Three hot new works, contemporary and historical classics, quirky visual cult hits and works in development made for an exhilarating year of storytelling and groundbreaking new theatre at The Street.
Genius, rebels, visionaries, the cast-off, the lost, and broken-hearted speaking truth to power, these works cut straight to the conversations we ought to be having – social justice, dehumanisation of people now, feminism, refugees, and mental health. Unique characters and distinctive worlds were brought to life by our award-winning artists and creative teams doing what they do best.
Our year began with a myth re-imagined in Icarus, a powerful, one-man wordless narrative of the journey of a refugee and a story of war and displacement. Ibsen’s classic that shocked the world centuries ago delighted all in a sequel marvellously realised with a confident Nora knocking at the door in A Doll’s House, Part 2. An inspired director and pack of skilled actors explored humanity in Metamorphosis, an adaptation of Kafka’s novella. A new perspective on youth mental health stories in Fragments had us talking. Flight Memory drew us into a brilliant, intellectual and captivating story and feast of visual and sound worlds inspired by the Australian inventor of the Black Box voice recorder.
Throughout the year, the music kept on playing with an eclectic mix of contemporary, jazz and world music and master musicians on our stages. Sports satirists and comedians kept on coming to keep us laughing and we continued our partnership with Canberra Comedy Festival.
Continuing to work closely with our community and in partnerships, our collaboration with Defence Science Technology supported the commissioning of a new narrative song cycle. We hosted A Night in the Arm of Kafka with ANU and the Embassies of the Czech Republic and the Federal Republic of Germany, and explored cultural diversity in the ACT for Stories from the Future with Diversity Arts Australia. During ACT Mental Health Month, young people were given voice with next gen actors making their professional debut on The Street stage.
Over the year, we supported new creative developments in theatre-making including Helen Machalias’s adaptation of People Might Hear You and the commissioning of David Atfield’s Clean. We’re excited to be fully producing several 2019 First Seen works in next year’s calendar including Milk by Dylan Van Den Berg and Breaking The Castle by Peter Cook.
2019 has been a thrilling year for The Street, and we’re glad to have shared it with you. Explore the memories and feels.
Composed by Sandra France Libretto by Alana Valentine
The world premiere of Flight Memory, our last production of the year, took us and our audiences to great heights with a narrative song cycle of Australian scientific endeavour.
We collaborated with Defence Science Technology and commissioned ARIA nominated composer Sandra France and Helpmann award winning librettist Alana Valentine to tell the sometimes frustrating, sometimes elating, ultimately triumphant story of visionary Australian scientist David Warren and an indisputable Australian genius invention – the Black Box Flight Recorder. Directed by Caroline Stacey with a celebrated creative team of designers, Imogen Keen, Nik Pajanti and Kimmo Vennonen, Flight Memory featured multi award-winning vocalists Michelle Nicolle [2017 Bell Award Winner Jazz Vocal Album], Leisa Keen and Liam Budge together with an exciting line-up of Canberra’s extraordinary jazz musicians
Written by Maura Pierlot
From award-winning Canberra based author Maura Pierlot, Fragments came to our stage giving voice to young people during ACT Mental Health Month. A sell-out season.
Directed by Shelly Higgs with an ensemble of next-gen Canberra actors, eight interrelated dramatic stories revealed youth mental health issues today.
Prithvi Saxena as Vijay
Photo Credit: Creswick Collective
Adapted by Steven Berkoff
“I’ll become who I am” Gregor Samsa
Audiences in the intimate Street Two theatre watched closely as sticky transitions transpired between the bizarre and the everyday, the comical and the disturbing, while Gregor, played by Dylan Van Den Berg, changed outwardly but still had the human capacity for thought, language and social feeling.
The Street’s production of Metamorphosis was given the gong at the 2019 Canberra Critics Circle Awards Ceremony recognising the outstanding direction by Adam Broinowski in bringing Berkoff’s adaptation of Franz Kafka’s classic to our stage, with a brilliant ensemble featuring Christopher Samuel Carroll, Stefanie Lekkas, Ruth Pieloor, and Dylan Van Den Berg and designers Imogen Keen, Kimmo Vennonen and Andrew Meadows.
A DOLL’S HOUSE, PART 2
Written by Lucas Hnath
“I’m not that same person who left through that door” – Nora
15 years after slamming the door on her marriage, leaving her husband and children behind, Nora comes back to the Helmer house.
We brought to the stage the Tony-award nominated 2017 Broadway hit A Doll’s House, Part 2 and the characters we thought we knew from Henrik’s Ibsen’s 19th century ground-breaking masterpiece that inspired Lucas Hnath to write a sequel. With direction from Caroline Stacey, one of Australia’s favourite stand-up comedians Rachel Berger stepped into the role of Nora with PJ Williams as husband Torvald, Lily Constantine as daughter Emmy and Camilla Blunden as housekeeper Anne Marie.
