MARCH 2018 at KXT | STEP UP
at bAKEHOUSE we believe artistry needs time. We've been kicking around the indie scene long enough to know that the race from bump in to tech and then opening is always stressful, and there's just never enough time to get things exactly as you might like them, before bringing industry and media into the room. And we put our money where our mouth is: bAKEHOUSE subsidises hire of KXT through the first week of a company's residency, on the condition they open in their second* This puts companies in a position where they can run 4, 5 and sometimes 6 previews before Opening Night - unheard of in Sydney's indie scene. the benefits are many and important: by Opening Night they've found their sweet spot and reviews and word of mouth reflect this. And industry and media know that by the time they head up to the rooftop for their glass of Left Bank wine** the show they saw is the same one everyone else will see.
So why would we rush in a month of short seasons of new work, new companies and new artists?
There are just not enough good spaces in Sydney for new companies and new artists to strut their stuff. Sure, there's a growing number of pop-ups and re-purposed venues, little galleries, back rooms in pubs, halls. But its almost impossible to make your work look good when all you've got is a couple of floods and a smoke machine. New companies need something they can hang their hat on: a kind of calling-card for their next show. And like everything in Sydney: if your show doesn't look good its prob not going to be taken too seriously.
Plus a short season limits financial risk and new companies don't have a lot of resources.
We had a month and we wanted to provide as many opportunities as possible for young companies. Some of these are re-stagings of previous works, and all are re-imagined for their season at KXT. Some have pulled on exciting new or established and experienced creatives. Others are working with the tech and design support of the KXT team. Specifically:
BEING DEAD (DON QUIXOTE) is written and presented by Kerith Manderson-Galvin, with Unofficial Kerith Fanclub + MKA Theatre of New Works in the driving seat. These are companies that have a strong presence in Melbourne, presenting bold experimental work. We want Sydney to have more of that, and of them.
ARE WE AWAKE by Charles O'Grady had its start as part of the exciting New Fitz program, showcasing the quite brilliant Daniel Monks and lovingly taking a blowtorch to our notions of disability, ability and queerness. And it needed to get a second look. This time round they had a set, and lighting by Martin Kinnane with sound design by Benjamin Freeman, and it paid off in spades.
DNA by Dennis Kelly had a short run in Sydney's fringe in 2017, with Bardiya McKinnon setting up fledgling company LAST ONE STANDING THEATRE to get the show up. It was a room full of the next generation of Sydney's theatre talent, and we wanted to see what would happen with a host of experienced creatives, a bit of a budget and a supported season
INJEST, THE LAST SUPPER is written by the fabulous Georgina Adamson, working with our Step Up team member Eve Beck, as Bite Productions. This little unit has a big new project at the end of the year and didn't want to let the indie circus pass them by in 2018. Plus, we really liked the idea of theatre for people who don't go to theatre.
THE CAROUSEL by Pippa Ellams, is directed by Hannah Goodwin. Since starting at Shopfront its been on the road: off to a shared season with Downstairs Belvoir and a showcase at Merrigong. It needed to wrap up the tour in Sydney and we wanted it to close out the Step Up season.
And then there's the UPSTART program, a trial of a cool little idea headed up by Jessica Adie, a production development of Jon Brittain's Rotterdam led by Rebecca Blake, just to see if it was going to work, and another look at a new play Luke Carson has been working on.
So that's why.
*We're super strict about the preview subsidy: as many previews as you like in week 1, but if you don't open in week 2, you don't get our money.
**Opening Nights at KXT are supported by KX Hotel & Left Bank wines.