We’re thrilled to launch our new pilot program Pivot made possible through a strategic partnership the Convent formed with the Australia Council for the Arts.
Pivot is an eight-week pilot program offering artists 2-4 weeks in-kind space and time to support them to safely investigate, experiment and re-contextualise their work. The program will provide a testing ground for artistic investigation and an opportunity to develop new approaches to making and showing work in a socially distanced, changed world.
There are 18 lead artists involved in the program, including artists from the Convent’s tenant community.
Participating artists and arts organisations
A Melbourne-based artist, Joel Bray is a proud Wiradjuri man, who trained at NAISDA and WAAPA and is an ongoing performer with Chunky Move. Joel’s early career was in Europe and Israel with Jean-Claude Gallotta, Company CeDeCe , KolbenDance, Machol Shalem Dance House, Yoram Karmi’s FRESCO Dance Company, Niv Sheinfeld & Oren Laor and Roy Assaf. Joel’s choreographic practice includes making dance, dance-theatre and works for young audiences. Joel’s solo performance Biladurang sold out and won three Melbourne Fringe Awards. His second work Dharawungara was commissioned by Chunky Move and was a choreographic lament for the ceremony stolen from him by the Coloniser. Daddy was commissioned by the Yirramboi Festival, Arts House and Liveworks (Sydney). Joel’s works have toured to the Brisbane, Sydney, Darwin, Midsumma, Auckland and Dance Massive festivals and to Arts Centre Melbourne. Joel’s practice springs from his Wiradjuri cultural heritage. His works are intimate encounters in unorthodox spaces, in which audience-members are invited in as co-storytellers to explore the experiences of fair-skinned Aboriginal people, and the experiences of contemporary gay men in an increasingly digital and isolated world. His body becomes the intersection site of those songlines – Indigenous heritage, skin-colour and queer sexuality.
During Pivot, Joel will work on the creative development for Biladurang, an intimate solo work performed in a hotel room. Joel is of the Wiradjuri people of central NSW, and the work pivots around the tradotional story of the Bildurang, a platypus, a mutant creature who is forced to leave home—a sentiment echoed by Joel, as a fair-skinned, gay Aboriginal man from a religious family.
Ngioka Bunda-Heath is Wakka Wakka, Ngugi from Queensland through her mother and Birrpai from New South Wales through her father. Ngioka completed her Advanced Diploma in Performing Arts (Dance) at the Aboriginal Centre of the Performing Arts and her Bachelor of Fine Arts (Dance) at the Victorian College of the Arts. She is the first Aboriginal woman to graduate from the university in her field. Ngioka has performed with Compine Maado in Noumea, New Caledonia, the International Indigenous Dance Residency in Banff, Canada, the World Dance Alliance in France, and the International Association of Blacks in Dance Conference and Festival, Los Angeles. Ngioka was a delegate at the First Nation Dialogues, part of New York City Festival and the Association of Performing Arts Presenters (APAP). After graduating from VCA, Ngioka accepted a traineeship with Bangarra Dance Theatre, teaching in rural Victoria with their Youth Education Program, Rekindling. She also teaches in remote communities all around Australia with the Indigenous Hip Hop Projects. Ngioka was a founding dancer in Dubaikungkamiyalk, directed by Mariaa Randall and she choreographed Blood Quantum for Yirramboi Festival. Ngioka also performed in Waistd, choreographed by Sarah Aiken and Rebecca Jensen for the Melbourne Fringe Take Over. She is currently choreographing Birrpai for Next Wave Festival, co-produced by Chunky Move.
Following an artist residency at the Campbelltown Arts Centre in early 2020, for her Pivot project Ngioka Bunda-Heath will collaborate with three other artists (Josh Twee, Gabriela Green and Theodore Cassady) to further develop Historia, Memoria, and Connection, a work that seeks to fully explore the shared experiences and intergenerational trauma from the perspective of three Australian minorities. Through creativity, connectivity and the power of expression, the work seeks to evoke immediate and long-standing social, political, and cultural change, both in the short and long term.
