This week we speak to Laura Scrivano, a very talented young woman who seems to be able to do everything. She was a QSS-Resident last year developing the Australian première of Sweet Bird andsoforth, which had its opening night at the Wharf last night.
You had a Performing Arts Residency here at Queen Street Studio back in April 2010, developing Sweet Bird andsoforth. It’s finally about to hit the stages now — what’s it like to work on something for so long? Do you feel like you’ve been pregnant for over a year?
Ha! Yes, it had been a nearly a year between the creative development and the world première season. Although it took a bit longer than we would have liked to secure a season and financial support for the project, it’s actually been a blessing in disguise. We used our Performing Arts Residency at QSS to develop the English translation with Benjamin Winspear, secure the key cast and work through the language to the heart of the play. Having time after our three week intensive to let the work develop organically and sit with the key creatives was artistically enriching, and on a practical level, gave us time as independent producers to secure the level of support required to realise our vision for the production.
On a personal level, I also got pretty busy making my first short film, assistant directing on Zebra! for Sydney Theatre Company, and directing two mini-operas for Opera Australia in June. So whilst we chipped away at bringing Sweet Bird andsoforth to the stage, I managed to birth a few other artistic projects too!
Amanda and her friends live in a small country town where everything is “eternallysameyandendlesslyboring”. When Amanda decides to explore the bare wide world, her friends throw her a farewell party on the hill overlooking the town. However, nothing goes quite as planned…
Sweet Bird andsoforth captures the moment when we are faced with growing up, stepping out into the world and deciding where we fit. Coupled with stunningly poetic dialogue, a sharp soundtrack, the intensity of young love and a lot of alcohol…the best way we can describe it is Shakespeare meets Skins (with a little bit of Beckett and Chekhov thrown in!). Playwright Laura Naumann is one of the rising stars in Germany and has won a couple of literary awards for the play. We have a wonderful young cast including Geraldine Hakewill (Baal), Fleur Beaupert (Heartbreak High) and Sonny Vrebac (Sleeping Beauty), with design by the amazing Hanna Sandgren (Cunning Little Vixen) and Video by Steve Toulmin (Edward Gant, Tot Mom).
A simple Google search on you and the roles director, performer, performance maker, blogger, musician, filmmaker (have I missed anything?) all pop up … is there a role you identify with most? Is it satisfying to straddle so many disciplines?
Most of my work is as director and filmmaker (which also involves writing) so those are the roles than I identify with the most. However, I really love collaborative theatre-making and I guess that’s where the other roles tend to come in. I find the cross fertilisation of artistic disciplines keeps me inspired and allows me to acquire diverse (and often very useful) skills.
It is also an economic imperative that, as an artist living in Sydney, you need to be multi-skilled in order to make a living! The only role I don’t identify is that of performer. The last time I performed I think it was an accident (and not one I’d like to repeat!).
You’re on Twitter, you blog, you’ve worked on some unique projects which utilise social media in new ways to generate and broadcast content … Is social media changing the arts and if so is this a good thing?
Absolutely… and generally I think social media is changing the arts for the better. I especially love twitter in the way it decentralises and disseminates information. It provides a great platform for artists to discuss issues, share articles, images, film clips and promote your own artwork. However, for most arts companies at the moment, social media remains the domain of marketing departments.
I’d like to see more social media in the hands of artists…
and the use of digital platforms to artistically engage and move audiences.
And lastly, what else can we expect to see from you this year?
Well, having done four shows back to back this year (including Sweet Bird) I’m having a few weeks off in September. Holiday! Then I’m off to Crack Theatre Festival (part of This is Not Art in Newcastle) to present a site-specific work and in November I’m developing a new work with UK company Hoipolloi at Carriageworks. In between that, I’ll be writing my next short film and developing a couple of feature ideas that have been kicking around.
Is anyone else feeling a little tired after just reading about all the things Laura’s been up to? Phew!
Sweet Bird andsoforth is on until 10 September at Studio 1, Pier 4/5, The Wharf, as part of ATYP’s Under The Wharf Season and presented by Mess Hall. QSS-Members can get a special ticket price of just $23 by using the code word “GOETHE” when booking online or over the phone. Click here to book online or call (02) 9270 2400.