Inspiration is a compelling pursuit. (….) We can’t see the fox and maybe we never will. But we know the idea is there and well keep chasing. ATF is an opportunity to chase the tail. – Alicia Talbot
The Australian Theatre Forum ‘sold out’ before the program was released. We didn’t know what the days would hold but each of us trusted (or wildly hoped) that it would be worth a few days (or week for some) out of our work and other lives. Alicia Talbot has curated the program being presented to us and I don’t know how they all got in my head but gee #maketrouble
The outlaws and the boundary riders are the people who make it happen – Aicia Talbot
ATF in Alicia’s words is an opportunity to find the space to have the burning conversations. She was also impressed that people managed to not punch anyone this morning (during the Q and A after David Milroy’s keynote)
Alicia wished us the “best of half finished conversations“.
And then, and then. We had the pleasure of meeting Ria Papermoon from Papermoon Puppet Theatre. Ria is the founder and Co-Artistic director of Papermoon Puppet Theatre and visiting Australia as an international cultural visitor (via DFAT).
Like David, Ria’s spirit is something I could never hope to capture here. Her words were warm, welcoming and with the slightest hint of endearing nervousness.
I think some of you may have been to Indonesia. Like Bali. But you should ‘click’ come a bit further. – Ria Papermoon
Papermoon didn’t start as a puppet company, it was originally a free studio for children to engage with visual and performing arts until everything changed when over 1000 people died in serious earthquakes. People kept their kids close to them and stopped coming and Papermoon searched for and transitioned into something else.
Starting out with very simple object based puppets (found objects with eyes on them), Ria and her husband, the Co-Artistic Director of Papermoon
He is my husband so he has no choice (laughs) – Ria Papermoon
reached out for something more. In Indonesia, Ria explained there isn’t really a formal system or training to ‘become’ an artist, it’s very self identified “I’m artist. I’m artist. I’m artist. Just like that. ”
People thought Papermoon’s puppetry would be shadow puppetry (the traditional form in Indonesia) but Papermoon started exploring something different, something contemporary and something that no one else was doing in Indonesia. In the truest sense of DIY, Ria and her husband (and others that came along for the ride) did (and do) everything and had to learn from scratch how to make and build the puppets they wanted to create. They quite literally just started Googling things and giving everything a go.
During the process they discovered that puppet theatre could be for adults too and could explore darker territory so they’ve making work now for both children and adults.
(Worked with puppeteers from Germany and Australia including Snuff Puppets) Exchange learning that puppetry is not just for kids. Shakespeare dark gloomy stuff. Is this puppet theatre? Oh great, we can do this. – Ria Papermoon
Indonesia also has limited funding available and what is there is difficult to access so Papermoon has to find other ways to make things happen. They embody ‘doers’.
There is no other puppet company like us, because we can jump around and do whatever we want. But it’s also sad because I want to be sitting in the audience and seeing other things. – Ria Papermoon
Ria spoke about some of the specific shows they’ve created which Jane Howard covers in depth in her blog here so I won’t reiterate. Like David, earlier in the day Ria was equally inspiring, although in a wholly different way. Her willingness to ‘not know’ and to just try (and the willingness to admit it!) and the impressive list of collaborators they’ve worked with from across the globe struck a chord with me.
We learnt from the almighty Internet and google. We don’t know how it will work on stage. We just try. (…) It was sold out. – Ria Papermoon
I love the idea of cross cultural collaborations but am scared that really I’m just a bit too boring/will say something/am too inexperienced/etc/etc/etc. Ria really highlighted the value of residencies and reaching out to potential collaborators and mentors which was a pertinent reminder for me.
For us Art is a medium to communicate with people. (…) We’ve survived until now because of the audience – Ria Papermoon
Also one of the Ria’s collaborators has been the fantastic Mr Ben Fox (the elusive fox from Alicia’s intro?) who is steering the ship for #RAA2014. Seriously cool.
Did I mention I’m writing #tinytwitterpoem (s) during #ATF2013? Inspired by Katie Keys #tinylittlepoems (aka Kate Larsen, Director Writers Vic) during Kumuwuki (when I was first ‘exposed’) and other events.
Ria inspired a number of #tinytwitterpoem (s), take a peek here. One of the lovely writers from the Riverland Creative Writing Group, which I facilitate has also joined in with her own #tinytwitterpoem. Yay!