Review:​ ​Karla​ ​Hillam​ ​Spreads​ ​Her​ ​Wings​ ​(and​ ​many​ ​talents)​ ​in​ ​​The Ugly​ ​Duckling

You think you know the story of The Ugly Duckling but you haven’t seen anything quite as FABULOUS, charming and energetic as Karla Hillam’s Melbourne Fringe Festival solo debut of The Ugly Duckling at The Butterfly Club.

Like so many contemporary and millennial-driven upgrades to classic tales (remember the Selena Gomez or Hilary Duff Cinderella spins?), The Ugly Duckling upgrades this underdog story with pop songs, witty humour and celebrity impersonating cameos.  Duckie, played by Hillam, is a naive and twitty duck eager to spread her wings and earn fame and glory.  Sadly she strives to follow the likes of recent social media queen, Kim Kardashian.  But we see the bumps and bruises Duckie endures as she encounters opportunities with big heart and unwarranted judgement.

Hillam knocks out a cracking (eh... ‘quacking’) performance.  Throughout The Ugly Duckling, Hillam  brilliantly showcases her multi-faceted talent as she waddles across the stage to undergo numerous costume changes, slipping in out of multiple character impersonations, belting out stellar melodies to challenging pop hits and dancing all the right (and silly) moves directed by choreographer Brett Fisher.  Hillam proves she has fierce stage presence.

Crowd-pleasing songs from today’s pop performers like Taylor Swift weave in and out of throughout the story.  Most memorable is the duet between Hillam and musical director and accompanist, Andrew Kroenert as they sing Taylor Swift’s ‘You Belong With Me’.  The resonating harmonies and buzzing chemistry between Kroenert and Hillam’s characters earn an uproarious applause after the number.

The Ugly Duckling also pays tribute to some iconic songstresses from years past and present.  Making impersonating cameo appearances are celebrities like Jessie J, Whitney Houston and Dolly Parton who offer absurd and often cruel comments.  The audience could define these comments as a means of bullying but Hillam’s facial reactions and immediate responses make light of the situation.  Good on ya, Duckie!

Overall, the show is entertaining, light-hearted  and witty.  If this performance serves Hillam as a tool to introduce her work ethic and talent to the Melbourne performance community, she has certainly left her mark.  

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The Ugly Duckling is part of The Butterfly Club’s curated Melbourne Fringe Festival season and runs until Sunday, September 24th at The Butterfly Club. For more information and to purchase tickets, visit www.butterflyclub.com.au or call 03 9663 8107

 

Review: North of Eight Finds Its Voice By Presenting a High Level of Creative Maturity in John Corwin’s ‘Navy Pier’

What happens when you steal someone else’s life for the chance at success?  Ensemble company North of Eight presents John Corwin’s heartbreaking play, Navy Pier at The Courthouse Hotel with creatively compelling maturity through a complicated web of deception, distrust and despair.

Navy Pier is a touching story about two aspiring writers desperate to find their own voice.  While attending university together, Kurt and Martin share with each other their creative writing ideas.  Kurt is the social stunner; the magnetic force with all the ladies and an appealing physique of perfection.  On the other hand, Martin struggles to fit in in social settings but finds contentment in his relationship with girlfriend Iris.  However, when Martin writes a winning piece for The New Yorker’s latest competition, Kurt takes matters into his own hands to keep himself on top.

As a fine selection for its first season, ensemble company North of Eight elegantly captures the dynamic and intricate weaving story elements resounding throughout Corwin’s brilliant writing.  Director Phoebe Ann Taylor creative navigates the actors to weave in between, in front and behind audience members forcing the audience to be confronted with such tragic circumstantial outcomes.   A pull of contrasting emotions electrify the room as relationships evolve quickly (like the passionate  romance between Kurt and Iris, captivatingly portrayed by Pat Moonie and Jessica Stanley) or progress slowly (like the stumbling, awkward beginnings that shape between Martin and Liv, portrayed by Mark Salvestro and Siobhan Connors).  

The play also produces a sprinkling of subtle details found in the set and sound design. The floor is littered with ripped and stained pages from literary books.  The room’s pillar that sits in the middle of the floor becomes a natural divide between the narratives as well as a device to influence playful interactions between lovers.  Fading in and out of transitions between acts melodramatic music, resembling that of such 90s television series Dawson’s Creek or the 1990s movie Reality Bites provides the audience a moment to digest and reflect on the bitter reality of the emotional turmoil mounting in amongst them.

True to an ensemble piece, it is hard to say who gives the stand-out performance.  Moonie portrays Kurt with both a suave, righteous air coupled with a magnetic likeability that even through the revealing of his deceptive choices one cannot help but for some empathy for his circumstances.  Similarly, Mark Salvestro carefully balances a portrayal of Martin not solely as a victim but as a fighter who just wants the taste of victory to validate himself for a moment.  Connors and Stanley equally give breath to Corwin’s female counterparts as shining examples to the phrase, ‘Behind every good man is a great woman.’

Introduced to high levels of quality performances from North of Eight, one cannot help but wonder what more will they produce?  And when?  I am look forward to seeing the development of North of Eight as they continue to produce mature, thought-provoking and heartfelt stories that captivate and introduce audiences to profound writing from international sources.  

Navy Pier runs Tuesday through Saturday until 2 September at The Courthouse Hotel in North Melbourne.  Tickets can be purchased through the North of Eight website at www.northofeight.com.au.

 

New Quarter. New Challenges. New Series.

Hello!  It’s been ages, hasn’t it?  Here is my humble explanation as to where BCauseARTS has been in the last few months:

Approximately three months ago, I embarked on the most unique opportunity offered to me: a chance to travel to several countries (i.e. the Balkan countries) to ignite my global artistic curiosity.  For those unfamiliar with the Balkan countries, the region includes countries like Greece, Albania, Montenegro, Bosnia, Serbia and Croatia. (I visited ALL but Serbia)  I wanted to find answers to questions like: What is the influence of art to the community in other countries?  How is art received in other cultures?  What are artists doing in other countries that I haven’t seen Australian artists pursuing (creatively and economically)?  Are artists in other countries also struggling to connect with audiences? 

Questions like these haunted me throughout the adventure.  However, I am happy to report that my curiosity has led to interesting, observational conclusions.  Which now inspires me to follow up my experiences with research.  Were my observational conclusions correct, or were they merely short-lived and misunderstood personal experiences?

Through sharing my experiences with friends, I have focused my desire to research in the following question: how has business ideals within western culture shaped today’s of art and culture sector as we know it?

Along the way, I would like to share my discoveries in the hopes that we can learn together.  This new blog series will be called Did Curiosity Kill the Cat?.  I encourage criticisms, praise, questions or even concerns from readers throughout the series. Please send feedback and dialogue.  Let us share, learn and grow as a community of artists and art supporters!

