Green Room: A digital “campground” and backcountry residence
What is camping?
It’s been a rollercoaster week for the Windmill Theater team. Just a day after multiple COVID cases among the cast forced the company to cut short the season of its latest show Rella (reviewed here), it announced the launch of a new free digital platform.
The stated goal of Camp Windmill is to introduce young audiences to the concept of “camp” and its place in Australian theater (see the trailer here). Visitors to the digital platform are greeted by a pair of drag queen guides, Thomas Fonua and Fez Faanana (two of the stars of Rella), and invited to visit (click) a row of tents that house theater makers waiting to share their own stories and what camp means to them.
“Camp, to me, encompasses humor, life, joy, exaggeration, celebration – so much,” actor and singer Paul Capsis says in his video on Camp Windmillexplaining that her earliest TV memories are of camp characters such as Bert Newton, Jeanne Little and Shirley Bassey.
“They are like camp treasure collected in my memory bank…. The camp does not laugh at something, it exaggerates it.
Other artists interviewed for the platform include singer Christine Johnston (of the Kransky Sisters), drag king and actress Chiara Gabrielli (who stars in the new State Theater production Antigone), designer Jonathon Oxlade and Windmill creative director Rosemary Myers.
Camp Windmill – which is free for schools and members of the public to access – was written by South Australian writer Anthony Nocera and designed and developed by experience design firm Sandpit. It was created as part of Windmill’s education program and encourages a better understanding of some of the concepts behind Rella.
“Rella sees us working with amazing queer artists, using the language of camp to create an exciting new take on Cinderella,” says Myers. “The show gave us the opportunity to create a resource that introduces our young audience to the exciting opportunities that the camp sensibility affords them as artists and audiences.”
We’ll leave the final say to Nocera, who says that after writing the platform, “the one thing I’m clear on is that camp is a lot of fun and everyone, regardless of age , should know more”.
Expressions of interest are sought from artists interested in undertaking a three-week residency at Grindell’s Hut, in the heart of the Vulkathunha-Gammon Ranges National Park in the North Flinders Ranges.
The residency – October 9-30 this year – is open to artists from across the country working in any discipline.
Country Arts SA, which runs the scheme, says it is intended to allow artists to pursue their practice while immersed in a beautiful outback environment of historic significance. Vulkathunha-Gammon Ranges National Park is part of the traditional country of the Adnyamathanha people, with Grindell’s Hut located off the beaten track in the heart of the park on a hill with views of Illinawortina Pound and the Blue Range.
Grindell’s Hut 2021 Artist-in-Residence, Deborah Prior (picture above), called her experience “transformative and restorative.” “It challenged and expanded my thinking and creative processes in the studio; and increased my awareness and appreciation of the natural world.
Expressions of interest close at 5 p.m. June 24, with further information available here.
Face to face
A new portrait of Kaurna Elder Uncle Rodney (Rod) O’Brien has been unveiled at the Barr Smith Library at the University of Adelaide as part of National Reconciliation Week.
Uncle Rod is the university’s cultural adviser and the portrait, painted by local artist and Ngarrindjeri/Arrernte man Thomas Readett, shows him standing next to the Wangu Pole sculpture at the Kaurna Learning Circle on the North Terrace campus.
“I hope my portrait shows Indigenous people that I am valued by the university, and I hope to inspire other Indigenous people at the university, whether students, scholars or professional staff, to aim for the stars and achieve excellence,” he says. “Perhaps one day there will be an Aboriginal chancellor or vice-chancellor.”
The portrait of Uncle Rod is the centerpiece of the Face to face: embracing the portrait exhibit, which is in the Ira Raymond Exhibit Room at the Barr Smith Library until June 24.
The City of Adelaide this month presents a roundtable on inclusivity and accessibility through the arts.
The ‘Culture Club’ event – from 4.30pm to 6.30pm on June 16 at the Meeting Hall, 25 Pirie Street – will be hosted by Mayor Sandy Verschoor and will feature performances from the Restless Dance Theater and the Tutti Choir.
Panelists for the discussion are Kelly Vincent (True Ability), Michelle Ryan (Restless Dance Theatre), Liz McCall (Adelaide Symphony Orchestra), Gaelle Mellis (Tutti Arts) and Bec Young (Access2Arts). Event details and registrations here.
Green Room is a regular column for InReview, providing fast-paced news for those interested or involved in South Australian arts and culture.
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