Since 2000, Complete Works has been an important creative component of the Victorian English and Arts curriculum, developing and touring live theatre for secondary students. They are committed to promoting and enhancing the education and cultural development of young people by learning through the arts. The art of storytelling and fostering a love of language is what they do.
During Pivot, Compete Works will develop and rehearse a theatrical comparison of the Australian play The 7 Stages of Grieving by Wesley Enoch and Debroah Mailman and the American novel The Longest Memory by Fred D’Aguiar. The completed work will be filmed and made available online enabling Complete Works to broaden its reach beyond the education community.
Devika Bilimoria and Luna Mrozik-Gawler
Devika Bilimoria and Luna Mrozik Gawler are Narrm based artists working across multiple disciplines. Their work interrogates the relationships between ecological bodies in social, political, biological territories. In 2018 they co-founded L&NDLESS and together have presented large-scale AV immersive experiences and performances for audiences throughout Australia, as commissioned by MAV, TiNA, QPF, Sangam Festival, NIDA Nights, Ian Potter Museum of Art and Hillscene Festival of Live Art. They are invested in the dissolving of dominant Cartesian narratives with an emphasis on relocating the body as a site of knowledge and speculative worlding through live durational performance and digital technology.
For Pivot, Devika and Luna will be developing a new immersive, participatory audio visual installation that explores intimacy in times of separation and isolation. They will be investigating how live and interactive art can be reconsidered for futures where access to space and touch is permanently changed. This new work is planned for independent presentation in 2021.
Eclectic and esoteric, Diimpa is an avant composer, soundscape weaver and sonic wizard. He is a proud mixed Kabi Kabi autistic queer man who works with keyboard instruments including analogue synthesisers, music box, glockenspiel and accordion to create worlds of effortless magic and sound journey. Diimpa draws on vast ranges of experimental influences, from composers Terry Riley, Pauline Oliveros and Julius Eastman, to contemporaries like Zoe Keating and Nils Frahm. Through these experiences and elements, he carves out his own brand of unique contemporary Australian minimalism. Filled with electric pulses or ambient textures, Diimpa’s music is, at its heart, transcendent. With an impressive output of three EPs, albums Metamorphica and Spectrum, and a range of sound pieces under his belt, Diimpa has been performing with a cunning vivacity suffused with masterful improvisation since 2012. His work has been featured in local independent film and theatre works. His keen interest in durational pieces has seen eight-hour improvisations as part of Yirramboi Festival, Blakheart Festival, and Sustenance at Arts Centre Melbourne for Fringe Festival 2016. In 2019, Diimpa was nominated for a Music Victoria Award for Best Experimental or Avant-Garde Act, and performed at Meredith Music Festival and the Melbourne International Arts Festival.
For his Pivot project Diimpa will be working on deep listening practices, reactionary improvisation, and decolonising sound and space.
Janice Florence – Weave Movement Theatre
Janice Florence trained in dance in Australia and the USA. After acquiring a disability, she performed for over 10 years with State of Flux, pioneering Australian inclusive dance theatre. She is the recipient of two professional development grants from the Australia Council for the Arts for international residencies. For the past 22 years, Janice has contributed to the ongoing international inquiry and innovation in inclusive dance theatre as Artistic Director of Weave Movement Theatre. She has directed six new works and eight collaborations with respected artists. In 2014, Janice curated Australia’s first National Dance Intensive for artists with disability in partnership with Arts Access Australia and Dancehouse. Janice was chosen by the Australia Council to participate in the Sync Disability Arts Leadership Residency 2014. She is the inaugural recipient of the Australia Council 2019 National Disability Arts Award.