Created and performed by Christopher Samuel Carroll
Playful, wordless, evocative, audiences went on a journey with physical-theatre virtuoso Carroll in Icarus, his modern-day tale of escape and flight, questioning the difference between recklessness and courage when impossible odds are the only chance you have.
We programmed good stories and fantastic puppetry for a different type of live performance to emotionally and visually excite our Canberra audiences of different ages.
THE TWITS came to Canberra just in time for the July school holidays. This classic Roald Dahl story full of Twittery mischief adapted by Spare Parts Puppet Theatre was the perfect show to encourage children to reflect on their treatment of others.
Yes, we put a sponge on our stage. From the creator of the award winning international hits The Adventures of Alvin Sputnik: Deep Sea Explorer and It’s Dark Outside, The Last Great Hunt brought BRUCE to life for us to witness the incredible comedic story of his life as a self-proclaimed hero-cop turned novelist-astronaut.
CANBERRA COMEDY FESTIVAL
We entered our third year in partnership with the Festival to present comedians from around the world on our stages – from close to home Frankie McNair to Paul Foot from the UK to Baby Wants Candy from the USA. We welcomed Koori comedy and the return of the popular family friendly event with a line-up of favourites with no swearing at all.
This mirco-festival continues to amuse with featured a season of improvised music, comedy, and genre shows by Alchemists Improvisation, BnC Theatre, Chrysalis Theatre and Lightbulb Improv.
CANBERRA INTERNATIONAL IMPROVISATION FESTIVAL
Founded by Improv ACT, the festival once again presented on our stages an eclectic mix of the most exciting new works from around the globe of unscripted drama, music theatre, experimental and physical theatre.
We welcomed a diverse mix of international and Australian artists, creating music experiences up close and personal. Legends came, much-loved and critically acclaimed musicians returned, milestones celebrated and new recordings launched by young and established Canberran musos.
Not to be forgotten, the intimate Liberty Bell launch by Canberra singer/songwriter Sebastian Field in our foyer, Eishan Ensemble led by Tar player Hamed Sadeghi fusing contemporary Persian classical music with modern jazz, New York-based Joan as Policewoman rocking the stage, the mix of visuals and music from songwriter David Bridie, story-telling from master oud player Joseph Tawadros, solo performances by Tim Freedman and Ed Kuepper and an ANZAC Day performance from Canberra-based singer/songwriter Fred Smith and his band.
The Street continued to bring jazz artists from the capital, around Australia and overseas together with Canberra’s dedicated followers.
Duo Kimba and Ryan came in summer and over our winter months and into spring, Australian musicians Marc Hannaford, Carl Dewhurst, Matt McMahon, Con Campbell, Chris Johnstone, Brendan Clarke, Mark Sutton, Ben Winkelman, Tamara Murphy and Gai Bryant heated up our stages and audiences with their ensembles, small and large, and musical mix of original compositions and instruments.
TALKS, WORDS AND BIG IDEAS
Provocative ideas and words from around Australia created great conversations and events including Paul Kelly’s Love is Strong as Death launch and the Minding the Gap: Bridging the Indigenous Divide q & a with Jacinta Nampijinpa Price. We said ‘Hello’ to Carol Finlay with Ginger Gorman, and heard from Tim Ferguson about his amazing ‘fast life on wheels’ and celebrated World Voice Day with Wild Voices’ Dianna Nixon. Internet darlings Christian Hull and Tanya Hennessey shared salacious stories and life advice and A Rational Fear came onto our stage for a ‘Mid-Winter Bore’ with a gaggle of comedians and political insiders to savage the news
ACT artists were invited to explore cultural diversity for Stories from the Future with Diversity Arts Australia. Our partnership with The ACT Writers Centre continued with NEW TERRITORY: adventures in arts writing, a program committed to developing a deeper conversation about the arts, why we make art, how do we engage in art, and to what end through the development of arts writers, thinkers and provocateurs of the future.
Our Meet The Makers events programmed alongside productions gave an insight into the productions including conversations with directors, writers, performers and designers.
FIRST SEEN: NEW WORKS IN PROGRESS
We maintained our commitment to offering Canberra audiences the opportunity to be part of our creative process helping us progress performance works to production-ready stage. Three works were developed and shown this year, immersed in personal stories and journeys, youth mental health and life-changing illness: The Outsider by Peter Cook, Milk by Dylan Van Den Berg and Zebracorn by Hanna Cormick.
During the year, we supported the development of exciting new works from theatre makers including People Might Hear Us, Fragments, El Ticho, Lysistrata and Clean, a major Street commission and recipient of a Capital Equality grant.
The Street’s ongoing program for Canberra theatre makers presented masterclasses for artists and non-artists to develop skills in acting with Scott Williams and music theatre now with New York based David Scisco and Melbourne based Vidya Makan and the process of making new work with The Last Great Hunt’s Chris Isaacs and the language of the body with Christopher Samuel Carroll.
We were delighted to open up our spaces for special events from our creative community including this year’s book launch of Nigel Featherstone’s Bodies of Men.