Performing artist and educator, Mark Hill, shares his experiences

HILL_Mark_lgThe QACI theatre community is very fortunate to have been able to work with international performer and educator, Mark Hill, during their studies of Butoh, an avant garde performance art that has its origins in Japan in the 1960s.

Take a look HERE at the video which features images from the three most recent editions of Butoh; ‘MIRE: 2012’, ‘wabisabi: 2013’ and ‘techne: 2014’.

In August 2014, Mark revisited QACI to share news of his latest ventures in performance art and education. The reflection below was written by an audience member of the ‘Artist Talk’ session:

The only thing that is constant is change’: a maxim with ancient roots but no less significant in our 21st century world than when philosopher Heraclitus first shared his wisdom as far back 550BC.

Such was the sentiment shared by Mark Hill, close friend and valued professional associate of the QACI Theatre community, when he visited to tell us about his most recent experiences in the world of physical theatre.

During a routine Wednesday lunchtime a group of us assembled to hear Mark’s story where he began as a Phys Ed. teacher, some 20-something years ago, to now as a physical theatre educator practising his passion with thousands of people in war torn Ugandan refugee camps. For Mark, as it is for all of us, change is inevitable and his advice to our aspiring Theatre artists is to buckle up and be prepared for it.

From his work with visionary Australian companies, Zen Zen Zo, The Danger Ensemble and De Quincey Co to international Butoh companies Dairakudakan (Japan) and SU-EN Butoh Company (Europe), Mark has enjoyed the full breadth of experience as a physical theatre artist. He generously shares his expertise and good humour with our own Theatre students taking QACI’s annual Butoh performances to new levels of physicality which reflect the essence of Butoh: to perform socially challenging concepts with a focus on change. ‘techne’, QACI’s 2014 Butoh edition, will be used by Mark as an educational stimulus on his next trip abroad as a visiting Butoh educator at various internationals schools.???????????????????????????????

Mark’s work with the non-government organisation ‘Theatre Versus Oppression’ (TVO) will soon return him to Uganda where he continues to use theatre to educate the displaced to help change the psychology of social issues which impact the integrity of their communities. Domestic violence and alcohol abuse are two issues that Mark is helping communities address and to this extent his desire is to support people who suffer these conditions to be their own change-agents. And it’s working.

Mark advocates the strength of the human will to overcome adversity and has witnessed firsthand the overwhelming desire of refugees to seek empowerment through education. Through TVO’s fundraising efforts ‘New Hope’, a refugee-community theatre company, has been established which uses theatre to fight oppression. In Mark’s words “this is the power of the Arts to achieve amazing things”.

Listening to Mark’s story was inspirational. All of the questions raised by the audience after his presentation were about his humanitarian work; it was apparent that this is an area of real interest for our developing Theatre students and a clear indication of the understanding they have about the universal power of their art to transform.

Mark’s closing advice encouraged us all to remain inquisitive, trust ourselves, take chances, and not to be afraid of change.

Change is an unstoppable momentum. To move along with it is to travel further.