Weave Movement Theatre has been going for 22 years with a number of original productions devised in collaboration with respected guest directors and Artistic Director. Weave comprises performers with and without disabilities, combining dance, physical theatre, spoken word, pedestrian movement and physical humour to produce groundbreaking shows.
For Pivot, Weave Movement Theatre is working on a new production to be staged in October in collaboration with Yumi Umiumare.
Kathleen Gonzalez – Ethnodanceology Art
Kathleen Gonzalez is First Nations Muisca and Motilon from Colombia, experimental artist, choreographer and performer, cross-cultural art producer and founder of Ethnodanceology Art. She researches contemporary and interactive emotional dancing, exploring the wisdom and practices of the ancestors through her artistic process. Kathleen’s work explores the space between the rationality of the physical senses and the mystery of psychic and mythical lands, combining unusual, experimental, creative and inspirational new performance processes. Kathleen’s research references include historical archives based in anthropological statements—she is making her own analysis about human ethology, to discover special and sacred universal narrative according to the age of the universe (present time). Her work invites us to understand new languages and forms of movement and performative art, aiming to create multidisciplinary, artistic and educational collaborations activating diverse processes of cultural exchanges within communities. Kathleen has performed nationally and internationally in several festivals from 2015 between Asia including India, Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia and Australia. She currently commissioned by the City of Melbourne to develop a work for Yirramboi Festival 2021.
Kathleen’s Pivot project is Pinta de Antigua. Created in collaboration with local, interdisciplinary artists, Pinta de Antigua is a multi-artform installation—a participatory space where the installation and performative narratives will ignite inspirational reflections from the artist to the community. Through exploring the Convent and it’s surrounding areas, works will be informed through contemplation of found objects, the natural environment, and community interaction. Participating artists include Gabriela Isabel González, José Pincheira, Brian Lee Silva, Sebastian Barahona, Victor Holder, Juan Camilo Riaño.
Evan Lawson – Forest Collective
Evan J Lawson is one of Australia’s leading queer artists, working at the forefront of contemporary culture as composer, curator, and conductor, chiefly as artistic director of Forest Collective. A graduate of the Victorian College of the Arts and the Melbourne Conservatorium of Music, he has studied with Benjamin Northey, Richard Gill, Johanna Selleck, David Aronson (at the Wiener Staatsoper) and Matthias Pintscher (at Grafenegg Festival). Evan was composer-in-residence at Billilla Mansion in 2015 and has participated in developing artist programs with Malthouse Theatre, Grafenegg Festival, Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra and the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra. He has performed across Australia, Asia, Europe and the USA, working with a variety of companies, such as the Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra, Melbourne Symphony Orchestra, Tonkünstler Orchestra, Moravska Filharmonie, Forest Collective, ANAM Orchestra, Australian Youth Orchestra, Melbourne Youth Orchestra, Geelong Symphony Orchestra, Density 512, Gertrude Opera, Performance Space, Ranters Theatre, Prismatx Ensemble, Victorian Youth Symphony Orchestra, Australian Children’s Choir and Syzygy Ensemble, Melbourne International Arts Festival, Metropolis New Music Festival, Grafenegg Festival, Austria, Dublin Theatre Festival, Ireland, Sydney’s Mardi Gras, Bendigo International Festival of Exploratory Music, Melbourne Recital Centre, Malthouse Theatre, Carriageworks, Jinji Lake Concert Hall in China, Midsumma Festival, the Universities of Melbourne, Paris, Texas and Oregon and SoundSCAPE New Music Festival in Italy. Evan is currently developing works for Bayside Chamber Orchestra, Westgate Concert Band and a new site-specific opera for Festival International d’Art Lyrique Aix-en-Provence.
Forest Collective has been focusing on the Dancing on a Volcano series at Abbotsford Convent. Dancing on a Volcano reflects upon the importance and function of music broadly through culture, and through Pivot, they are aiming to safely present the project in a post social isolation world.
