The February to June Darebin Arts Speakeasy season features a program of premieres and performances bigger than ever before, bursting with some of Australia’s most unique makers including Joe Paradise Lui, Elbow Room, Melissa Reeves & Susie Dee, Joel Bray, Riot Stage, Jessie Lloyd and Alisdair Macindoe.
The season includes projects which were unable to proceed in 2020 due to COVID-19 as well as new content developed specifically for the 2021 season. The July – December programming will be announced in the coming months.
First cab off the rank is LET’S TAKE OVER, where 10 young artists aged 15-25 and Darebin Arts Speakeasy are given the keys to Northcote Town Hall Arts Centre for 19 – 20 February. They’re taking over and bringing you something you’ll never forget. Experience their participatory artworks—from questions about perspective, colonisation, language, climate anxiety, mental health and gender, to what it’s like to be a teen in 2021. You’ll witness everything from film, performance and poetry, to grocery shopping—heck, you might even be able to do some laundry!
Next up, from 10 – 20 March, is the premiere of ENLIGHTENMENT by acclaimed Melbourne theatre makers Elbow Room and written by Singapore-born, Perth-based artist Joe Paradise Lui. Re-imagining two characters from a towering story of Lui’s childhood – the young prince Siddhartha, and the magical Monkey from ‘Journey to the West’ – as young women in contemporary Australia, ENLIGHTENMENT is part romantic comedy, part crime saga, part cosmic fever dream, and features illustrations by renowned artist and activist 巴丢草 (Badiucao), the subject of ‘China’s Artful Dissident’. Performed in English with Mandarin surtitles.
REFERENCE MATERIAL, by choreographer Alisdair Macindoe, is a new dance work exploring the process and history of dancemaking in the age of narcissism and digital interdependence, and can be seen from 14 – 24 April. Sitting somewhere between a lecture, a stand-up show, a guided tour, and a dance recital, REFERENCE MATERIAL is a chaotic and humorous performance that reflects a world saturated by media technology.
In Riot Stage’s EVERYONE IS FAMOUS, from April 21 – 31, nine young folk wade through the wasteland of the internet to find themselves. The internet is the Wild West. Persona in 2021 is post-ironic, post-truth, post and delete, pre-apocalypse and politically charged. It is freeing, it is constricting, it is genderbending/breaking/ignoring. It is Cardi, it is catfishers, it is completely new, it is Hype House, it is Rachel Dolezal, it is red vs. blue, it is Fyre Festival, it is #like4like, it is Miley, it is Kylie, it is filtered and honed. It is up to you. It is an art. It is a career. It is breaking all the rules. It is more complicated than ever.
CONSIDERABLE SEXUAL LICENCE by acclaimed dancer and creative Joel Bray features from 11 – 22 May. Through gentle and carefully staged interactivity, this contemporary performance invites participants to consider the impacts of colonisation on ideas and expressions of sex, sex positivity, consent, and societal queerness. The performance is directed by Bray alongside acclaimed theatre-maker Stephen Nicolazzo.
Searching for the secular songs that were sung after church, Jessie Lloyd explores the day-to-day life on the missions, settlements and reserves through music in MISSION SONGS PROJECT, produced by Performing Lines, in June. Presented as an acoustic trio, Jessie Lloyd takes audiences on a musical journey across Australia with rare songs performed by an extraordinary trio of Indigenous musicians and consisting of almost forgotten stories that illuminate the history of our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Elders, families and communities. This one-off performance can be seen on Saturday 1 May at Darebin Arts Centre.
June also sees the arrival of ARCHIMEDES WAR by Melissa Reeves and directed by highly reputed theatre maker Susie Dee (Anthem, Melbourne Festival 2019). The performance, from 9 – 19 June, is a dark comedy exploring the frightening depersonalisation of modern warfare, where waging war can look like a video game and playing video games has real-life consequences.
Celebrating its 8th birthday in 2021, Darebin Arts Speakeasy presents a creative and challenging contemporary performing arts program by emerging and established artists presented at Northcote Town Hall Arts Centre and Darebin Arts Centre. For further information on the Feb – June season, please visit www.darebinarts.com.au