2015 CEO/Artistic Director Wrap Up

Posted by Gwen Knox

Gwen in France

What a year it has been! Many changes and opportunities have presented themselves to me and to Theatre Kimberley.

With a decrease in funding we have had to change the way we do our Outreach program while still reaching as many young people in remote Indigenous communities and providing a quality arts program. I have finally handed over the reins of Act Belong Commit Sandfly Circus to Meredith Bell who has been doing a fantastic job. It is with mixed emotions though as youth circus and all the positive outcomes is a subject that is very close to my heart. In an ideal world everyone would do circus instead of competitive sports. I believe it would make a better, peaceful, healthier (physical and mental health) and more creative world.

It is with mixed emotions that I will wave goodbye to a young woman who I met in the park when she was still in primary school, near my house one day who was expressing her fear and confusion of having to deal with her new Australian school. My response to her was “You need to come to circus!” Madhavi did and now she is off to continue her studies at the National Institute of Circus Arts. With her goes Rueben who came to us as a lanky young lad who told us he was amazing but we didn’t quite believe him until we saw him in action. These two have been a great support as they have developed their skills as young trainers and performers. I will miss them heaps.

Someone else who I will miss is a young fellow who had a habit of quietly standing by with a shy smile on his face, who nearly gave up juggling because he doubted his ability to be as good as the big boys and is now one of our best jugglers. Kai Murphy also promises to be Australia’s future “sleight of hand” champ. He also brought his younger siblings Taj and Soma to circus and then his mum! Now they have all been devoured by the circus bug, to the extent that the last show saw mum and the kids perform on stage with dad working out the back. The kids took it upon themselves to successfully audition for spots in the Flying Fruit Fly Circus in Albury-Wodonga. As a result the whole family is uprooting and moving there. Who’s going to wash my car from now on? And worse still their mum Pam became our chief go to person in the office. We will miss them all way too much.

Part of the cycle of living in a remote resort town is that the population changes regularly and our young people must go elsewhere if they want to receive specialist training. I must keep convincing myself that it is for the best. I wish everyone well in their circus endeavours and hope that they will remember us when they become famous and maybe even come back from time to time to help teach the next crop of circus nuts.

On the personal front I have had the opportunity to develop a puppetry performance titled “Ngalyak and the Flood” in collaboration with Anne Poelina and Mudjalla Inc. This performance went to the prestigious Festival Mondial des Théâtres de Marionnettes in Charleville Meziares, Festival OFF, France, to great acclaim. We hope to take an extended version back there for the next festival in 2017.

Other than amazing overseas adventures, the endless cycle of writing funding applications, as governmental financial support for the arts dries up like a puddle at the end of a wet season, continues. If any of you win lotto or have a rich relatives who don't know what to do with their money please come and see us.

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