Harley Mann – Na Djinang Circus
A Waka Waka man from Queensland, Harley Mann grew up in Sydney NSW on Gadigal country. Drawing on his own Aboriginal heritage as inspiration, Harley founded Na Djinang Circus in 2017, and has since worked with a number of established and emerging artists. Harley was awarded the Best Emerging Circus Artist at 2018 Melbourne Fringe Festival, and was also selected as the youth representative at the 2018 Circus Talk at the Sydney Festival. As a current student at the National Institute of Circus Arts (NICA) NICA, Harley is ensuring that he upskills while he tours, creates, and develops work. He is a current member of the Circus and Physical Theatre (CaPT) Advisory Group.
Daniel Newell is a non-binary dancer, theatremaker, performance artist, facilitator and graduate of the Victorian College of the Arts. Daniel’s work can be defined as creative chaotic catharsis and has often outed itself as homo-erratic. Interested in dance, somatic practise, improvisational modalities, experimental performance art and theatre, Daniel has created solid prominence within so called Australia’s contemporary / queer performance ecology. Having performed across 20 countries, highlights include working with Shelley Lasica, Deanne Butterworth, Taylor Mac, ABC’s You Can’t Ask That, Honcho Disko hosting Amanda Lepore and Brooke Candy, Dark Mofo’s infamous Blacklist Party, Melbourne Museum, Opera Australia, Strange Fruit Productions, Melbourne Festival, Dance Massive, Rafeal Bonachela and Kylie Minogue.
During Pivot, Daniel will continue working on the creative development for Ned Kylie, a theatrical slur and queering of national aussies, treasures and attitudes relating to Australian masculinity. Working on the multiplicity of nuances held within the idea of Australian masculinity, Newell aims to pioneer a work that contributes to queer story and important Australian critique.
Roslyn Oades is an award-winning Melbourne-based theatremaker best known for her pioneering work in the field of headphone-verbatim and audio-driven performance projects. In 2019 she received a special Green Room Award for Technical Achievement in acknowledgement of her innovative suite of projects in this field. She has had new works commissioned by Malthouse, Melbourne Festival, Sydney Festival, Belvoir, Urban Theatre Projects, Windmill Theatre, Vitalstatistix, Hot House and Festival 18 on the Gold Coast. Roslyn’s original works for stage include: Hello Goodbye & Happy Birthday, I’m Your Man, Stories of Love & Hate, Fast Cars & Tractor Engines, Cutaway–A Portrait, At the Hip, Creation Creation, and the immersive work for children, In a Deep Dark Forest. Her productions have toured nationally with Performing Lines and I’m Your Man was adapted into an online interactive documentary with SBS TV. Hello Goodbye & Happy Birthday received the 2014 Green Room Award for outstanding writing/adaptation for the Australian Stage. Her works have also been nominated for two Helpmann Awards, two Sydney Theatre Awards, an AWGIE award and the NSW Premier’s Literary Prize. Most recently Roslyn has been working on a new series of site-based projects, including Cell 26 and The Nightline. Past residences include: artist-in-residence with Urban Theatre Projects for Right Here Right Now Festival (2018), Director-in-residence at Malthouse Theatre (2013) and artist-in-residence with Campbelltown Arts Centre for Siteworks (2011).
For her Pivot project, Roslyn Oades will be working on the creative development for a new ‘automatic theatre’ idea, Sincere Apologies (working title), in collaboration with fellow theatremakers David Williams, Jamie Lewis and Dan Koop. This documentary-inspired theatre work is made up entirely of public apologies and disclaimers—both the found and ‘wished for’ variety. Partly to laugh, partly to cry, and partly to hope that somehow in this litany of apologies they might make possible genuine acts of repair.
