Well that was quite a year! We started 2021 primed and ready to take on all the year could throw at us, and here we are at the other end, having managed so many more pivots, and a few unexpected pirouettes, than we ever thought possible. Despite the many challenges of 2021, we are proud we still managed to deliver 95 performances across 7 states and territories, supporting 155 artists, and performing for over 14,000 live audience members.
Over the last year we’ve been working with a brilliant creative team to realise a stage adaptation of Antonia Pesenti and Hilary Bell’s best-selling children’s book Alphabetical Sydney. Today, we’re thrilled to announce that the production is a recipient of almost $200k in RISE Funding, ensuring the final development and premiere season of this big, bright, beautiful, new musical. Alphabetical Sydney will premiere at Riverside Theatres in 2022 and go on to tour to audiences nationally in 2023.
Critical Stages Touring, Australia’s national touring theatre company, is thrilled to announce a second season of Come to Where I Am – Australia – the playwriting program produced in partnership with the UK’s Paines Plough Theatre Company. The new season will engage eight playwrights from around the country to each create a 10-minute story that is a snapshot of what it is like to live in their part of Australia right now. These stories will be turned into short films featuring readings by the playwrights themselves. The readings and works will be showcased in the CST Screening Room, on the Paines Plough website, and via free live watch parties broadcast over YouTube and Facebook.
The week ahead will be a lot more fun with a little live entertainment. Stage and Stream is back for a third special edition, our top list of streaming theatre and performing arts around Australia. revisit our mental health and wellness forum, settle in for a chuckle with the hilarious Garry Starr, or discover something new at Shopfront’s Scratch Night.
No matter where are in Australia it looks like we’re all going to need a little more love online this week. Catherin Alcorn is beaming into your lioving room this week with a lineup of genuine stars, The Listies are getting arty with Art Blast (bring the kids) and Jon Bennett’s dark biographical comedy Fire in the Meth Lab goes online.
With Sydney’s lockdown continuing, and our Melbourne mates at home with us for the next few days, we thought it was time to bring back our Stage and Stream blog to keep us entertained. In this first ever Special Edition we take a look at Rogue Projects’ You’re Not Special now screening with Australian Theatre Live, virtual gallery and classical music options, and hilarious new opera streaming out of Riverside. Plus more!
The final project of four NSW Regional Touring Residencies saw Debra Keenahan and Katrina Douglas travel to Cowra, and the town’s newly reinvigorated Cowra Civic Centre, to work on Little Things Matter. This deeply personal new stage piece extends the film of the same name, currently on display at Sydney’s MCA, into an intimate and powerful one-woman show exploring Debra’s lived experience of dwarfism. The project invited Paul Prestipino and Robert Brindley to collaborate.
Today’s announcement by The Hon Paul Fletcher MP, Commonwealth Minister of the Arts, sees an additional $25M in support shared by no less than 66 leading arts and entertainment organisations nationally. For Critical Stages Touring it means an extended and ambitious regional touring and reactivation program can be realised, bringing outstanding independent theatre to communities everywhere.
“Critical Stages Touring is extremely grateful for this support from the federal government at this crucial time of rebuilding for performing arts companies such as ours.
This grant will provide vital funding to enable us to tour outstanding new work created and performed by diverse Australian independent artists across regional Australia, including THEM by Samah Sabawi, I’ve Been Meaning to Ask You from The Good Room, The Bottle Collector from Asking for Trouble and more.
It will also enable us to continue supporting artists to create exciting new digital projects for our Screening Room further enhancing the reach of our work.” Chris Bendall, CEO & Director, Critical Stages Touring.
This announcement sees a diverse range of companies, festivals, and productions receive the support of the Restart Investment to Sustain and Expand (RISE) Fund. These include the Byron Writers Festival, Barking Gecko’s regional residencies for young people, Queensland’s BigSound Australian music conference, and Illuminate Adelaide to name a few.
We congratulate everyone listed!
To see the full list of recipients visit: www.arts.gov.au/covid-19-update