Actress hugging toy robot
Children, Features, News

Kids Winter Gig Guide

“Bring your rain poncho and wear noisy shoes,” the instructions read. Now that sounds like an intriguing art installation.

Contemporary artist Marnie Orr is running school holiday workshops at the Art Gallery of WA and they are all about rain. From July 10-19 children will use their bodies and found materials to brew up a storm in an immersive exploration of rain. The AGWA workshop is one of many art activities for children launching as Perth’s creative community gears up for school holidays.

The State Theatre Centre  is brimming with events. On July 13 the building will come alive with Aboriginal art, poetry, films and culture to celebrate Naidoc Day.  And between July 6-14 the theatre will be overrun with robots as Barking Gecko take over the building. A season of Finegan Kruckmeyer’s show My Robot  (read Seesaw’s review here) will be complemented by some very cool free classes. Kids can flex their engineering and design skills by building a Lego robot, then fight it out in the Battle Arena with other young programmers. In the Super Heroes Workshops kids and adults work together using drama and creative thinking to solve problems.

Robots battle it out at Barking Gecko’s Robot Workshop

From August 13  – 16  the State Theatre will present a production of Roald Dahl’s Revolting Rhymes & Dirty Beasts.  Roald Dahl’s classic reworking of The Three Little PigsCinderellaLittle Red Riding HoodSnow WhiteGoldilocks and Jack and the Beanstalk  is being brought to the stage by Shake and Stir Theatre.

There is an enormous range of art classes at Fremantle Arts Centre for children and teenagers: photography, cartoons, pottery, anime and mosaic to list just a few. And you can check out the work of 2018’s Year 12 students in Pulse Perspectives, (reviewed by Seesaw here) in an exhibition at the Art Gallery of WA.

Don’t forget to include some musical magic in your school holiday fun. The WA Youth Jazz Orchestra will present Jazz for Juniors at His Majesty’s Theatre July 9 & 10. These fun-filled concerts introduce young children to the concepts of jazz music and the instruments the musicians play. Best of all, everyone gets the chance to try out some instruments built for small hands.

Be inspired by some of WA’s best young musicians as the WA Youth Orchestra and conductor Benjamin Northey perform a concert of Australian and Russian music, including the world premiere of a piece by Australian composer Melody Eötvös. Tickets don’t come much cheaper than this for a full symphonic concert and you can be guaranteed a passionate performance.

At UWA’s Conservatorium of Music kids can leap into the world of percussion at the Discover! Percussion workshop at UWA on July 10, or a saxophone bootcamp with Emma McPhilemy on the 12-13th.

A fusion of dance and puppetry in Spare Parts Puppet Theatre’s Fox. Photo supplied.

And of course Spare Parts Puppet Theatre will perform puppet shows in Fremantle throughout the holidays. Their show this time is the story of the unexpected friendship between a magpie and a dog. Fox is a fusion of puppetry and dance that will take you on a journey through scorched scrub and ochre desert where the true meaning of friendship and loyalty will be discovered.

WA’s performing and visual arts companies are reaching out this winter to engage young people with the arts. There’s no better time to dive in!

Pictured top: A real robot is part of the cast in Barking Gecko’s My Robot. Photo supplied.

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His Majesty's Theatre
Calendar, Jazz, July 19, Music, Performing arts

Music: King Street Corner Pocket Jazz Festival

4-6 July @ Various Venues around King Street ·
Presented by WAYJO ·

WAYJO’s King Street Corner Pocket Jazz Festival returns to the city this July.
Boasting 55 shows and more than 200 performers, the festival showcases WA’s top emerging and established jazz musicians. City venues include His Majesty’s Theatre, The Sewing Room, the InterContinental Perth City Centre Hotel, Cheeky Sparrow and Prince Lane. Performances start at 5.30pm, 6pm, 7pm, 7.30pm, 8.30pm and 9pm. Tickets from $15 each from www.ptt.wa.gov.au