Creating is about sharing ideas, sharing aesthetics, sharing what you believe in with other people.”                                                                                                                                       - Shepard Fairey, Contemporary Street Artist

My Final Day @ Adelaide Fringe Festival Proved There is Power Behind the Arts

On my last full day at the Adelaide Fringe Festival, I was delighted to, once again, be reminded of the power behind the arts. 

My day began early at the Holden Street Theatre where I was joined by a group of secondary students to see the award-winning Irish Theatre production, SCORCH.  This dramatic story, written by Stacey Gregg, tells of a gender-curious teen and her encounter with first love.  Performer, Amy McAllister playfully and enthusiastically maneuvers across the circular stage, in between the seated audience, to create a powerfully gripping and intimate setting for such a personal story.   The audience, especially the students, remain so still and glued to the ends of their seats as the story portrays heartbreak, joy, child-like curiosity and disappointment throughout.

It is no wonder this powerful production has gained the recognition it has since 2016.  SCORCH is an important story on such an impactful topic about growing up, overcoming heartbreak and rising above hatred and prejudices.

In the late afternoon, I caught the most terrific act of youth circus performers from a local circus school in a performance called TRY AGAIN.  Performers between the ages of 12-20 performed challenging circus tricks including acrobatic silks, contemporary dance, juggling and more.  The show was a behind the scenes depiction of a day in the life of their training – showcasing the amount of discipline it takes to maintaining fitness, build trust between partners and trying again after a fall.  

I was most delighted to see many families witnessing this inspiring performance.  Parents were beaming from ear to ear, and kids’ eyes grew big in amazement.  I hope they left as inspired as I did – the future of the arts appears to be carried in very capable hands!

Lastly, I’ve always enjoyed learning a new language, and I was thrilled to get a unique experience at the Minnesota Fat.  NAUGHTY HANDS: SIGNS OF LOVE, LUST AND INSULTS teaches audiences all the naughty words you won’t find in the Auslan sign language dictionary!  Hilariously led by the bold personality of Auslan teacher and Deaf community legend, Barry Priori (who is assisted by an interpreter for those who are NOT hearing impaired) selects audience members throughout the evening asking them to guess the ‘sign’ for a selection of naughty words.  Words like ‘masturbation’ and ‘stripper’ were my favourite attempts.  Of course the most guesses were incorrect, and Barry was humble enough to adjust our hands. 

This performance was so laugh out loud!  Most endearing was being within the company of both deaf and able hearing audience members who shared in laughs and applause.  NAUGHTY HANDS proves itself to be a spectacular evening of raucous behaviour and inclusive energy that bonds communities together.

The Adelaide Fringe Festival ends on Sunday, 19 March 2017!  For more information about these productions, or to purchase tickets to final performances, please visit the Adelaide Fringe Festival website.

On My Eighth Day @ Adelaide Fringe Festival There Was Life

Life.  It’s a rollercoaster!  My eighth day at the Adelaide Fringe Festival touched on points in life where we all experience highs and lows.  It was a gentle reminder to enjoy the ride of life and not take a single moment for granted.

What if your life was presented to you in a box?  Would you open it?  In the delightful theatrical production, THE PACKAGE, a creative team of theatre artists from Alice Springs addresses socially-hidden subjects of old-age and death. 

The story evolves around an elderly woman as she approaches her final moments of life.  She travels through a personal journey presented through packages that are delivered by magical spirits.  What’s inside these packages takes the woman back in time to remind her of the high and low moments throughout her enriched life.

Technically speaking, THE PACKAGE captures the mystery, innovation and wonder of live theatre. Using theatrical elements such as mask, puppetry, live music and animation, THE PACKAGE provides quality family entertainment.  However, be warned that the production does make sexual references at one point, which some parents might not find suitable for their children.    

Speaking of packages, as an artist takes an idea to then transform it into a show, sometimes simplicity is the best way to package it.  In HUMPTY DUMPTY DADDY, storyteller, Joel Clapham regales his experiences with his own father who inspires him to be the kind of father he is today.  A simply honest and raw approach to performing, Clapham simply stands on a bare stage that is dressed only with a single microphone and two small stools on either side of him for a bottle of a sweat rag.  As a bonus, Clapham openly discusses his personal bouts with depression and anxiety, which his father also experienced. 

Clapham’s performance is neither standup nor a theatrical experience; however, his storytelling is charming and gripping.  In the end, I couldn’t help but deeply appreciate his authentic spirit.

Lastly, for all those women who have a ‘complicated’ relationship with their mother, catch all of your thoughts exposed in the raw retrospective that is MATROPHOBIA.  Presented by Daughters Collective, MATROPHOBIA highlights the sadly truthful and extremely accurate fear of one day becoming a clone to your mother.  Why torture yourself to become a woman who unashamedly sings at the top of her lungs with a voice so out of pitch?   Why obsess over organization of the household to the point that every little detail is taken care of without a flaw?  Why lose a sense yourself over time for the sake of other people?  Why?  Because, as a mom, it’s what you do. 

Uniquely presented and acutely thought provoking, MATROPHOBIA highlights the cyclical growth women experience throughout life: from spoiled, ungrateful bitches who snicker at moms for being uncool, to then desperately wanting to become a mom one day.  Over all, MATROPHOBIA is a celebration of womanhood that reminds us that through disagreements between mothers and daughters, we truly cannot help but love moms unconditionally and infinitely.

For more information on these shows, or to purchase tickets, please visit the Adelaide Fringe Festival website.

Confirmed that Live Theatre has Power Beyond Borders During My Seventh Day @ Adelaide Fringe Festival

Allowing myself to be open to be transformed by expereinces from art, day 7 at the Adelaide Fringe Festival became a demonstration of the power of live performance. 

For instance, how can we actually measure the power behind words?  How far do stories travel, and for how long?  Can a writer truly be present with his/her words without physically being present?

What are the consequences to conformity? 

These questions, and so much more, appeared in my mind as I witnessed the beautifully written play WHITE RABBIT RED RABBIT by Iranian playwright Nassim Soleimanpour.

A performance that is genuine and simply breathtaking, WHITE RABBIT RED RABBIT requires no rehearsal and no preparation (minus the setting of two glasses of water and a vile filled with an unknown substance) beforehand.  A single actor, or ‘reader’ (last night featured Adelaide Fringe Festival staff member and actress Nadia Rossi), is handed the script in a sealed envelop at the start of the show.  He or she is requested to simply read the script in front of the audience.

WHITE RABBIT RED RABBIT offers freedom to the Iranian playwright who is restricted to travel outside his home country.  In fact, in order for a man to be issued a passport, he must enlist in the Iranian military for 2 years.  Unwilling to take this step before travelling, Soleimanpour sets his words free to the world travelling on his behalf.  Where the play ends up, if the words will even be read, or even listened to, is completely unknown to Soleimanpour. 

