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The Update - September 26, 2017

ABR Arts 26 September 2017

The Update - September 26, 2017

ABR Arts 26 September 2017

AA 26 Sept 550

Recent ABR Arts reviews

Marriage equality

ABR Rainbow rectangle 400More than 100 writers, artists, directors, lawyers, commentators, and public figures have signed Australian Book Review’s Open Letter, declaring their support for marriage equality. Signatories include David Malouf, J.M. Coetzee, Helen Garner, Neil Armfield, Geraldine Brooks, Robyn Archer, Kip Williams, and Brett Sheehy.

‘The debate is about equality – no more, no less. Gays and Lesbians serve in our defence and police forces, they educate our children and work in our hospitals, they entertain us and illuminate our lives through literature and the performing arts. The time for distrust and discrimination is over,’ said ABR’s Editor and CEO Peter Rose.

The Open Letter is published in ABR’s October Environment issue, and can be accessed here.

Sydney Theatre Company 2018

The Sydney Theatre Company has announced its 2018 season – the first with Kip Williams as Artistic Director. Highlights include Hugo Weaving in Bertolt Brecht’s The Resistable Rise of Arturo Ui, Neil Armfield’s return to the STC in Ngarrindjeri writer H. Lawrence Sumner’s The Long Forgotten Dream, and two satirical plays exploring race relations by Nakkiah Lui. Playwright and actor Kate Mulvany has adapted three of Ruth Park’s best-known novels – Missus, The Harp in the South, and Poor Man’s Orange – for the two-part production The Harp in the South. Kip Williams will direct Patrick White’s great play A Cheery Soul, which was last performed at STC in 2001.

The Long Forgotten DreamWayne Blair will star in Sydney Theatre Company's 2018 production of The Long Forgotten Dream (image courtesy of Sydney Theatre Company)


‘I’ve aimed to put together works that reflect our city and our community,’ said Kip Williams. ‘The writing comes from some of the world’s great playwrights, who give lively and expressive shape to timely questions around political leadership, social responsibility, gender equality, and race relations.’

Visit STC’s website to view the full season.

Molto von Karajan!

Remember when David Marr – as compère of Media Watch – would mock popular magazines’ astronomical cover claims – e.g. '268 Cures for Varicose Veins' and '423 Ways to Avoid Liposuction'.

Universal Music is employing this method in advertising its new CD compilations. The new Karajan – Complete Recordings on Deutsche Grammophon and Decca (released 3 November 2017) runs to (drum roll!) 356 discs, comprising 330 CDs, 24 DVDs, and 2 Blu-ray Audio. That should keep you busy over summer.

American Song

Red Stitch Actors Theatre’s Joe Petruzzi will feature in the Australian première of American Song (3 October – 5 November 2017), an intimate play exploring parenting, love, and the question: ‘What could I have done differently?’ Petruzzi plays Andy, who has accumulated all the things to lead a ‘good life’: love, work, friendship, family. But unforeseen events lead him to ‘unimagined places’ and turn his good life ‘irredeemably wrong’. Fiona Gruber will be reviewing American Song for ABR Arts.

American SongJoe Petruzzi


Thanks to Red Stitch Actors Theatre, two new or renewing subscribers to ABR will receive double passes to American Song. For more details visit our giveaways section below.

Brett Dean returns to the SSO

Sydney Symphony Orchestra’s Artist in Residence Brett Dean will return to the SSO to conduct Dream Sequence, a program of large-ensemble contemporary music performed at Sydney’s Carriageworks. The program will include première performances of violinist Errki Veltheim’s ‘Prelude and Coda’ and a new work by sonic artist James Hulick. Other performances will include Liza Lim’s ‘The Heart’s Ear’, a meditation on a fragment of a Sufi melody, and Đuro Živković's instrumental cantata ‘On the Guarding of the Heart’, inspired by the works of Bach. Dream Sequence will be performed at Carriageworks at 5 pm on Sunday, 15 October 2017.

In Cahoots

Artists from six Aboriginal art centres have collaborated with leading independent artists from around the country to produce new works through a series of artist residencies. Cahoots: Artists Collaborate across Country, presented by Fremantle Arts Centre, explores the nature of artistic collaborations between arts centres and Indigenous and non-Indigenous artists.

IN CAHOOTS2 Media Release 2017Warakurna Superhero #2 (detail) by Tony Albert, Ranisha Ward Yates, and David Collins (image courtesy of the artists, Sullivan+Strumpf, and Warakurna Artists)


The Mangkaja Arts Centre (WA) has teamed up with Sydney designer Trent Jansen to create works focusing on creature mythologies of the Kimberley using wood, metal, human hair, and fabricated materials; Buku-Larrnggay Mulka Arts Centre’s (NT) Ishmael Marika has worked with Perth-based artist Curtis Taylor to explore Martu and Yolngu culture through an installation combining carved wooden spears and video components; and Baluk Arts, from Victoria’s Mornington Peninsula, have invited Perth-based artist Neil Aldum to produce a work that ‘speaks of personal stories’ through sculpted clay, wood, kelp, and other materials counterbalanced with igneous rocks collected from Shoreham Beach.