Daniele Poidomani – Memetica
Daniele Poidomani has been practicing for over 20 years’ in giant puppetry, live performance art, large-scale participatory installations, and community projects. His versatile skills span design, construction, performance, facilitation and direction. Since 1998, Daniele has been renowned for his work with Snuff Puppets. Daniele was part of the company’s core artistic team before founding Memetica in 2013 to expand his practice into content-based artwork with a social, cultural and political outlook.
Memetica specialises in giant-scale theatrical interventions and site-specific spectacle, using uniquely customised designs to imagine new worlds and their inhabitants; to construct impossibly real fictions and to engineer wonder as a mass experience. The company’s core style includes large animated ‘puppet’ characters with high performative capacity; as well as large-scale installation works offering otherworldly environments to their audiences. Memetica’s work inspires wonder amongst adults and children alike. Memetica’s process favours collaboration, empowering participant groups to create community-driven work with a social, cultural and political outlook, as well as high visual and aesthetic impact. Memetica capitalises on Daniele’s background in cultural studies and semiology, and decades of international experience running community workshops, to develop artwork showcasing the preciousness of CALD peoples’ contribution to Australian culture.
For Pivot, Memetica will work on the creative development of World Makers: Reeflings. Working at the Convent will support Memetica to authentically generate work in a site-responsive and specific way, ready for full build in late 2020 and presentation in early 2021 at c3 Gallery. The creative team will connect to extend and experiment with the original project concept, testing possibilities for sound and projection, planning models of the installation structure, and building prototypes for puppet characters. Immersion in the presentation venue will encourage practical experimentation, and also support investigation of how to best embed access and safety in all parts of the project.
Polyglot Theatre is a globally-renowned company based in Melbourne that creates, produces and tours Theatre for Young Audiences (TYA) all over the world. Polyglot’s artistic approach of child-centred practice has earned them the reputation at home and internationally as a leader in the TYA sector, celebrated for creating distinctive, collaborative works that are playful and conceptually robust. Polyglot Theatre involves kids from creative development through to immersive performances; and reaches the broadest range of children by placing their work everywhere, from the world’s most prestigious theatres to the football grounds of regional Australia. Polyglot has been a proud tenant at the Abbotsford Convent since 2018.
For Pivot, Polyglot will work on the creative development on two projects: Bees (working title), a participatory performance work for an audience of children and families to be experienced in public spaces; and Polyglot’s Generator program, which aims to support Polyglot’s core artists to conceive and develop ideas for bold new work.
Priya Srinivasan – Sangam Festival
Dr. Priya Srinivasan is the co-Artistic Director of Sangam: Performing Arts Festival of South Asia and Diaspora which enables a single platform for classical, contemporary and experimental forms. She is a choreographer and writer who lives and works in the lands of the Wurundjeri and Boonwurrung people in Narrm/Melbourne, combining theory and practice to work towards social justice issues through art. Priya’s performances prioritise feminist decolonisation processes, making visible minority women’s histories. Her experimental postcolonial work rooted in South Asian classical dance practice has been presented in major festivals and venues such as universities, museums, galleries, and theatres internationally in the USA, Europe, China, India and Australia. Her intercultural collaborative work with First Nations artists, Churning Waters toured India for Australia Fest. She has curated and choreographed several projects in partnership with Hermitage Museum Amsterdam, Berlin Wall Memorial, Rockbund Art Museum Shanghai, Creative Victoria, MAV, Bunjl Place and Dancehouse. Priya is the Co-Director of the South Asian Arts Pathways Program commissioned by the City of Casey and Bunjil Place.
Pivot will provide Dr. Priya Srinivasan with space and time to collaborate and create work for Sangam Festival in 2021.