So many hidden messages appear in this beautiful play.  After witnessing its power, I no longer wonder why the play has been translated into 20 different languages and has been performed over 1,000 times!

Simply and elegantly written by South Australian playwright Emily Steel, 19 WEEKS is another heart-wrenching and emotional piece of theatre.  19 WEEKS showcases an honest, intimate and the often difficult decision making many modern women make regarding the balance act of honing their femininity, defining their own moral compass and choosing between their own life or the life of a child. 

Brilliantly staged in an unconventional space – the indoor pool at the Adina Apartment Hotel at Treasury – performer, Tiffany Lyndall Knight swims, splashes and submerges herself in and out of the water during poignant, dramatic and emotionally driven moments throughout the story. 

As an audience member, the most rewarding moment was discovering that my emotional reaction did not stand alone.  By the end of the performance, a ripple of sniffles and subtle movements to wipe away teary eyes trickled throughout the intimate room. 

For more information on these productions, or to purchase tickets, please visit the Adelaide Fringe Festival website.

 

Day 6 With a Bunch of Misfits @ Adelaide Fringe Festival

I decided to spend my sixth in Adelaide enjoying a slower pace.  With the majority of my day free, I explored some of Adelaide’s infamous wine regions.  However, while there, I couldn’t fully escape the Fringe Festival – I met some lovely people at the vineyards who were also traveling through Adelaide and we sparked a conversation about the best stuff to see at the Fringe.  I love advocating for the arts!

Before the day ended, I was fortunate enough to catch two Fringe events that were outstanding and fun!

THE TRAVELING SISTERS is a fun, spunky variety show performed by Brisbane artists Ell Sachs, Laura Trenerry and Lucy Fox.  Together they sing, play guitar and impersonate a variety of interesting misfit characters during a 55-minute set.  Some of my favourite misfits included a giant fat lady and an odd couple eager to celebrate anyone’s birthday by distributing pork pies.  I found this show charming, silly and fun as the sisters left me with a massive smile on my face that remained for several hours after the show. 

In the mid-1990s, director Danny Boyle created the cult-classic film, Trainspotting based on the novel by Irvine Welsh.  Scottish theatre company In Your Face Theatre now brings the gritty story about a group of heroin addicts coping with the economic depression in Edinburgh to the stage in TRAINSPOTTING LIVE.  Living up to their name, In Your Face Theatre present a show that really emerges their audiences into the middle of the action on stage. 

Staged in a unique venue located in the heart of Adelaide’s CBD, TRAINSPOTTING submerges its audience, with the use of strobe lighting, haze and glow sticks, into the underground world of raves and misfit angst.   Before the start of the show, there are signs posted everywhere that warn the audience the use of these theatrical effects, plus the use of heavy adult language, sexual references and drug use. 

The most impactful element throughout the performance is the actors’ ability to include the audience within the story: they naturally converse, stumble and share (or rather smear) costumes and props all over audience members.  This demonstrates to the audience that there is no escaping the dark, grotesque and aggressive execution of this performance and the realness of this consequential drug world.

Exciting news: TRAINSPOTTING LIVE is touring Australia!  The production will next stop in Melbourne for a month-long residency at fortyfivedownstairs.  Then, they will stop in Brisbane before making its way back the UK.  Do yourself a favour by making sure you see at least one of these performances in an Australian city near you!

For more information about these productions, or to purchase tickets, please visit the Adelaide Fringe Festival website.

Spectacular Highlights (and some low-lights) From My Fifth Day @ the Adelaide Fringe Festival

Day five at Adelaide Fringe, and the experiences continue to impress.  Here’s a breakdown of highlights from my day:

Who says artists can’t have it all?  South Australian superstar, Joanne Hartstone proves that artists can do it all – perform, produce and direct multiple events within a festival season – in her one-woman show THE GIRL WHO JUMPED OFF THE HOLLYWOOD SIGN.

THE GIRL WHO JUMPED OFF THE HOLLYWOOD SIGN gives Hartstonea platform to showcase her multi-talented capabilities.: not only does she superbly embody the character Evelyn Edmonds, a young Hollywood wanna-be starlet, but she also sings classic jazz tunes from the 1940s.  With a voice that sounds similar to that of the greats Judy Garland and Jean Harlow, Hartstone commands the attention of her audience throughout the nostalgic performance.

If you are looking to support a solid South Australian artist who gives audiences bang for their buck, I highly recommend catching Joanne Hartstone in THE GIRL WHO JUMPED OFF THE HOLLYWOOD SIGN.  Likewise, I recommend some of her other festival events: WE ARE ANONYMOUS, BLINK and NUCLEAR FAMILY, which were reviewed earlier this week.

Poking fun at one’s own culture as a way of building an understanding between two different cultures comes with boundaries and risks.  However, Angela Yeoh’s RUNNY MONEY finds that balance graciously while paying homage to her own roots in Chinese culture.

Throughout the show, Angela sheds light on quirky stereotypes of the Chinese culture.  According to the performance, Chinese people maintain a strong relationship with money and business, always trying to outsmart the next man with a big a idea.  It is emphasized that the importance of work is passed down to children at a very young age, and often times education is centered around business development.  At one point, Angela introduces a funny plastic machine (made in China, of course) that has the ability to scan the audience’s personal possessions on the spot in order to predict its value.  Based on these values, we receive our economic social status and then are given certain privileges.  

That is only one of many hilarious and interactive moments presented by Angela Yeoh in RUNNY MONEY.  Without giving too much more away, I highly recommend anyone to see this hilarious comedy showcase.  It is stressed by Angela that the work is still in the creative development phase; however, this performance has a solid foundation with potential for greatness!

Speaking of comedy, award-winning character act, Neal Portenza, returns to Adelaide Fringe to present a new work in development, which allows him to be as zany, spontaneous and interactive as ever before.  While making up skits and trying out new punch lines on the spot, performer, Josh Ladgrove showcases his ability to think quickly and fearlessly stumble through authentic comedy routines.  His genuine approach to his audience and comedy is a shining example of his own philosophy, “Art is not art if there is a chance for destruction.”

Unfortunately, not everyone understands Ladgrove's comedy.  During last night’s performance, a heckler kept egging Ladgrove to erupt in anger and break focus from the performance.  Instead, like a comic champ, Ladgrove gracefully accepted the annoying heckler, stating that he appreciated their random spouts of negative feedback.  The show continued with the heckler remaining in the audience until the end.

I’ve seen Neal Portenza several times at both Adelaide Fringe Festival and the Melbourne International Comedy Festival, and each performance is different.  Never disappointing.  Looking forward to catching him again at this years; Melbourne International Comedy Festival!