More info
W: www.ptt.wa.gov.au
E:  marketing@wayjo.com 

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Jazz, Music, News, Performing arts, Reviews

A different kind of Nutcracker

Review: West Australian Youth Jazz Orchestra, ‘Duke Ellington’s Nutcracker‘ ⋅
Quarry Amphitheatre, November 22 ⋅
Review by Rosalind Appleby ⋅

The sugar plum fairy and dancing mice are synonymous with Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker, a classic Christmas ballet (you can read Seesaw’s review of the current West Australian Ballet production here). But at the Quarry Amphitheatre a very different kind of Nutcracker is being performed by the WA Youth Jazz Orchestra.

In 1960 the sparkling tunes from Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker Suite (essentially the highlights reel from the ballet) were arranged for big band by Duke Ellington and Billy Strayhorn. When it comes to big band music you can’t go wrong with the Ellington/Strayhorn combination; their inventive use of the big band in the mid twentieth century elevated jazz to an artform. Their Nutcracker was an inspired choice to close the WA Youth Jazz Orchestra successful 2018 season, a year where they have sold over  8000 tickets, a huge growth from 1500 tickets in 2016. On Thursday night the audience at the beautiful Quarry Amphitheatre settled in for a good night, dodging the occasional rain drop as the moon rose behind the stage.

Tchaikovsky’s tunes are whistle-able and instantly recognisable and Ellington and Strayhorn’s arrangements are both fun and moody, fragmenting Tchaikovsky’s melodies between different instruments and colouring with muted brass and Dixeland cacophony. And then there are the harmonies: 19th century romanticism infused with a good dose of blue notes and perfect cadences left suspended midair.

The WA Youth Orchestra performing at the Quarry Amphitheatre. Photo Justine Thornley.

When the plush horn section of  the Wednesday Night Orchestra started playing the overture theme over a walking bass line it was as though Tchaikovsky had exchanged a crisp dinner suit for a velvet coat and cigar. Led by director Mace Francis the band brought their lush sound and tight groove to the slow shuffle of Toot Toot Tootie Toot (based on Dance of the Reed Pipes), the New Orleans wail of the Sugar Rum Cherry (The Sugar Plum Fairy) and Arabian, Russian and Chinese dances. A highlight was the contributions from WAYJO alumni Ben Clapin on clarinet. But it was a mixed performance. Cracks appeared in the sparser sections revealing tuning and timing issues, and the Arabian dance needed more meticulous rehearsal to enable it to hold together.

The first half of the evening featured the energetic band director Marty Pervan leading the Tuesday night orchestra  through a set list of Ellington favourites. The band swung hard through Cottontails, Ko-Ko, Take the A Train and Braggin in Brass. Singer Jordan Boase joined the band and his smokey vocals in Rocks in My Bed were a highlight.

A footnote: I’m still waiting for the day WAYJO’s Women in Jazz program begins to feed players into the orchestras and balance the gender disparity in the line up. Three women in a 17 piece piece ensemble is a glaring issue; the jazz world is still well behind when it comes to gender parity.

Duke Ellington’s Nutcracker concludes November 23 at the Quarry Ampitheatre. WAYJO’s 2019 season is now available.

Picture top: musicians from the WA Youth Jazz Orchestra. Photo Tom Greble.

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WAYJO
Calendar, Jazz, November 18, Performing arts

Music: Jazz Under the Stars – Duke Ellington’s Nutcracker

22 – 23 November @ Quarry Amphitheatre ·
Presented by WAYJO ·

Join WAYJO for a night of jazz under the stars at the beautiful Quarry Amphitheatre.