Kimberley Twiner – PO PO MO CO
Kimberley Twiner is a Melbourne based physical comedian, director, producer and teacher. She specialises in ensemble physical comedy and is dedicated to making electric clown, character and bouffon work. In 2019, Kimberley graduated from the Helikos School in Italy with Advanced Training in the Pedagogy of Movement Theatre. She has studied theatre at Ecole Philippe Gaulier (France), John Bolton Theatre School (Melbourne) and trained extensively in Clown, Bouffon and Devising with Giovanni Fusetti. Kimberley holds a Bachelor of Creative Industries Drama from QUT. Kimberley is founder and producer of the award-winning queer comedy troupe PO PO MO CO, who were recently nominated for a Green Room Award for Best Ensemble. Kimberley is also the director and co-devisor of award-winning trio The Travelling Sisters and award-winning New Zealand trio Maggot. Kimberley is co-creator of Fish & Twiner’s Bait Shop who produce contemporary physical comedy in the style of clown. Their recent show, Jofus and the Plank (directed by Kimberley and performed by Lily Fish) won Best Physical Comedy at Hobart Fringe Festival 2020 and Best Solo Performance at New Zealand Fringe Festival 2020.
For Pivot, PO PO MO CO will be working on creative development and rehearsal for a new physical theatre troupe called The Unsinkables. Led by Kimberley Twiner, the project was intended to debut at Union House Theatre in May 2020. Grounded strictly in the Lecoq Pedagogy of movement theatre, this chorus of practitioners will devise a unique ensemble piece, designed to be performed outdoors.
Yumi Umiumare and Takashi Takiguchi – ButohOUT!
Born in Hyogo, Japan, Yumi is an established performance artist, Butoh dancer, and choreographer living in Australia. Yumi has been creating her distinctive style of works for nearly 30 years and her works are renowned for provoking visceral emotions and cultural identities. Since moving to Melbourne in 1993, Yumi has created works seen in numerous festivals in dance, theatre and film productions throughout Australia, Japan, Europe, New Zealand, South East Asia and South America. Her works have received critical acclaim and garnered several Australian Green Room awards. Her own major production credits include the DasSHOKU Butoh cabaret series (1999-2014), EnTrance (2009-2012) and PopUp Tearoom Series (2015-) She is now creating new show DasSHOKU TeaParTEA! As a choreographer, Yumi has worked with many socially engaged theatre projects in Australia. These include Aboriginal and refugee communities, culturally diverse groups and inclusive dance and theatre companies. Yumi is a fellowship recipient from the Australia Council for the Arts (2015-16) and the winner of the Green Room Geoffrey Milne Memorial Award in 2017 in recognition of her contribution to Contemporary and Experimental Performance. Yumi is an Artistic Director of ButohOUT! Festival, activating local and international Butoh communities in Melbourne, and teaches nationally and internationally.
Takashi Takiguchi is an independent creative producer of Japanese heritage based in Melbourne (Kulin Country). He is also the founder and Creative Director of the performing art production company, ImPermanence Productions. Since 2014, Takashi has assisted numerous independent artists of colour through his mission to continuously create an inclusive, sustainable, cultural and creative platform. ImPermanence Productions provides consultation, project support and development assistance, as well as production and event management. Over the last five years, Takashi has been involved with or produced 10 community-led performing arts festivals across four countries, and programmed several hundred artists from all around the world. At least 50 Australian independent artists have participated in ImPermanence Production events in regional and metropolitan Australia and in South East Asia. Major projects Takashi has produced include ButohOUT! Festival, co-produced with Yumi Umiumare; The Embodied Landscape (Rainbow, Regional Victoria 2018), with Agung Gunanwan; and MAP Festivals (Rainbow 2018, Brunswick 2019) with Tony Yap.
During Pivot, Yumi and Takashi will experiment with local creatives to build a new stimulative platform ‘Colour-fool Butoh‘, to search unique ways of responding to the cancelled event of ButohOUT! 2020 Primal Colour. Yumi will also be developing her new work DasSHOKU TeaParTEA! with the creative team including dramaturg, provocateur and sound designer.
If you have any questions about this program, please contact our Producer Natalie Smith.
This project has been assisted by the Australian Government through the Australia Council for the Arts, its arts funding and advisory body.