Unfortunately, not every event at the festival is an absolute winner.  As a fan of American playwright, Sara Ruhl, I was excited to see a performance of LATE: A COWBOY SONG presented by Lady Like Theatre Collective.  However, this production left me slightly disappointed at its cookie-cutter and lazy interpretation.

As a playwright who challenges gender roles and social norms throughout all her work, Ruhl pushes characters and environments to the edge.   Unfortunately, I didn’t see much edginess in this performance.

Amongst the many elements within the play’s writing that were missed, I did find a few choices that worked: an acoustic guitar was nicely played by the cowboy.  Using imagination and creativity for characters riding real horses the male actor is used to symbolise the horse. 

However, here are some of the missed elements, or elements that need more development, that were under-performed in this production: there was a strong lack of understanding traditional role playing between the characters; there was a lack of growth in the relationship between the cowboy and the leading lady; there also was a lack of conflict within the relationships that was spoken in between the words, especially between the cowboy and the husband. 

Hopefully, this creative team keeps working on LATE: A COWBOY SONG.  I would love to give it another chance to see it develop deeper.

For more information about these shows, or to purchase tickets, please visit the Adelaide Fringe Festival website.

Day Four: Witnessing the Significance of the Adelaide Fringe Festival

Day four was a day full of theatre events at the Adelaide Fringe Festival.  Unexpectedly, it became a day that demonstrated the significance of honouring festivals like the Adelaide Fringe – because it’s about celebrating open access for both artists and audiences.   

Being an open access festival, Adelaide Fringe does not act as a curator but instead allows any artist or group with a creative idea to participate in being apart of the 31-day arts celebration.  The creative team behind WE ARE ANONYMOUS certainly demonstrates this is a open accessibility for artists.  WE ARE ANONYMOUS is presented by Ink Spot, a South Australian youth theatre company, who showcase their understanding of the world around them.  This show sheds light on recent events surrounding the international phenomenon that was ‘anonymous,’ a group of mover and shakers wanting to change and challenge political norms around the world.  Directed by Joanne Hartstone, WE ARE ANONYMOUS is told through a large ensemble of young performers who work together to reveal the consequences of cyber trafficking.

I was thrilled to see this show because so many of the young performers have budding careers ahead of them.  They all embodied confidence, focus and passion for the story they were sharing with the audience.  Somewhere amongst the group must be the next Geoffrey Rush or Cate Blanchett! 

Another important element the Adelaide Fringe Festival celebrates is the ability for artists to develop new works and or new skills.  MIRROR is a great example.  Performer, Robbie Greenwell presents a series of characters and vignettes that showcase his talent as a character performer.  Charming moments and unique surprises sprinkle throughout the performance.  Most importantly,  at the end of the performance, Greenwell humbly asks the audience to leave feedback from their experience.  It becomes apparent that this performer remains within the creative development process and invites his audience in on the journey.

I am looking forward to seeing a future performance of MIRROR to witness the development.  For those curios about an artist’s creative process, I highly recommend checking out MIRROR. 

BLINK brings artists together in a mentorship capacity, another important element Adelaide Fringe celebrates about the artistic journey.  Established performer and producer, Joanne Hartstone works together with several emerging artists to bring British playwright, Phil Porter’s charming love story BLINK to Australian audiences.

In many ways, this production comes together to demonstrate real innovative creativity.  Performers Lucy Brewer and Gianluca I. Noble demonstrate superb character development; the set design cleverly provides layers to the staging and to the multiple environments within the scenes; music weaves in and out of the story to emphasise romantic comedy elements throughout.

BLINK is a heart warming, charming and delightful piece of theatre that showcases the hard work of emerging talent and a partnership between established and emerging artists at the Adelaide Fringe Festival.

Lastly, connecting audiences to artists in creative and interactive ways is what makes Adelaide Fringe Festival a successful celebration to the community. NUCLEAR FAMILY is a piece of theatre that does just this.  Audiences are invited to choose important outcomes that dictate how NUCLEAR FAMILY unfolds.  As audiences are put together into three groups, they are presented with two or more choices to select from that will decide the fate of the story.  Within these decisions the groups must explain why they have made these decisions, and then witness the revealing consequences.

NUCLEAR FAMILY is a fun, engaging and interesting theatrical event that allows the audience become part of the storytelling.

For more information about each of these performances, or to purchase tickets, please visit the Adelaide Fringe Festival website.

 

 

Captivated by Dynamic Performances During My Third Day @ Adelaide Fringe Festival

During my third day at Adelaide Fringe Festival, I am finding myself inspired, entertained and humbled by such dynamic performances.  Here are some highlights:

First stop brought me back to Holden Street Theatre where British playwright Henry Naylor returns to Adelaide Fringe with ANGEL.  This one-woman show continues Naylor’s exploration into Middle Eastern culture within the current conflicts around Syria and the extremist group ISIS.  ANGEL is a powerful story about heroism and the often times unexpected pathways to one’s vocation.  Protagonist Rehana, or strongly regarded as the Angel, finds herself becoming a member of the resistance regime against ISIS only after the mysterious disappearance of her father.  In a search-and-rescue adventure, Rehana in challenged to become a killer in order to protect herself and other innocent Syrian citizens.  Eventually, the thoughts and actions that keep her and her fellow men and women safe make her grow numb to the idea of being a killer.  She has accepted the fact that she must do what is right and necessary for protection.

Last year, I was fortunate enough to catch Naylor’s ECHOES at the Adelaide Fringe Festival and was excited to see his return.  My expectations were certainly met: his style of writing is unique, and quite difficult to pinpoint its exact specialty; however, I, and many others (at least it is telling within the full house at this performance) find the word captivating.  The structure of his words build an intensity which then brings you back down with funny one-liners as a means of relief.

An additional highlight to ANGEL was performer, Avital Lvova  who carries the story with vigorous passion and intense purpose.  It is clear she has immersed herself inside and out into this character, and is brave enough to encounter the intense environment at every performance.  Even while taking her final bow at the end of the performance it seems at first that she cannot shake herself from away from the role as the same glossy look in her eyes remains well into her third and fourth bows.

Next up was a deliciously spicy and witty cabaret act called FOR LOVE OR MONEY.  I couldn’t help but make reference to the 2014 movie Pitch Perfect as I joyfully watched this delightful act.  All I had on repeat in my head was: ‘It’s aca-licious!’ 

Four brilliantly talented Australian female singers, who make up the female acapella groups Ginger and Tonic, captivated mine and the rest of the audience’s hearts and spirit for a full hour as they sang, danced and Anyone who says that women can’t be funny, that it’s ‘unlady-like’ to be brazen in front of a crowd or has presented a ridiculous argument that states women are not smart will be proven wrong at this hilariously crass and empowering performance.

