Monday, 13 February 2012

Cowboys in Australia

I often complain a bit – talk about how there should be more opportunity, more support for young artists and companies. I often think that it should made a lot easier for us to access the levels of infrastructure that we could really benefit from. And I do believe all of this – of course I do – and I will generally do all I can to help people to make things happen, because often making things happen can be hard and not a lot is often done to make it easier.

However, there are benefits to being young and not wrapped up in infrastructure or three year plans, even though most of the time that’s what I’d quite like. I was in a conversation with a friend of mine the other day, Mr Liam Evans Ford who runs Sprite and Factory Theatre companies. I described myself as a bit of a cowboy, not because I ride horses and herd cattle, but because I am still at that stage where you can kind of do stuff just because you want to. Sometimes it doesn’t have to make massive financial or career development sense, sometimes it’s okay to do it just because it’s fun.

In the early hours of Friday morning I will drive Veronica Hare to Manchester airport. She is flying out to Australia to perform at the Adelaide Fringe Festival. She is performing William for The Flanagan Collective. Joe Hufton is going too, to perform The Fastest Train To Anywhere also with FlanCol. Jethro Compton, Dominic Allen and Serena Manteghi are going out for Belt Up Theatre, produced by Jethro, to perform Outland by Dom and The Boy James by me. Damsel Sophie is already there, she left last week, to perform her new cabaret, HOT in Melbourne and then Adelaide. Sam Krylonksy, who is normally ASM at York Theatre Royal is going out too, she’s working as a Stage Manager out there.

Between all that, I have three shows that I’ve written and one which I’ve directed. Two shows with The Flanagan Collective, two shows with Belt Up Theatre and one with Damsel Sophie. What’s perfect is that regardless, the whole thing will probably be very fun. Why? Because we get to go to Autraslia and pretend that it’s work. Yes, of course, it is work and we will all work hard – but it is work in Australia. For people our age that it pretty cool. It’s quite cool to say ‘Sorry, I can’t do that day, I’ll be working in Australia.’

I’m only going out for two weeks to catch up with everything. But even that sounds cool, heading off to Oz just to ‘catch up with everything.’

So a bunch of us who are normally to be found in cheap pubs will be lauding it in the height of Australian summer. We will make shows and perform them, we will meet new people – people who we would never meet in London, York or Edinburgh – and we will have new conversations about new things. We’ll meet new artists and watch new shows. We’ll probably come back with lots of new ideas and we will probably have conversations which start ‘When I spent some time working in Australia…’ and you will have permission to slap us.

So even though a lot of the time some of us get sick of working from our bedrooms and pretending they are actually an office, as much as some of us moan about rehearsing in living rooms and making costumes out of our old clothes, despite the fact that all of us don’t have a three year plan or a neatly written list of touring contacts – we do get to go and play in Australia for a little bit. It feels like a treat.

If you read this and you are at the Adelaide Fringe then drop us a line…we’ll be the white, pasty British kids, giddy on Australian sunshine.