Arts News Weekly: 29 May 2014

In this issue the Australia Council announces the National Indigenous Arts Awards winners, Animal Ark opens at AGWA, NICA announces its 2014 showcase, Polyglot Theatre's 'Drawbridge' hits Melbourne, Bell Shakespeare's Henry V tours Australia, some exciting Monty Python Live (Mostly) news is announced, Theatre Works and the Elbow Room collaborate with Hothouse Theatre, David Helfgott announces his Rach No.3, The Balnaves Foundation Indigenous Playwright’s Award winner is announced, Eight Gigabytes of Hardcore Pornography descends upon WA, and Jessee Willesee gets controversial again.

The Australia Council announces winners of the National Indigenous Arts Awards

Outstanding achievement in Indigenous arts was celebrated this week at the Australia Council’s National Indigenous Arts Awards. This year the Red Ochre, Australia’s most esteemed peer-assessed award for an Indigenous artist, was presented to senior visual artist Hector Tjupuru Burton. Awarded since 1993, the $50,000 prize acknowledges an artists’ outstanding contribution and lifetime achievement to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander arts at a national and international level.

Renowned Melbourne musicians Bart Willoughby and Dave Arden have each received Fellowships, which provides $45,000 a year for two years to create a major project.

The Dreaming Award provides $20,000 to a young artist aged 18-26 to create a major body of work through mentoring or partnerships. It has been awarded to interdisciplinary artist Tyrone Sheather.

Animal Ark opens 7 June at AGWA

Animals take over the walls of the Art Gallery of WA when AGWA’s latest exhibition, Animal Ark, opens on 7 June.

Drawn from the State Art Collection, this free exhibition explores how generations of artists have incorporated the animal motif in their work and invites people to consider how animals are integral to our lives.

For more information, visit

The National Institute of Circus Arts Presents Circus Showcase 2014 'ROUGE et BLANC'

The annual Circus Showcase at the National Institute of Circus Arts (NICA) is almost upon us and the final year circus students are busy refining their graceful, dynamic and captivating acts. The showcase, titled ROUGE et BLANC, will run from July 2 to 5 at the custom built National Circus Centre in Prahran.

For more information, visit

Australian premiere of Polyglot Theatre's 'Drawbridge' to Hit Melbourne

From 6-11 July at Federation Square, Australia’s Polyglot Theatre will join Indonesia’s Papermoon Puppet Theatre for the Australian premiere of Drawbridge. A cross cultural collaboration, Drawbridge is a giant walk through comic book created by artists from Australia and Indonesia alongside local school children from Victorian College for the Deaf and will bring Deakin Edge to life during the July school holidays.

This installation will build upon the first Drawbridge project in Merapi, Indonesia earlier this year. Polyglot artists worked with Papermoon to create an interactive theatre performance using local stories and the comic book form, which brought together whole communities from the Mt Merapi volcano area in an exceptional outdoor theatre performance.

For more information, visit

Bell Shakespeare’s Henry V to tour Australia

In an incredibly exciting new production of Henry V, Damien Ryan will direct his first main stage production for Bell Shakespeare, starring Michael Sheasby, Matthew Backer, Damien Strouthos and Eloise Winestock
A tale about a king who unites a nation with his eloquent words and ideas, his triumphs and humanity, this production will tour extensively around Australia, between June and November 2014.

For more details, visit

Monty Python Live (Mostly) to be Broadcast into Australian Cinemas on August 6

The historic last night of the Monty Pythons Live (Mostly) show from London’s The 02 concert arena is to be broadcast in cinemas across Australia on August 6.

Australian fans will now have the opportunity of joining in on one of the most anticipated live events of the year, a chance to say farewell to the Pythons on this last and special night. More than 100 cinemas across the country will take the broadcast on August 6 with selected follow-on broadcast dates also confirmed.

