian works focused on bringing light to under-represented social issues through innovative and refreshing mediums. We are artists; we play, we dream, we share, we create. We are Beyond the Yard.

S: Beyond the Yard’s career highlight so far?
TS: In November we had the opportunity to take 52 Hertz to my home town of Denmark for the Brave New Works Festival – it was an incredible weekend full of love and support from my home community and felt so good to in a way give back to the community that first nurtured my artistic hopes and dreams. It also gave us all the chance to collectively work outside the university environment in a new environment as a united and independent team.

S: And funniest moment so far?
TS: Every moment in our rehearsal room is full of laughs and good times – a ‘funny moment’ for all the wrong reasons involved dropping a glass fish bowl at the start of our tech day down in Denmark, that was a great start to that day… But you should definitely come see the show to see what this fish bowl is all about.

S: Tell us about that show!
TS: 52 Hertz is about disconnection in the modern world – it’s a show that follows the story of five different characters who could easily connect with one another if they allowed themselves to. More than anything it’s about how everyone at one time or another can feel like a lonesome whale calling out waiting for a reply that they feel is never going to come. I hope people who do feel that way can come and see this show and know they aren’t alone and there’s always help if it’s needed.

S: Aside from your show, what are you looking forward to seeing/doing at Fringe?
TS: I’m excited to see our home-grown WA artists show Perth what we’re made of and I’m also keen to hang out at the Budgie Smuggler for some cheap beer and boogie at the silent disco.

S: What do you love most about what you do?
TS: I love that by creating theatre I have the chance to give audiences and people in general the ability to feel something and gain insight into different ways of living. I thrive off the hope that my work can reach out and show someone that they aren’t alone.

S: What is your favourite playground equipment?
TS: Who could beat a killer slide.

’52 Hertz’ plays The Blue Room Theatre, February 13-17.

Pictured top: ’52 Hertz’. Photo: Nic Duncan.

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Super Woman Money Program - Elizabeth Davie
Comedy, Features, News, Performing arts

Money, feminism and power… ballads

Sometimes comedy is the best way to explain depressing statistics, says Melbourne-based comedian Elizabeth Davie, and so she’s having a crack at the superannuation gender gap in her Fringe show Super Woman Money Program. Seesaw thought that sounded awesome, so we invited Elizabeth to complete our Fringe Sessions Q&A to find out more.

Seesaw: When did you first know that you wanted to be an artist?
Elizabeth Davie: I’ve always wanted to be an artist, but I started out as a visual artist, studying printmaking. That was before I got addicted to making people laugh. Making people laugh is easier (and more fun) as a comedian than as a printmaker.

S: Did you undertake formal training, learn on-the-job, or a bit of both?
ED: I started doing stand-up about five years ago, just learning on the job. But since then, I’ve trained in improv and clowning, including going to clown school in France for a bit.

S: Describe your artistic practice…
ED: Hmm… my comedy is sort of a mish-mash of personal stories, political stand-up and really silly clowning and dancing. And power ballads!

I’ve worked on community TV shows, doing political jokes and sketches, but at the moment I’m loving being able to make live shows and be with the audience every night. Doing an hour-long show lets you explore things in more depth and do material you couldn’t do in a five or ten minute spot.

I created Super Woman Money Program with my amazing directors, Sharney Nougher and Shannan Lim, so even though it’s a solo show, it was very much a team effort. They helped me shape the material and make the show the best it could be and I loved that process. I will never work without a director/s again!

S: Career highlight so far?
ED: My career highlight so far is selling out Super Woman Money Program at the Melbourne Fringe, but the best part about that was chatting to audiences afterwards. I had so many amazing conversations with people afterward, about their experiences with money and superannuation and the politics of it all. It’s actually a very emotional issue.

S: Tell us about Super Woman Money Program!
ED: Super Woman Money Program is a comedy about money, feminism and power ballads, inspired by my super company. They sent me an email suggesting I tackle the gender super gap by buying cheaper makeup, reusing my tea bags and avoiding divorce. The whole email was such a joke, I figured there must be a show in it! So I decided to see if I could make superannuation funny, because comedy is the best way to explain depressing statistics.