Hear them perform jazz hits from Duke Ellington’s album, The Nutcracker Suite, plus a host of other Ellington classics. Tickets from ticketmaster.com.au

More info:
W: wayjo.com/events/duke-ellingtons-nut-cracker/
E:  admin@wayjo.com

Pictured:
WAYJO, photographed by Tom Greble

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Sassafras
Jazz, Music, News, Performing arts, Reviews

Celebrating in style

Review: WA Youth Jazz Orchestra, King Street Corner Pocket Jazz Festival ·
Various venues, 5-7 July ·
Review by Rosalind Appleby ·

The WA Youth Jazz Orchestra is turning 35 this year and last week they threw an enormous party to celebrate. Over three nights, Australia’s leading youth jazz orchestra turned Perth’s vintage King Street into a bustling festival with 38 jazz acts in four iconic locations. The King Street Corner Pocket Jazz Festival was an impressive showcase of the breadth of the local talent, many of whom trace their roots back to student days in the WAYJO ensembles.

On Thursday night the festival vibe was in full swing, audience members of all ages spilling from unlikely venues into the bracing winter night for refreshments from one of the many nearby bars before moving to the next show.

Upstairs at Kailis Jewellery, Sassafras kicked off the festival with toe-tapping gypsy jazz. The trio of Lachlan Gear and Aaron Deacon on acoustic guitars, led by the irrepressible Pete Jeavons on string bass, took us back to 1930’s Paris via Django Reinhardt’s fast strummed Feerie, with its picked melody line singing the blues almost rockabilly style. The set continued with standards like Miller’s Bernie’s Tune and Ellington’s Caravan incorporating influences from flamenco to bossa nova along the way. Despite their small acoustic make up, the three-piece provided a driving rhythm section, intricate solo work and sweetly lyrical melodies. It was a great pairing of venue and ensemble; the stylish upstairs room was crowded with an enthusiastic audience and no one wanted it to end.

The lure of Varnish’s boutique bar and hearty food took us back out into the street, and we were refuelled and ready for the big band swagger that hit us Downstairs at the Maj. The Monday Night Orchestra was one of WAYJO’s three big bands featured during the festival and as we arrived the horns were in full swing for Count Basie’s The Queen Bee. The young musicians are the cream of local jazz talent and sat tight under director Ricki Malet. The diverse set list included a sizzling Sunny Side of the Street, led by vocalist Annie Mitchell, and a fabulous rendition of Spring Can Really Hang You Up, featuring trombone soloist Holli Hatherley. WAYJO has intentionally made steps towards gender equity and it was great to see the band populated with female low brass players. To top it off the bracket ended with a piece by Australian composer Jenna Cave whose funk-influenced Jazz Euphoria on Frenchman Street tipped the scales slightly more towards gender parity in the diversity-challenged jazz world.

Alto saxophonist and composer Alana Macpherson is a product of WAYJO and studied composition with its artistic director Mace Francis. Her promise of original compositions performed by string quartet and vocalist Priscilla Gardiner attracted a large audience for the final session Downstairs at the Maj. Macpherson led from saxophone, backed by the close harmonies of the quartet and sweetened by Gardiner’s vocals. There were some haunting solos, with Gardiner’s musky vocals blending with the throaty alto sax to haunting effect. It was an impressive display of a young artist flexing her creative muscle at an already elite level.

Kudos to the very small team at WAYJO for this huge logistical achievement and fingers crossed this will be the first of many King Street jazz festivals.

This review was first published on Noted and appears on Seesaw with kind permission from Rosalind Appleby.

Pictured top is Sassafras. Photo: Rosalind Appleby.

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kate Ceberano
Calendar, Jazz, May 18, Music, Performing arts, Pop

Music: WAYJO presents Kate Ceberano

19 May, 7.30pm @ Astor Theatre, Mt Lawley ·
Presented by WA Youth Jazz Orchestra (WAYJO)·

WAYJO presents Kate Ceberano at The Astor Theatre for a night of energetic jazz.

Australia’s High Priestess of Pop and Jazz.

A beloved icon of Australian music, Kate Ceberano returns to WAYJO for one night only.