Ginger and Tonic sing, harmonise, write and record a mixture of original songs, parodies and covers to some of today’s popular radio hits including the genres of rap, R&B and pop.  Furthermore, each lady presents their individual business ventures, demonstrating how the service or product works and why their idea will take off sometime in the near future.  After all, these women, who may be unlucky in love, are now here for money!

Ginger and Tonic present a campy fun-loving and jaw-dropping entertainment that will make you laugh and sing along to the very end.  Click HERE to check out their website and purchase a CD of their original songs!

Across the gardens at the Royal Croquet Club was the highly anticipated return of Casus Circus.  After winning last year’s Adelaide Fringe Festival award for Best Circus or Physical Theatre Performance the Queensland circus troupe brings a new work called DRIFTWOOD.  DRIFTWOOD is the ensemble’s chance to show the audience how far we can challenge the human spirit from all kinds of directions.  By challenging human strength, these performers stack themselves on the shoulders of one another reaching several meters tall and touching the ceiling!  And they don’t limit themselves based on size and abilities – they show the audience that even the shortest stature can bare the weight of the tallest member on their shoulders, or even the weight of all team members!  Mean while, the audience watches carefully, gasping in awe.

It is evident that the biggest strength to this ensemble is its dedication to teamwork.  Every movement performed on stage is strongly supported by one another, assuring the safety and care in each stunt.  There is strong regard for patience, guidance and celebration through each trick, which severely implies that this group perhaps works, breathes and practices these routines daily with one another.

DRIFTWOOD is a majestic and lyrical, gracious return from this brilliant Queensland circus troupe. 

Lastly, within St. Peter’s Cathedral, THE DEVIL’S PASSION enriches its audience with the retelling of the life of Jesus but through the eyes of the devil who is out to disrupt God’s plans.  In an epic performance by Justin Butcher, THE DEVIL’S PASSION captivates the audience through a densely structured script accompanied by simple yet effective lighting and sound effects.   Butcher masterfully dominates the stage as he weaves in and out of each beat throughout the story; he takes a few pauses in between allowing stronger moments to rest easy or uneasy with the audience.  Butcher’s powerful voice resounds like a preacher through little assistance of a wireless microphone; this theatrical feature adds to the production’s overall epic appeal.  It is clearly evident through THE DEVIL’S PASSION that Butcher is a powerhouse performer to reckon with!

For a long fringe performance that stretches to 2 hours with a small interval, THE DEVIL’S PASSION is moving and maintains a long-lasting relationship between theatre and church.  It’s a moving piece that will certainly be remembered long after the curtain closes.

For more information about any of these performances, or to purchase tickets, please visit the Adelaide Fringe Festival website HERE.  

Day 2 @ Adelaide Fringe Festival: Dynamic Performances Ensued

Day 2 was certainly a busy one!  If I may quickly say thank you to all who came to my workshop FOCUSING YOUR FINAL FESTIVAL DAYS at the Fringe Club, your commitment to further your practice is truly inspiring.  Looking forward to watching these independent artists grow in their success!

Now to the heart of the matter: I was thrilled to catch three wonderfully different and well-executed performances at the Adelaide Fringe Festival during day 2. 

First stop was Hannah Cryle’s THE LONELIEST NUMBER at the Spiegeltent in the Gluttony gardens.  This performance showcased her ability to ‘do it all’ within a high-energy circus act.  Accompanied by classically pop-culture hits from the 80s and early 90s, Cryle performed such tricks like hula hooping, lip-syncing and aerial manoeuvres from a chain hanging from the ceiling.  Leaping across the stage Cryle successfully manoeuvres from trick to costume changes to the microphone for important announcements, and not one ounce of her enthusiasm waivers.  The audience was left spellbound!

At the end, Cryle encourages the audience to continue supporting female solo acts throughout the festival by making strong recommendations to other events and engaging on social media with the hashtage ‘ladies perform alone’.   Overall, I found this solo performance heartwarming, delightful and an authentic glimpse into the soul of the performer. 

Next up was MINOR MIRACLES.  Also staged in the Gluttony gardens, Swedish duo, Charlie Caper and Malin Nilsson, perform old-fashioned mind-bending magic and illusion.  Although replicating gypsy-touring acts from the early 1900s, this duo doesn’t use old tricks.  Instead tricks with bubbles, a robot and light bulbs leave the audience scratching our heads in bewilderment.  The most enjoyable aspect about the overall performance was the leitmotif carried throughout.  Performer Charlie Caper somehow kept reemerging his lost bow tie from all sorts of hidden corners of the stage.  Without noticing the bow tie would disappear only to reappear again, but how and when does the transition occur? MINOR MIRACLES brings delightful and quality entertainment to the festival that tickles the heart strings of punters of all ages.

Lastly, down at Holden Street Theatre is HEYSORRYGOTTAGOBYE.  Presented by Claudia Osborne, this endearing tale follows a young man named Wally who suffers from social anxieties.  As Wally travels through the many small environments at a friend’s house party, the audience is taken through the ups and downs of his experience.  Creatively, this production uses such stunning visuals that showcase the integration of live theatre and filmmaking technology.  For example, a simple white sheet spreads tightly across the stage between two black pillars where at a one point a single light projected from behind helps create shadow puppetry; projected in front are scenes stylised like that of a virtual reality game.  More so, in one scene the production’s creativity and innovation continues as a pair of magical characters is introduced and begins to engage with the protagonist.  From where I am seated I can see that the magical characters are giant insects and are made from rubbish materials like soda cans and plastic piping.  Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed witnessing HEYSORRYGOTTAGOBYE for its imaginative design elements, which completed this beautifully simple and touching story.

Day One @ Adelaide Fringe Festival: ALTAR GIRL Sets a 'Fringe' Tone

Though most of day one was spent traveling to the Adelaide Fringe Festival, I am glad I jumped right into a taxi from the airport to see ALTAR GIRL at the Tunnels in the Treasury’s Adina Hotel. 

Written by Hannah Samuel, ALTAR GIRL uses Shakespeare’s Othello as a source of inspiration to set this unique story into the experience of today’s teen pressures.  The production uniquely addresses issues like sexuality, peer pressure, the climb within social hierarchy (particularly the ambition to be ‘queen bee’) and the consequences of maintaining a presence on social media.

The Melbourne-based ensemble cleverly uses Adina Hotel's tunnels throughout the performance.  Expect to be escorted down into an underground dungeon room where fairy-lights and electric candles cast the right amount of shadows.  Techno background music is played loudly enough to slightly strain just be able to hear bits and pieces of conversation (it is turned down enough throughout the meat of the performance).  And splashed across the floor are signs of typical party litter - plastic cups, beer cans, liquor bottles, napkins, etc.  Together, these elements truly immerses punters into the point-of-view of a young person's party environment. 

