All of us at Antipodes Theatre Company were absolutely thrilled to be launching our second year of programming (and first full season of shows) when the COVID-19 lockdown took effect. We were set to produce the Australian premiere of the musical MURDER FOR TWO in May, as well as the Victorian premiere of the TONY Award winning play THE HUMANS in October. (Both of these have now been slated for our 2021 season, with hopes of reuniting our entire roster of actors and creative team members.)
Our committee decided that we wanted to forge ahead with all other programming in an online setting, and so we got to work creating our 2020 Virtual Season. The ATC Drama Club was in the middle of their first Term when we began holding sessions on Zoom. We have since moved on to Term 2 – “The Artist As Creator” – with a focus on playwriting and storytelling. Led by Melissa David, this 10-week initiative will culminate in a Ten-Minute Play Festival, entirely written and produced by Drama Club members.
The Ricochet Reading Series – usually a bimonthly in-person event – is now being held monthly and features plays that have not yet been performed in Australia. We are live streaming these sessions via Facebook Live, which has allowed us to expand our potential audience and provide a larger platform for Australian writers.
We knew we didn’t want to miss out on the chance to host our inaugural Winter Development Retreat, which will become an annual event supporting new work and bold ideas. Taking place almost entirely online, this event features eight projects at various stages of development with over forty collaborators involved. It takes place from 17-28 June, 2020 and allows us to connect with people across Australia and around the world in order to bring together a community of artists in isolation.
Finally, we are fortunate to be partnering with Will Centurion who will lead a series of Mental Wellbeing Workshops for Artists. These sessions will allow participants to learn about and discuss a variety of topics, including managing stress, career anxiety, and coping with change.
The majority of funds raised will go toward supporting the artists involved, and we estimate that our 2020 Virtual Season will create over 100 roles for actors, directors, dramaturgs, instructors, and other creatives. The ATC Drama Club is free to attend and open to all ages. Part of ATC’s mission is to encourage diversity and collaboration, with at least 50% of all roles – on stage and off – filled by women, ethnically diverse artists, people with disabilities, trans and non-binary people, seniors, or other members of historically or culturally marginalized communities who are not well represented on stage.
For more information, visit antipodestheatre.com.