INTRODUCTION

As a recipient of the Arts Council Theatre Bursary award 2016 I undertook two months of research and development in Melbourne, Australia. My research was designed to consider models of female and feminist work in Melbourne and Sydney, as well as reflecting on my own practice. 


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“To spin the web and not be caught in it, to create the world, to create your own life, to rule your fate, to name the grandmothers as well as the fathers, to draw nets and not straight lines, to be a maker as well as a cleaner, to be able to sing and not be silenced, to take down the veil and appear: all these are the banners on the laundry line I hang out.” – Rebecca Solnit

I’m not an academic writer so the most honest approach I can think of in representing this work is a personal account. I’ll post in a couple of ways; observations and responses to work or research, diary entries, and transcriptions of a collection of interviews with various contemporary female practitioners including Emma Valente and Kate Davis of THE RABBLE, Tamara Saulwick of Chamber Made Opera and director Adena Jacobs.

There’s a couple of reasons I decided to do this project. One year on from #WakingTheFeminists meeting at The Abbey I find myself in a completely different place, personally, creatively and politically. It seems like a good moment to take stock. And, like most things, ideas at their best are transnational. So here I go, digging into a different garden to see how it has grown. I’m interested in exploring the ideas that have shaped female and feminist work in a different context, a contrast to our own eco-system, as a way of learning from alternative methods and ideas. For example, intersectional feminism has a huge spokesperson in Australia through the voice of Candy Bowers. Her irrepressible work with Black Honey Company speaks to queer and ethnically diverse feminism. Postdramatic art has feminist trailblazers that grew out of subcultures in Melbourne in work made by Daniel Schlusser and The RABBLE. At a personal level I am curious about challenging elements of my own work, exploring what new shapes it might take. I will admit it was also an opportunity to invest time and thought into feminist theory and narratives at a wider level, spending time with writers like Gloria Steinem, Judith Butler, Rebecca Solnit and Germaine Greer. It opened up conversations with fascinating people in completely unexpected ways and has been one of the most fruitful, inspiring processes of my career to date.  As such I’m hoping that some of it might be interesting to you. So please, bear with me while I write through it, spinning thoughts and ideas. It might sometimes feel like everything is exploding, in all directions – it probably is. I’m not going to try and answer any questions but i’ll do my best to ask them.

More to follow,

Maeve

 

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