The Astor Theatre concert has become a fixture of WAYJO’s annual program, and we are delighted to perform with Kate as part of our 35th anniversary celebrations.

Kate’s ability to work a room and deliver unparalleled performances of jazz standards and reimagined songs will make this a night to remember.

The Wednesday and Tuesday Night Orchestras take the stage in an evening showcasing one of the greatest talents in Australian music.

“(The) first thing you notice about Ceberano is her energy, which actually sends the atoms crackling as she walks in the room.” – Time Out Melbourne

Presented with the support of the City of Stirling Cultural Development Fund.

More info: http://premier.ticketek.com.au

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slap and tickle
Cabaret, Dance, Music, News, Performing arts, Reviews

Saucy and jaunty

Fringe World review: Slap and Tickle by The Kabuki Drop and WAYJO ·
Studio Underground, State Theatre Centre of WA, 27 January ·
Reviewed by Jenny Scott ·

Slap and Tickle entertains with the unexpected pairing of saucy circus characters and and WA’s premier youth jazz orchestra.

iOTA, the celebrated WA-born ‘triple threat’ (actor, singer and dancer), stars in the central role of the clown-faced performer ‘Slap’, alongside Russell Leonard as his offsider ‘Tickle’.

Rather than a showcase of conventional clowning, Slap and Tickle is more of an adult cabaret-style variety night – although Slap is quick to declare that the show is not a cabaret but rather a ‘camp soiree’.

Throughout the night, Slap presents various characters – a sideshow mind reader, a glam musical theatre hopeful, a giant snake – while Tickle acts as the one-man support crew.

There is a loose plot surrounding Slap’s mistreatment of the long-suffering Tickle, and, while this tension is initially played for laughs, it concludes with an unexpected poignancy.

But the real focus is on the song and dance routines, as the two seasoned performers share the stage alongside twelve musicians from the WA Youth Jazz Orchestra (WAYJO). The all-original musical numbers range in style from jaunty show tunes to haunting and heartfelt ballads, showcasing both the vocal range of iOTA and the skills of the young jazz ensemble.

Last seen by Fringe World audiences in the 2017 show Average Joe, iOTA consistently impresses, whether he’s banging out big band belters or artfully emoting in a Tom Waits-style rasp. (Be warned: this show is loud, and the audience is often exposed to the full force of both the brass instruments and iOTA’s powerful pipes.)

The flirty moves and fancy footwork of Leonard as Tickle often steal the show, as he manoeuvres with surprising grace and impressive agility while wearing his gimp mask and booty shorts.

An innovative collaboration between Summer Nights, The Kabuki Drop and WAYJO, Slap and Tickle is a great opportunity to appreciate the local talents of Perth’s emerging jazz artists. With all you could want from a fringe performance – vaudeville high kicks, theatrical tumbling, confetti, drag, and jazzy tunes – Slap and Tickle provides a fun and funny start to the 2018 Fringe World season.

Slap and Tickle runs until 3 February 2018.

Pictured top: Russell Leonard (Tickle) and iOTA (Slap).

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Calendar, February 18, January 18, Music, Performing arts, Theatre

Fringe World: Slap and Tickle

27 January, 30 January – 3 February 2018 @ State Theatre Centre of WA •
Presented by The Blue Room Theatre Summer Nights, The Kabuki Drop and WAYJO•

Featuring Helpmann award winning singer, actor and composer, iOTA with a 12-piece orchestra, this world premiere co-production between The Kabuki Drop and WAYJO and is a show within a show. The piece takes the trope of the Fringe variety formula and turns it on its head in an irreverent and touching exploration of friendship and artistic camaraderie. Tickets from fringeworld.com.au, https://www.ptt.wa.gov.au/venues/state-theatre-centre-of-wa/whats-on/slap-and-tickle/

More info: https://wayjo.com/events/slap-and-tickle/
Email: admin@wayjo.com

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