The Brisbane Anywhere Festival kicked off on May 4th and included many performances by our Year 12 Theatre students. The extraordinary work by these students has ensured another very successful year for QACI’s partnership with the Festival. It gives our students the opportunity to exhibit the uniqueness and quality of the programs afforded them. Whilst the Festival celebrates diversity, achievement and excellence and cherishes supporters, volunteers, audiences, participants, consumers, makers, creators, keepers and distributors of arts and culture, it is a way of sharing stories with our community and a forum where emerging artists can develop and showcase their praxis.
Every individual performance enables the wider community to be immersed in the culture and creativity here at QACI. It is also an opportunity for local business and enterprise groups to play a part as host venues for a variety of performance and installation related entertainment. Our Theatre staff, Katie Fletcher, Simon Tate and Stephen Matthias have worked tirelessly to ensure successful community engagement for each of the performing students.
Year 12 theatre student, Samantha Hammond shares her reflection about the festival…
Every performance I have participated in as part of QACI’s Theatre program has been memorable. There were our cling-wrapped and stone-throwing-filled performances in Term 1 of Year 10; our Living Libraries, featuring pasta, rabid dogs, and red wool; and Coming Home, a tale of personal myth (in which I got to sit on the piano—the highlight of my QACI career). Then we had our Shakespeare/Ancient Greek directing showcase, our Epic Rally, Illusive to showcase our Absurd shows—and who could forget the contortions of Butoh? It’s certainly been a journey.
It seems right to say that the performances recently undertaken by my Year 12 ensemble as part of the Anywhere Theatre Festival represented the absolute pinnacle of our theatrical journey. These were our final major QACI performances, entirely self-devised. We had no limitations on what we could create; we were in charge of organising our own performance space, our own audiences. In many ways, it was a milestone—a celebration of what we’ve learned and how far we’ve come since those embarrassing Year 10 performances.
But for me, I prefer to see the Anywhere performance as just another step along the path of developing my artistry. I don’t think I will ever experience such a thing as a “perfect” performance that I can point to and say, “That one—that’s who I am as an artist. That’s the best of me.” If there’s one thing my QACI Theatre journey has taught me, it’s that no performance is flawless—and that flaws are a good thing. Each performance teaches us new things about what it means to make good art.
In my article about last year’s Year 12 cohort’s Anywhere Fest pieces, I wrote the following:
Our Year Twelves fully supported the aims of the Festival. Reviews of their performances all comment on the astounding maturity of their work, especially in relation to their age. At QACI, we like to say that there’s no such thing as an emerging artist. Theatre is about communication, about connection with an audience, and age doesn’t factor into the equation. If you’re able to create a word for something that hasn’t been said before, if you’re able to articulate something no one dares to say, if you can create something new or rework something old, you’re an artist.
I am so proud of and thankful to my ensemble for proving me my right this year in delivering profound and beautiful performances over the past few weeks. The Anywhere Festival was a powerful close to the QACI chapter of my artistic praxis. And as such, it was bittersweet. At the end of this year (at the end of Term 3!) my ensemble and I will leave the guidance of Tate, Matthias, and Fletch; we will leave the studio and the QACI theatre; some of us may even leave the industry altogether. But at the risk of sounding clichéd, I am excited for us to begin the new chapter of our creative lives—no matter how we choose to do it. Let’s celebrate the milestone we’ve passed, and continue to celebrate as we move forward into our futures.
Samantha Hammond, Year 12