LOVE! is the theme of this year’s Brave New Works festival, now in its 26th year.
The theme was inspired partly by the incredible leadership of NZ prime minister Jacinda Ardern, after the Christchurch shootings earlier this year.
Then a local leader, shire president Ceinwen Gearon, suggested on Facebook that we needed more love in our own community, and less of the vitriol and turbulence which has become synonymous with much social media.
There are were other reasons, too, for love to be BNW’s theme this year – such as students grappling with the pressures of high school exams, leading to self-harm, anxiety and depression, needing more love in families and in the community in general.
Festival director Peter Keelan said that the resultant program was a testament to the possibilities and intricacies of the love theme and our rich creative community.
The Great Love Chat will have six panellists, representing youth, age, poetry, philosophy and real life experience, to discuss and dissect ‘that word’ love.
11 Questions, by local young people and director Deb Edmonson, explores the world of dreams and altered reality to create a unique new theatre work with an original soundscape by musician Steve Hammond, Living With The Questions.
Two focus projects this year are Torbay Suite and Motion Tryptych.
Torbay Suite, an evening of original music by composer Robert Zielinski, follows a day from dawn to dusk at the Torbay inlet, near where he now lives.
“I moved to Torbay a year and a half ago, discovered the inlet shortly afterwards, and immediately felt a great affinity with that place,” Robert said.
“I was going down there every day fishing, listening and watching.
“I was making a violin for myself at the time, and the inlet provided the inspiration, helping me clear out any preconceptions and navigate a million variables in making an instrument without getting stuck along the way.
“When I finally finished the violin I also had the composition in mind, so my violin and the inlet are connected.”
Peter Keelan heard an excerpt from Torbay Suite earlier this year and invited Robert to present the whole piece, along with Michael Hemmings’s film, as a feature concert at BNW 26.
At 17 Robert travelled to Ireland where he lived for 14 years learning from an older generation of fiddle players.
He has toured in America and Europe, and taught for three years at The Galway School of Traditional Irish Music.
In 2000 he won Ireland’s Michael Coleman Traditional Fiddler of The Year Award.
Motion Tryptch is by Albany choreographer Symantha Parr, in collaboration with filmmaker John Carberry and Denmark dancer/ choreographer Nari Lees.
The three contemporary dance-infused pieces in one program promise to delight, challenge and inspire.
Waterways, Stories of People of Place, is a film/live art project facilitated by Nari Lees in collaboration with sound artists Jeremy Hick, Marlu Harris and film artists Rachel Angellini and Robert Castiglione.
The experience of connection, emotional energy and friction between us and the outside world will wade you out to the boundary between love and letting go.
Ameliorer Resolve IV, featuring Talitha Maslin, is the second instalment of John Carberry’s experimental film about contemporary dance.
The first instalment was officially selected by the Revelation Perth International Film Festival.
Choreographer Sym Parr will present The Presence of Wool, an atmospheric electronic soundscape composed by James Gentle which guides ghostly workers and cocoon-like figures in exploring the stories of the old Albany woollen mill.
Brave New Works 26 runs from October 31 to November 3, and the program is available now from most local shops and cafés.