The Cahoots project will culminate in an exhibition on Friday, 24 November 2017 at the Fremantle Arts Centre, Western Australia.

Pine Gap

Video streaming giant Netflix, in partnership with the ABC, has commissioned the production company Screentime to produce Pine Gap, a six-hour political thriller set in central Australia. The show, inspired by ‘modern geopolitical tensions’, will take place in and around the US and Australian joint defence facility that shares its name.

Pine Gap will be supported by the South Australian Film Corporation (SAFC) and the South Australian State Government. Pine Gap commences pre-production in Adelaide in November.

2017 Australian Dance Awards

The winners of the 2017 Australian Dance Awards were announced at a ceremony hosted by Yana Alana and Benjamin Hancock at the Arts Centre, Melbourne on Sunday 24 September.

Ako Kondo (Vic.) took home the award for Outstanding Performance by a Female Dancer for her performance in Coppélia. Kondo plays the leading role in The Australian Ballet’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, which was given a glowing five-star review by Lee Christofis for ABR Arts. Benjamin Hancock (Vic.) won the award for Outstanding Performance by a Male Dancer for his role as the abused petrushka marionette in Lucy Guerin’s The Dark Chorus. Guerin won the Award for Outstanding Achievement in Choreography for her work, which was performed at the 2016 Melbourne Festival (and reviewed by Andrew Fuhrmann for ABR Arts) and attended by ABR Arts during this year’s Dark Mofo festival in Hobart. For the second year running, Bangarra Dance Theatre (NSW) won the award for Outstanding Performance by a Company, this year for OUR Land People Stories.

Ako Kondo AAAko Kondo


The awards were presented by a number of prominent arts figures, including David McAllister, Robina Beard, and Jonathan Holloway.

Dec' Arts Spectacular: Decorative Arts from the Hamilton Gallery Collection, until 5 November 2017

Melbourne curators Christopher Menz, Patricia Begg, and Geoffrey Edwards form the triumvate for Hamilton Gallery’s inaugural decorative arts guest curator program for Dec' Arts Spectacular. Each has been given access to the gallery's fine collection of decorative arts to create an exhibition of selected highlights. Christopher Menz (former Director of the Art Gallery of South Australia and a frequent contributor to ABR Arts) chose contemporary Australian decorative arts, Geoffrey Edwards glass, and Patricia Begg Japanese teawares. The result is a rich and beautiful collection of fine and exquisite objects. It’s worth a trip to Victoria’s glorious Western Districts to see one of Australia's best public collections of decorative arts.

Hamilton DecArts AA


Fred Williams in the You Yangs – until 5 November

The largest major exhibition of Australian painter Fred Williams’s oeuvre opened at the Geelong Gallery on 18 August 2017. Fred Williams in the You Yangs features more than fifty paintings, drawings, and prints. They reveal how the You Yangs, a series of granite ridges rising above the Werribee Plain in Victoria, influenced Williams’s work during the early 1960s to the late 1970s, and altered the way in which the Australian landscapes was depicted in art.

Irena Zdanowicz will review the exhibition for ABR Arts.

Metanastes at fortyfivedownstairs

On October 11, the second instalment of the phenomenally successful Taxithi: Metanastes (The Immigrants) will be performed for one night only. Helen Yotis Patterson has gathered personal stories from Greek and Cypriots who migrated to Australia during the 1950s, 1960s, and 1970s, and carved out new lives for themselves as ‘factory workers, business men, and risk takers’. A reading will be accompanied by Greek music of the time.

OperaQ 2018 season

Highlights of OperaQ’s recently announced 2018 season include an ‘old-school Hollywood glamour take’ on Franz Lehár’s The Merry Widow, a collaboration with Queensland Art Gallery & Gallery of Modern Art (QAGOMA), and Don Giovanni starring baritone Duncan Rock. In keeping with OperaQ’s ‘investment in regional audiences and arts’, Lindy Hume’s Ruddigore, or The Witch’s Curse! will tour the Gold Coast, Rockhampton, Mackay, Townsville, Cairns, and Toowoomba in August 2018. Auditions will be held earlier in the year for more than 100 regional Queenslanders to perform in the choruses of Ruddigore. Successful applicants will receive training in ‘singing, dancing, and stagecraft’.

The Merry Widow Image by James RogersThe Merry Widow (photograph by James Rogers)


This is the final OperaQ program for outgoing Artistic Director Lindy Hume, who will make way for Patrick Nolan in November 2017. For more information on the 2018 season visit OperaQ’s website.


Thanks to Red Stitch Actors Theatre, two new or renewing subscribers to ABR will receive double passes to American Song at Red Stitch Actors Theatre, St Kilda East at 8 pm on Friday, 6 October 2017.

BlueThanks to Transmission Films, we have ten double passes to Final Portrait starring Geoffrey Rush (in cinemas October 5) and another ten to the new documentary about marine conservation from Karina Holden, Blue (October 12).

Final Portrait poster smallTo be eligible for these giveaways, you must be a current or new paid subscriber to the print edition of ABR or to ABR Online. To be in the running please email Grace Chang at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. with your full name and contact details. Preference is given to subscribers who have not received a giveaway in recent months.

From the New Issue

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