Furthermore, as the audience is sat literally meters away from the action, everything the actors say and do gets personal.  We feel sympathy, hate and hope for certain characters throughout the story.  Not surprisingly, this production unapologetically pushes the boundaries throughout the performance, and it is awesome!

An added cool feature at the show is the option to purchase a program for a small coin donation, which proceeds from these sales help raise money for an LGBT organisation.  Not only are audiences supporting the arts while attending this production, but also supporting issues young people value!

For an immersive fringe experience, or to step into the shoes of today’s young generation, check out ALTAR GIRL!  

ALTAR GIRL runs until March 11th at Treasury’s Adina Apartment Hotel.  For more information, or to purchase tickets visit www.adelaidefringe.com.au.

Stay Tuned: Reviews from My Experience at Adelaide Fringe Festival Are Coming

I've gotten into this great habit of writing helpful tips and tricks artists can use in developing clear marketing and audience development strategies.  The response and feedback from many have been incredible!  Thank you to all who have sent emails filled with encouraging words.  I am humbled by the feedback!

This week I’m going to change things up.  I am about to return to reporting on some of Australia’s most incredible independently produced artistic events.

I am so excited to be heading back to Adelaide, SA to dive into the wonderful artistic world that is Adelaide Fringe Festival.  Over 10 days, I will bare witness to such innovative, thought-provoking and note-worthy independently produced events including comedy, theatre, circus and art installations and look forward to reporting my discoveries back to you, my amazing followers.  What will I be looking for?  Everything and anything!  Whenever I experience art I find that it's important to maintain an open mind along with a willingness to join the creative ride.  I am looking to be inspired by new ideas, challenged by new perspectives and encouraged to stretch the imagination beyond reality.

Similarly, I hope to invoke curiosity by describing these wonderfully creative ideas presented by some of Australia's most notable independent artists.  Ultimately I hope my followers  feel encouraged to come experience Adelaide Fringe Festival in person.  For a complete experience, I encourage readers to follow events at the Adelaide Fringe Festival through social media - you can find Adelaide Fringe Festival on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

Meantime, stay tuned here because the reviews start this Friday, March 10th!

Disruptive Marketing is a Gift Artists Can Use to Their Advantage

In case you haven't experienced it, marketing is tough!  Thanks to the rapid growth in technology, our increased need for immediacy and the decrease in our attention spans, consumers and patrons are overwhelmed and over saturated with options promising them a better quality of life: everything from products, services and entertainment.  Even the most influential and expert marketing professionals are struggling to define easy, effective marketing strategies for anyone’s use.  We are in the midst of disruption in marketing and self-promotional efforts! 

No wonder many independent artists struggle with marketing and self-promotion for their own artistic practice! 

For a more positive experience managing marketing strategies, there are two ways an artist can embrace the disruption: 1.) Think of the disruption as a gift for your creativity; and 2.) Focus on listening to your audience as they grow with you.    

Instead of feeling overwhelmed and defeated, artists can look at the disruption in marketing as a gift - one that artists can take full advantage of.   This major disruption means that there are no right OR wrong ways to go about grabbing an audience’s attention.  Utilise your unique creativity as much as you use your creative abilities within your arts projects.  Artists challenge audiences by presenting ideas that provoke emotion and intellectual thought or conversation.  Similarly, artists can create marketing content that promotes their work as well as challenges marketing norms.  By focusing on the use of the artist's gift through marketing creative individuals, the artists, may become influential to changes in others' approaches.

Once your marketing strategy is created and executed, start focusing your energy on listening to your audience with intent and purpose.  Be mindful of their reactions.  Ask for genuine feedback from your audience in order to what within the strategy clearly communicated.  Obtain information like was content presented on social media effective; was an advertisement in a publication catchy; did the strategy spark conversation within the community that spread word of mouth?  These critical questions can help focus your future efforts so that your efforts are lighter and your budget stronger. 

Do not feel overwhelmed by the disruption in marketing.  Instead think of it as a gift that allows the artist creative freedom to connect with an audience unbounded by rules.  Once your content is released, switch your focus to listening to your audience for critical feedback.  Knowing what content worked, where it was placed and how it resonated with your audience will save you stress and money for the future.  Feel FREE, have FUN and get FOCUSED about your marketing and audience development strategies today!

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For support on your marketing and audience development strategies, book a FREE 30-minute consult!  Email april(at)bcausearts(dot)com(dot)au.

 

 

 

Tested and Approved: How 100:10:1 Can Help Overcome the Creative Block

Have you ever fallen victim to the creative block?  Creative blocks occur every once in a while and they can be very frustrating to manage.  However, it’s best to remember that creative blocks are there to challenge us to think and act outside our normal routines.

Nick Bentley, a video game designer, came up with a system helps him overcome creative block.  His method, a unique take on personal brainstorming, is called 100:10:1.  Nick understands that all good ideas start from bad ones, which were generated by creative individuals allowing themselves to think quickly and without judgment.  In a day, Nick wrote down 100 vague ideas and eventually narrowed down his thoughts to focus on one idea that triggered his creativity passion.  For more about Nick's story, click HERE to read the inspiring article.

Compelled by curiosity, and the fact that my creativity was currently feeling stifled, I decided to test Nick's method.  The outcome was so empowering that I wanted to share my experience and hopefully inspire other artists to try the method for themselves

Nick focused his process to generate 100 ideas for video games to create.  Instead I allowed my process to act as a stream of consciousness session where the ideas would trigger projects from many directions.  I asked myself: what do I want to achieve in life, career and for artists? 

After roughly 45 minutes, the 'rough' part was overcoming a few pauses in between where I felt my mind had stopped thinking, I accomplished writing 100 ideas.  During the exercise, I noticed that by idea 75 my fingers and brain went into autopilot.  The ideas seemed to pour out of me by surprise!

Next, after taking a small break, I revisited each idea to write one or two sentences behind them - most of the sentences became questions of 'why', 'how' and 'what' the ideas meant.  Some ideas I didn’t know why I wrote them down – though they were strange ideas (i.e. I have no idea as to why I wrote down the word ‘milk’) I was careful not to dismiss them but simply agreed to come back them at a later time. 

From these 100 ideas, I narrowed down a top 10 list based on three key criteria: 1.) which ideas interested me the most; 2.) what would require the least amount of my time to deliver; and 3.) those I felt my audience would benefit from the most.  From these top 10, I fleshed out more details.  And soon, it became apparent which one (1) idea triggered my creativity the most – I couldn’t stop writing down a vision for this idea.  By lunchtime, I felt inspired, motivated and focused to get going on this one creative project.

