Urban Theatre Projects Launch New Festival, 'Right Here. Right Now.'
Urban Theatre Projects (UTP) unveils details of Sydney's first place-based festival in the heart of Blacktown. RIGHT HERE. RIGHT NOW. is a three-week event inspired by the stories, characters, and artists from this dynamic Western Sydney community. This brand-new arts festival will feature works that respond to the local landscape and showcase the talents, vitality and personal stories of emerging and established artists from across Western Sydney and beyond. Produced in partnership with Blacktown Arts and presented in Blacktown's Main Street, RHRN. will run on Thursday, Friday and Saturday across three weeks from 1-17 November 2018.
RIGHT HERE. RIGHT NOW. (RHRN.) features performance, installation, music, film and food in a 3.5 hour contemporary, place-based experience in the heart of Blacktown. It will see UTP continue its reputation for creating 'out of the box' experiences that tell contemporary Australian stories inspired by Western Sydney. RHRN. will unveil five newly commissioned artworks made in collaboration with more than 25 young and emerging Western Sydney artists. A ticket to RHRN. invites the audience to experience the site-specific works presented in restaurants, arcades and public spaces along Blacktown's iconic Main Street. All ticketholders will dine together as part of the experience at a selection of local Persian, Ethiopian and Afghan restaurants.
The RHRN. program continues to uphold the UTP mantra of making artworks that explore personal stories within a universal context, to reflect important issues unfolding in Australia and globally. Commissioned Australian and International Artists have been in residence with UTP throughout 2017 and 2018 at UTP's new Satellite Hub in Blacktown's Main Street to bring the festival to life in November.
UTP Artistic Director and RHRN. Curator Rosie Dennis said: "We're telling local, contemporary stories of Sydney from our stomping ground in Western Sydney. If you loved Home Country, then I think you'll love this experience too."
Highlights of this new festival will include:
The Nightline: Award-winning theatre director Roslyn Oades in collaboration with six young people has created an immersive audio-led theatre work based on the provocation, "What Happens After Midnight?". The work builds on research begun in 2016 which saw the artist set up a night-line phone message service to collect audio.
Team Trampoline: Contemporary visual and textiles Adelaide artist Meg Wilson has collaborated with Sydney artist Nicole Barakat to weave eight trampoline mats from different textiles and fabrics in collaboration with local residents and students from Rooty Hill High School. The work is part large-scale installation, part choreographed live performance.
Internationally acclaimed tabla player Maharshi Raval will collaborate with young musicians to compose two new works for percussion, which will be performed live by seven percussionists.
Darug women Corina Norman-Dadd and Julie Jones, together with Uncle Lexodious Dadd, feature in a short-film shot on location at the Blacktown Native Institution site. The Institution played a key role in the history of colonial assimilation policies and race relations in Australia. Award winning Western Sydney Visual Artist Tom Polo has been commissioned to create a series of flags and banners to 'dress' the streets of downtown Blacktown.
Finally, artist Rajni Shah & Collaborators are in-residence with their project Feminist Killjoys Reading Group. The group is a growing community of people who identify as feminist killjoys, or who wish to learn more about the figure of the feminist killjoy in a respectful and inclusive setting. During RHRN. audiences are invited to join the conversation as part of open sessions held each Saturday of the festival.
This is the sixth partnership between UTP and Blacktown Arts and demonstrates/reflects our shared commitment to re-setting the cultural conversation about contemporary multi-cultural Australia through great storytelling and live experiences.
Based in Bankstown, UTP has a 35-year history of making ground-breaking work and its reputation has never been stronger than it is today. The company was created to re-imagine what theatre can be, and who it can be for. Under the guidance of several visionary artistic directors, it has played a vital role in Australia's cultural landscape. In the past five years it has reached even greater heights. In that time, UTP has produced 58 projects, engaged 524 participants, employed 523 artists and entertained 1,104,757 people. Under the leadership of current Artistic Director Rosie Dennis, UTP is firmly established as an agenda-setter for art making that thinks outside the black box. It has also caught the attention of art lovers from across the city who now readily travel to new neighbourhoods for UTP's unforgettable art experiences.
Blacktown Arts is a recognised leader in the development of contemporary arts in Australia, presenting an award-winning curated program of exhibitions, performances, workshops, residencies and events. The organisation is committed to exploring dynamic, culturally diverse work that reflects Blacktown, its history and its communities. Blacktown Arts places Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander artists and communities at the heart of its program to develop new work drawing on issues of local and global significance. The Leo Kelly Blacktown Arts Centre is an initiative of Blacktown City Council and is supported by the NSW Government through Create NSW.