Contra, contrary, counter, against, in opposition to, outside of – these are the notions that Tuggeranong Arts Centre will be exploring in their jam-packed 2019 Artistic Program, which centres on the theme ‘Contra – Art in opposition.’ What exactly they’re opposing will be left to the imagination of audiences.
Amongst the Centre’s program highlights and helping to explore this theme are a line-up of renowned contemporary Australian artists including performer and producer Jacob Boehme, playwright Didem Caia, and social justice journalist Ginger Gorman.
The Community Arts and Cultural Development program will continue to play a central role in the Centre’s programming, inviting communities across the ACT to engage with and participate in a diverse range of arts activity.
One of the program’s first projects for the year will be MONO|STEREO, a six-month theatre development program led by Melbourne-based playwright Didem Caia, which will document the stories of local residents.
Caia will be working with participants from Tuggeranong and Woden who self-identify as being outside the mainstream culture of suburban Canberra to explore their stories and experiences and turn them into a series of original monologues.
Caia is an experienced theatre maker, writer and speaker. Since graduating from NIDA in 2013, she has had plays produced through NIDA, Griffin Theatre, Theatre 504, ATYP, La Mama, and 45 Downstairs.
In 2016, Caia worked with Melbourne Playback’s SeaACT program and the City of Greater Dandenong to help young people from outer Melbourne bring their stories to the stage in a new work called Work in Progress.
Similarly bringing national (and international) experience to working with local communities will be Jacob Boehme and the ILBIJERRI Theatre Company. Boehme is an artist, director and producer of Narangga and Kaurna heritage, an Australia Council Fellow, and Creative Director of YIRRAMBOI First Nations Arts Festival.
A tour of North America and Australia for Boehme’s solo dance theatre work Blood on the Dance Floor will conclude at TAC in August, followed by a series of ‘Gurri Wanggadja Nhinggu – Speak Your Dance’ workshops with local Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander, LGBTIQA+ and HIV positive communities.
Meanwhile, journalist Ginger Gorman and photographer Martin Ollman will document the experiences of Canberrans living with or recovering from addiction to crystal methamphetamine (Ice). Their work will form the basis of a special multi-media exhibition at TAC in November accompanied by a range of public programs exploring drug addiction and recovery.
On a lighter note, throughout the year TAC will help emerging artists to pop-up across the ACT for one-off performances and workshops that present unconventional, hybrid and experimental art-forms in unexpected places. Perhaps you’ll find an opera singer at a waste management centre or a drag queen on a construction site.
Not forgetting to think ahead, in November TAC will also welcome two Chinese performance artists to Canberra for a scoping visit ahead of a longer residency in 2020.
These projects will be complemented by TAC’s ongoing signature youth programs, Fresh Funk and Messengers, a year-long program of exhibitions, music, theatre and literary events, and collaborations with schools, festivals and other community groups.
More information about Tuggeranong Arts Centre’s 2019 program and ways to participate will be available on the Arts Centre website in coming weeks.