Everyone will have a different experience to testing this personal brainstorming session.  However, I encourage artists to try the 100:10:1 to overcome their creative blocks.  More importantly, I believe this method can be used to stimulate an artist's most challenging tasks, like figuring out marketing strategies for future events.  One way to use the 100:10:1 method in building marketing strategies is to start creating 100 ideas for social media hashtags and posts.  Similarly, an artist can discover the right words to use in communicating to a target audience by writing down 100 words that relate to an audience demographic.   

We can never have too many helpful tools at our fingertips that help us overcome the creative block.  Try the 100:10:1 method today and discover if it's right for you.  Get creative!  Have fun.  And gain focus for your arts practice.

Why an Artist Should Add Networking to The Marketing Strategy

Did you know that networking is a simple, effective and fun tactic to add to your marketing strategy?  Not only does networking provides a unique platform to execute P2P (people to people) marketing, it also provides opportunities of exposure for your artistic practice.

Below are reasons why I love networking, which I hope inspiring other artists to consider doing more networking in the immediate future:

1.)  Make new friends – Who wants to work with people they DON’T like?  Not me!  Networking is a great opportunity to meet new people and develop new friendships.  And friendships lead to clients/customers.  Even if you don’t earn a direct transaction from a friend, they can certainly introduce you to others who will become your clients/customers. 

2.)  Build your network of contacts – Knowing who is out in the market for your services or products is a important key to building a sustainable practice.  Therefore, the act of building a network is extremely valuable to your artistic future.  Think of this way: building a network is like backing up your computer - it’s a safety mechanism to fall back on when things crash.

3.)  Acquaint yourself with industry resources – Many networking events offer opportunities to meet guest speakers, also known as resources.  Their expertise and advise can inspire new ideas to encourage you to continue on your current path.  Soak in what they have to say, and learn from guest speakers.

4.)  Get out of your space – Like many artists, I too work from home and sometime it can feel like ages since I last changed my environment.  So to help me break up a monotonous routine, I attend networking events.  By placing myself inside a new environment, my creativity is revived!  To receive fresh air allows me to revisit my work with new eyes that help produce effective results.

5.)  Eat and drink good food or beverage – Whether at a café, restaurant, pub or community space venue, often times networking events will provide the opportunity for food and beverage.  So take the opportunity to treat your taste buds to something new!  Not only are your taste buds receiving a workout, but the act of eating and drinking also calms your nerves.  Studies show that eating ‘together’ builds relationships.  Additionally, eating ‘together’ is ‘an opportunity to de-stress, a chance to catch up’ (www.theatlantic.com)Yummy!

6.)  Initiate collaborations – It’s certainly a challenge to work on your own.  But collaborations can alleviate this isolating feeling.  Networking events can kick start a collaboration between you and another artist.  Oh the possibility!

7.)  Practice pitching your art – The art of selling is not easy, nor smooth.  But it can become easier!  Attend a networking event to gain practice in how you tell others about your arts practice.  Yes, more than likely your first attempts will cause you to stumble over words but keep powering through.  Remember, everyone is nervous and shy to talk about themselves!  So be gentle to yourself and power through the first few attempts.  I promise you the pitch gets easier the more its practiced.

8.)  Overcome shyness – Speaking of pitching, many artists do not like to talk about themselves.  Writer and researcher, Susan Cain of Quiet: The Power of Introverts notes, ‘shyness and introversion are not the same thing. Shyness is the fear of negative judgment, and introversion is a preference for quiet, minimally stimulating environments’ (www.blogs.psychcentral.com).  While attending networking events it is important to remember that others are also shy; however, networking events are intended to be safe spaces, free from judgment.  Try busting out of your shell, and inspire others to do the same!

9.)  Find your next client/customer – You never know whom you are going to meet when attending a networking event.  You could potentially meet your next client/customer!  More often than not, someone attending a networking event is looking for help.  Go out and investigate who that person is and how you can be the solution they need!

10.)  Receive feedback about your creativity – Have ideas that you want to explore, or are currently exploring?  Test them out at a networking event!  Discuss your plan of action, or role play a scenario with others within the group and ask for their feedback.  Doing research at a networking event keeps you focused on your practice and can provide real and raw insight for your future.  Remember to express gratitude for the feedback!

Hope to see you at a future networking event!

Three Tips to Focus the Art of Marketing a Festival Event

Many Australian independent artists are in the midst of festival season: Perth is half-way through its Fringe World festival, the Adelaide Fringe Festival begins approximately in three weeks, and the Melbourne International Comedy Festival commences in about two months.  What an exciting time!

I hope that by now many festival participants have begun cultivating ideas regarding marketing their event.  There are many ways to promote and inform audiences of your event, but where to begin?

Before embarking on your festival experience; even before diving into boosting social media posts, hiring a publicist or sending out emails to friend, family or subscribers; I’d like to offer three often overlooked marketing tips independent artists can use to focus a clear and simple marketing strategy for any festival event.

Read festival annual reports – Every year, festivals survey their audience members in order to collect data that will be used for an annual report.  This report highlights the turnout of the general festival experience, often including overall attendance numbers, a breakdown into audience demographics (age, profession, residency, etc.) and artist participation factors (number of participants, number of events, ticket sales revenue, etc.).  The kind of information that will be most helpful to an independent artist is the audience demographic breakdown.  Take note of the following information:

  1. The number of tickets sold throughout the festival
  2. The number of patrons who attended
  3. Residential information of patrons (locals VS regional, international or inter-state visitors)
  4. Occupation of patrons
  5. Number of artist participants and number of events

By breaking down these festival factors, an artist is able to identify how their event will cater to festival patrons.  Additionally, this kind of information will help an artist focus their efforts in executing a clear and thorough marketing strategy.

Research the venue’s audience breakdown – An artist has been assigned a venue ever since their festival application was approved.  More than likely, the venue is a space that has a regular attendance of patrons.  Familiarise yourself with the venue and its patrons.  Browse the venue website to inform yourself of previous and upcoming events.  Find out if the venue is active on social media.  If so, follow them closely to discover who they communicate with (their regulars) and how they communicate to the general public.  Additionally, initiate communication by sending an email to the venue management team: ask them questions about the space, their events and their regulars.  If they are active on social media, ask if they would be willing to share your Facebook event with their followers.  If you can, visit the venue on occasion to observe the crowd.  Your visit can also be a great opportunity to spark conversation with patrons and staff.

Focus on building a reputation – It is known that the first impression is the best impression to offer.  Build a strong reputation for yourself by creating an experience your audience will remember for a long time.  Think about ways you can make your audience feel welcomed to the space, appreciated and acknowledged for taking the time to see your work.  The emphasis should be on ways to encourage your audience to come back for more.  If you’ve created a caring, quality experience, most likely your audience will encourage others to attend your show too – word of mouth marketing sells more tickets than any other strategy!