Tickets are on sale now. For more information, visit

Theatre Works and Elbow Room present The Motion of Light in Water in Association with Hothouse Theatre

This July, multi-award winning Melbourne company Elbow Room (2011 Green Room Awards, Best Director & Best Ensemble) present The Motion of Light in Water as part of Theatre Works Selected Works 2014.

Commissioned by Hothouse Theatre, this queer sci-fi love story celebrates the strength we find through our difference with a thrilling journey into the imaginative possibilities of science fiction, inspired by the life and work of a truly original and subversive figure, Samuel R. Delany and acclaimed poet, Marilyn Hacker.

For more information, visit

David Helfgott to perform Rachmaninov Piano Concerto No. 3 at the Sydney Opera House

One of Australia’s most-loved musicians, pianist David Helfgott, is set to return to the Sydney Opera House stage this August to perform the work that earned him worldwide fame in the Academy® Award winning film SHINE - Rachmaninov’s Piano Concerto No. 3 in D minor.

Widely known as the most technically demanding piano concerto ever written, Helfgott’s quest to conquer ‘The Rach 3’ was central to the 1996 film, SHINE. In 2014, Helfgott will embark on a brand new challenge, performing the piece in public for the first time ever for two pianos.

Tickets are on sale now. For more information, visit

Leah Purcell wins The Balnaves Foundation Indigenous Playwright’s Award

Acclaimed theatre, film and television maker Leah Purcell (Don’t Take Your Love to Town) has been announced as the winner of The Balnaves Foundation Indigenous Playwright’s Award 2014 at an event at the Belvoir St Theatre on Tuesday 27 May. The award was presented by Neil Balnaves AO, Director of The Balnaves Foundation and judge Wesley Enoch, Artistic Director of the Queensland Theatre Company.

‘Leah Purcell is a true woman of the theatre and a consummate professional,’ said Anthea Williams, Belvoir’s Literary Manager and a member of the judging panel for the Balnaves Award. ‘She directs, she acts, she sings – and she most certainly writes. Leah co-wrote Belvoir’s Don’t Take Your Love to Town and Box the Pony, both of which she also stared in. She’s also written for film and TV including the award winning Redfern Now (ABC1).

‘Leah’s pitch for the Balnaves Foundation Indigenous Playwright’s Award was a radical adaptation of Henry Lawson’s The Drover’s Wife. Leah has re-imagined the wife as an Aboriginal woman estranged from her culture. Quick witted, fast and theatrical, this pitch promises a surprising adaptation full of exciting twists.’

Eight Gigabytes of Hardcore Pornography to Hit the State Theatre of WA

After a near sell-out season at Griffin Theatre Company in Sydney, Eight Gigabytes of Hardcore Pornography hits the stage with Perth Theatre Company in July.

The play follows two unloved, unnamed forty-somethings that meet via online dating. Sheʼs a nurse with two kids, trapped in a cycle of catastrophic debt. Heʼs in IT, miserably married and trapped in his own cycle of nightly porn-trawling. Both crave something else – but not necessarily each other.

To book tickets, visit

Jesse Willesee Tackles "Youth on Sex Cams" in New Sydney Show

Artist Jesse Willesee has made headlines around the world over the past few months for his MARIJUANA IS NOT A CRIME and 420 protests, which saw the 27-year-old conceptual artist smoke marijuana outside six NSW police stations and Parliament House respectively. The protests were covered in the Daily Mail, Daily Telegraph, 2UE talk back radio and Channel 10's The Project.

But Jesse's new exhibition takes him back to his conceptual-art roots with a five-room installation featuring live "sex-cam workers". The new show, CAM GIRL/CAM BOY, will be staged inside the hotel rooms at Sydney's Darlo Bar, which will be purposely made-under to resemble a “seedy motel”. Male and female models will perform live camera work before an audience who can observe, participate or photograph them.

CAM GIRL/ CAM BOY goes live at Darlo Bar on June 19 from 7-9pm. Tickets are just $5 students/$10 adults at the door.