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|2008 Philip Parsons Memorial Lecture|
|Friday, 07 November 2008 04:02|
On Sunday 16 November, Belvoir St Theatre welcomes Kristy Edmunds, 2005 - 2008 Artistic Director of the acclaimed Melbourne International Arts Festival, to present the 2008 Philip Parsons Memorial Lecture.
There has been much dialogue recently about a “missing middle” in the performing arts in Australia, and wide spread discussion about the challenges of maintaining artistic standards and nurturing innovation. Some have attributed this to a lack of vitality in small to medium organisations, some to an inability of newer organisations to break into a funding cycle. Others have suggested the educational institutions are not properly preparing their students for the industry.
A leading advocate for the development of contemporary art and performance, both in Australia and internationally, Kristy Edmunds will be discussing why contemporary performance matters, what keeps it vital and what threatens its role in the current climate.
Artist, curator and Artistic Director, Edmunds founded PICA, the Portland Institute for Contemporary Art, in 1995, and went on to serve as Artistic Director for ten years. In 2003 Edmunds launched the TBA (Time-Based Art) Festival at PICA, which was acclaimed as a global contribution for arts programming, and quickly established itself as one of the most impacting festivals within the US. After stepping down in 2004 a fund in her name was created in perpetuity to support the creation of new projects.
In 2004 Edmunds took up the prestigious post of Artistic Director of the Melbourne International Arts Festival and introduced to Melbourne her curatorial vision for presenting the works of contemporary artists across all art disciplines. Edmunds is the first Artistic Director in the Festival’s 22-year history to serve a four-year term. Following her final festival, she takes up the position of Head of Performing Arts at the Victorian College of the Arts (VCA) and will continue to serve as an Artistic Advisor to several organisations internationally.
Company B General Manager, Brenna Hobson, says, “Kristy has a long history in seeking out diverse and innovative channels for art. She’s an extremely progressive artist and a visionary artistic director, with an eye on the international arts industry and connection with some of the world’s most recognised artists and organisations.
“We’re very much looking forward to tapping into Kristy’s experience and wisdom for this year’s Philip Parsons Lecture, particularly after what has been a very successful tenure as the Melbourne International Arts Festival’s Artistic Director,” Brenna said.
The Philip Parsons Young Playwright’s Award 2008
The winner of The Philip Parsons Young Playwright’s Award 2008 will be announced after the lecture. The Philip Parsons Young Playwright’s Award is awarded each year to a playwright under the age of 35, whose work demonstrates an original and compelling theatrical voice. The winner receives a writer’s commission supported by Company B.
The first of this year’s award nominees is Khoa Do who co-wrote, produced and directed the film The Finished People (2003). Khoa was nominated for an AFI for Best Direction – the youngest to be nominated in this category – and received both a Centenary Medal and the IF Independent Spirit Award for this film. In 2006 he directed Footy Legends, a film that starred his brother Anh Do, Claudia Karvan and Angus Sampson. Khoa was also awarded Young Australian of the Year in 2005 for his work with the community in film. His first play Mother Fish premiered in 2007 at Parramatta Riverside Theatres.
The second nominee is Jonathan Gavin, writer of Tiger Country which opened at the SBW Stables Theatre in November 2007. Jonathan’s other work includes A Moment on the Lips, which received the 2002 Philip Parson’s Young Playwright’s Award, Special Occasions, commissioned by the Melbourne Theatre Company, and Breast Wishes.
The final nominee is Caleb Lewis, best known for his Mitch Matthews Award-winning Men, Love and the Monkey Boy, which premiered at the Darlinghurst Theatre earlier this year. This production was also short-listed for the Griffin Award. His other work includes Otzi – the Story of the Iceman, which received a 2008 AWGIE Award for Best Interactive Media, Death in Bowengabbie, which recently toured Japan, and The Sea Bride, recipient of the TheatreLab Emerging Playwright Award.
Previous Philip Parsons Young Playwright’s Award winners include Holding the Man and Saturn’s Return writer Tommy Murphy (2007) and Kate Mulvany (2006), whose commissioned work, The Seed, sold out its B Sharp season, only to move upstairs for a successful run in Belvoir St Theatre’s main stage season this year. In 2009 Company B will stage Brendan Cowell’s 2005 Philip Parson commission Ruben Guthrie after a sold-out season in the Downstairs Theatre in early 2008.
The Philip Parsons Memorial Lecture and Young Playwright’s Award commemorate the life’s work of Dr Philip Parsons AM (1926-1993). Dr Parsons was co-founder of the performing arts publishers Currency Press, and an influential teacher and mentor to many of the students, scholars, actors, directors and playwrights who created the new wave of Australian theatre in the 1970s.
The Philip Parsons Memorial Lecture 2008
Sunday 16 November at 2pm
Belvoir St Theatre, 25 Belvoir Street, Surry Hills
Entry by donation
Bookings: 02 9699 3444 or www.belvoir.com.au