I know just enough about money to know I really don’t know enough, so I did a heap of research. I still don’t know enough, really, it’s so complex and confusing, it’s no wonder most people don’t even know their own super balance!

The show explores my own life, and also the social structures that place women at a financial disadvantage, through a mixture of stand up, sketch, clowning and storytelling. It’s funny, I promise!

S: What made you decide to give Fringe World a whirl?
ED: So many amazing artists and comedians have come out of Perth, including both my directors, Shannan and Sharney, so I couldn’t wait to bring a show to Fringe World.

S: Aside from your show, what are you looking forward to seeing/doing at Fringe?
ED: I’ve never been to Perth, so I can’t wait to visit and see the city. And there are so many amazing shows to see! But I’m possibly the most excited about the beaches, I hear they leave Victorian beaches for dead.

S: What is your favourite playground equipment?
ED: I’m a big fan of the swings! It’s really meditative.

Super Woman Money Program plays Upstairs at Rosie O’Grady’s, 30 January – 2 February.

Pictured top: Elizabeth Davie. Photo: Nayt Housman.

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The Motherhood
Comedy, News, Performing arts, Theatre

Take a long, hard laugh at yourself

If you’ve ever been in a relationship or looked after a child then you should relate to The Motherhood’s ‘Surviving the circus’, a local comedy playing in Fremantle this February as part of Fringe World.

But who are the women behind The Motherhood? Seesaw found out.

The Motherhood
The Motherhood: Our favourite playground equipment is a slide because we’re all about enjoying the ride of life.

Seesaw: What is The Motherhood?
The Motherhood: We are Emma Krause (Mum of twins), Simone Springer (Burlesque Babe), Lucy Ewing (the silly Mum) and Jodie Lawrence as ‘Pony’ (the Fifo wife), four passionate women who are not only stand-up comedians but also mums, small business owners, authors, teachers, wives, friends and daughters.

We’re a group of mums who are real. We all screw things up on a regular basis, no matter how hard we try. We share our stories of parenting failures and these remind our audiences to have a long, hard laugh at themselves.

S: Career highlight so far?
TM: Our greatest career highlight is being named Best Newcomers in Laugh Resort’s 2017 Doustie awards.

Individually, we have had great success in the national RAW comedy competition and two members of our group were asked to perform at the most recent Mental Health Comedy Gala held at the State Theatre – ‘I Stand Up – For Mental Health’.

S: What do you love most about what you do?
TM: We love stand-up comedy and we love performing with each other for audiences that understand us. We also love being a voice for mothers to help them laugh at their own failures.

S: Tell us about your 2018 Fringe show, Surviving the circus
TM: Surviving the circus is a relatable, honest, self-deprecating comedy event for anyone who has ever been in a relationship or looked after a child. It will leave audiences feeling better about their own lives. This show isn’t just for mums. It’s a good excuse to have a night out with friends or to go on a date night with your partner.

S: Are you new to Fringe World?
TM: Yes. We decided to be involved this year because we feel our group is gathering momentum – female audiences are responding to our honesty and humour. Our previous shows have sold out with audiences giving 5 * reviews. Fringe World is a great way for us to promote The Motherhood and broaden our audience.

S: Aside from your show, what are you looking forward to seeing/doing at Fringe?
TM: We are honoured to be performing alongside some of Australia’s most talented comedians. Many of our Perth comedian friends also have Fringe World shows this year and we are very keen to check out as many of these as we can.

S: What is your favourite playground equipment?
TM: Our favourite playground equipment is a slide because we’re all about enjoying the ride of life.

‘Surviving the circus’ plays the Sail and Anchor, Fremantle, February 23 & 24.

This post is sponsored content.

Pictured top: The Motherhood. Photo: Yvonne Fletcher Photography.

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