These overlooked marketing tips can inspire, ignite and focus your festival event marketing campaign.  Most importantly these tips encourage creativity and fun, which in turn will make marketing and self-promotion feel a lot freer and easy.

Looking for assistance to devise a marketing strategy for your arts event?  Click HERE to book a FREE 30-minute consultation, and mention this article to receive 20% off any BCauseARTS marketing & audience development service.  Feel FREE, have FUN and get FOCUSED about marketing your arts practice today!

The Reward for Artists to Create Valuable P2P Marketing

ArtsHub posted an interesting article last week about the latest marketing trend sweeping across the globe – gamification!  Gamification puts marketing onto smartphones and hand-held devises to engage audiences with fun activities.  (Remember Pokemon-Go?  A solid example of gamification!) Additionally, gamification allows the producer to capture audience stats instantly.  You can read the full article HERE, which highlights how Adelaide Fringe Festival is using gamification to engage with their audience members. 

This got me thinking – what’s the production cost to add gamification to any marketing strategy?  Diving into some research, I discovered that most experts agree the price tag for developing gamification marketing varies depending on features to install and information the producer wishes to capture.  Further more, developing gamification is about time, effort and brainpower, which requires a lot of experience in UX development and having a focused direction.  As independent artists, many of whom run their own small business, you have to ask is it really worth incorporating into your marketing?

But what is worth an independent artist's marketing efforts is focusing on P2P marketing.  P2P, or people to people marketing, involves face-to-face communication and real-time relationship development.  Most importantly, P2P marketing is about providing quality customer care to your audience.  Customer service involves creating an experience from beginning to end.  And by 'beginning' I mean the moment the audience member walks into the venue door; and by 'end' I mean the moment the audience member walks out the venue door. 

Most venue foyers are designed to sell snacks and beverages before the event.  That’s great!  Do independent artists see any of those sales profits from food and beverages?  You would if you sparked a deal with the venue space, but highly unlikely. 

It is imperative that independent artists begin thinking about creating an experience outside of food and beverage sales. 

A good place to begin is to remember that, like visiting a new country or entering into someone else’s home, audience members are stepping into unknown territory.

Appreciating Opportunities - How La La Land reminds artists to maintain checks and balances

Awards season has kicked off, thanks to the resent Golden Globes ceremony in Hollywood on January 8th.  And many positive outcomes occurred: if you haven't already, click HERE to view the YouTube clip of Viola Davis honouring the brilliant Meryl Streep for the Cecil B. DeMille Lifetime Achievement Award, and Meryl Streep reminded us all how important it is now more than ever for art to hold the world accountable for human behaviour. 

Additionally, recently released film, La La Land, was awarded seven statues including Best Performance by an Actor AND Actress in a Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy and Best Screenplay.  These seven wins at the Golden Globes offer just a hint at how well this film may do at the upcoming Oscars.

Personally, I found the film to be quite entertaining – an homage to a time in Hollywood film history when musicals were being pumped out of MGM Studios probably as much as reproducing rabbits.  But what I enjoyed the most was the overall message about the creative dilemma and what we can learn from the main character’s story.

La La Land tells the story of struggling artists who move to the land of make-believe (Hollywood) in order to pursue their dreams of stardom only to face long periods of rejection and heartbreak.  It also throws into the plot of a love story between Gosling and Stone’s characters who support one another’s successes.  But what is the measure of success?  Is it possible to find the balance between earning a paycheck from actually doing what you love to do, or is it more rewarding to struggle for your passion in order to fulfil your complete dream?

In a very brief moment, the film presents the answer to these questions, and I’ so glad it did.  There is a balance to earning a paycheck and fulfilling your dreams. 

It’s what I call having a checks and balance system.  And this system is personal.  By understanding the difference within your dreams and passion, you as an artist regardless of your artform can sustain yourself.  Ryan Gosling’s character demonstrates the distraction artists face by earning a paycheck solely from their passion, or what they love to do but not necessarily why they do it.  Is that enough?  Eventually, in my interpretation at least, he learns how to use the paycheck to fuel his dream. 

Similarly, Emma Stone’s character learns a valuable artistic lesson – appreciation of an audience.  She eventually lands her big break when she least expects it because one audience member noticed and appreciated her work.  When she gave back the time and energy to that one person she was immensely rewarded. 

This is the point of audience development.  Understand your passion and trust that you have support from at least one person.  Put all your energy into that one (or few) person(s) and the rewards can be life changing. 

Have you got your checks and balances in order?  Have you forgotten about that one person who has been influenced by your work? It's never too late to be reminded and take some action!

Begin 2017 with YOUR Vision and Work Backwards

Happy New Year!  I do hope that everyone had a fantastic time spent with family, friends and loved ones.

I love the holidays because I take advantage of the break in order to read to relax.  And that’s not to say that my mind wasn’t hunting for ideas to share with you regarding marketing and audience development.  In fact, I found many inspirational articles, books and blog posts about ways to further the development of relationships with audience members and innovative strategies we can use to market our arts practice.

However, I did discover that many articles tended to encourage their readers to move quickly past what many had expressed to be a begrudging 2016 and count down their top suggestions for forging ahead into 2017.  These included ideas about goal setting, the use of new technology in order to improve personal productivity and organisation, and noting daily rituals of top successful individuals that help make the most of their productivity.  As I do my best to avoid doing the same, I’d rather share my favourite advice read: work backwards.

Wait, what?  Work backwards?  Yes!  Almost every article or blog post seemed to agree that the best way to work forward throughout 2017 is to work backwards.

What does this mean?  How do we work backwards?  As I am sure you have already done, been doing, or plan on doing, to help kick-start your year take some time to set some goals.  What do YOU want to achieve in 2017?   It’s important to set both personal and creative practice goals.  And I suggest that the perfect place to start is by using your most valuable tool: your imagination.  Creative individuals have a lucrative gift of imagination.  Put it to good use by closing your eyes and imagining…it’s December 31st 2017.  Answer for yourself the following questions: what will you have accomplished by December 31st?  Be specific: where are you?  What are you wearing?  Who is around you?  What have you earned financially (and emotionally)?  Remember, there are no right or wrong answers so dream as big and as detailed as possible.

Next, work backwards: what will you have accomplished 6 months from today (by June 30st 2017)?  Where are you?  Who do you associate with?  What have you earned financially and emotionally by this time?

Continue asking yourself these questions for 3 months (or March 31st), 1 month (or February 9th) and 2 weeks (or January 23rd) from now.

Lastly, read out loud what you’ve written, reading backwards of course!  Start with your achievements in 2 weeks, 1 month, 3 months, 6 months and 1 year.  Might I also advise to read these goals backwards (AND forwards for extra points) everyday to keep yourself focused, motivated and persistent. I hope these goals showcase a productive and successful 2017!