Urban Myth

I was never an Urban Myther through my youth, but in 2012, the company allowed me my first chance to Production Manage a show professionally when I also stage managed their premiere production of The Girl Who Was 100 Girls at their (then) brand new home the Goodwood Institute.

I’d been chatting to Glen about the show, and chance to work with him and his company, for a while, and after having seen the cramped but well utilised original location in Unley, I knew just a little what a big exciting step forward the move to the under utilised, beautiful, hidden gem of the Goodwood Institute would be for Urban Myth.

Extra rehearsal spaces, galleries, a new performance space or two, a new and excited council and community to engage with, employment opportunities for a host of locals to run, manage and coordinate it all, and the prospect of oh so much more.. the Institute was just what Urban Myth needed to step up and develop the next phase of its existence as not just the place young people could go to play act and learn about theatre, but which would support them for as long as they wanted to be engaged with the arts. And boy, did these young people want in to the arts.

Over more than 30 years, Urban Myth has been providing a home for young people across Adelaide to feel safe, creative, and learn all about the team work, confidence and skills involved in both performing and working in the creative arts. Through games, trust exercises and just making good (really good) theatre, the company has franchised the disenfranchised (if that’s a term) put smiles on faces and helped create a LOT of the faces which have gone from Adelaide to all the best arts training colleges around the country.. then come back for their industry start, and to give back to the little company that gave them theirs.

In my experience, Urban gave everyone a great, safe, space to explore and grow. With likeminded folk all around, and all supportive, everyone thrived. Engaging with some of Adelaide’s finest designers, directors, and creative personnel to deliver workshops and create new and innovative works, all involved learnt heaps, and found themselves giving back even more. Inevitably, productions were top notch, and – though biased because I worked on it – there was something extra wonderful about 100 Girls, a work new and written specially for the ensemble.

But I speak with too many ‘was’es and past tenses. Too much like Urban Myth is a gone dead thing of the past. And I don’t want that.

Unfortunately, news out of the company lately has suggested this might soon be the case, with the following issued as part of the press release detailing the impending meeting to discuss the voluntary winding up of the company.

“After having 63% of their funding cut when Australia Council withdraw their triennial funding in 2011, a lot of companies would not have been able to keep their doors open. Urban Myth has done everything it can to stay alive over the last 3 years for its members and community by trying to build alternate sources of revenue including moving into the Goodwood Institute.

Unfortunately, on the back of post GFC, 2 elections (state/federal), pressure on corporate sponsorship dollars, competitiveness with grants and a variety of unforeseen challenges with licensing/WHS and heritage restrictions within the Institute, the company has not been successful in building alternate revenue streams fast enough. While it has decreased reliance on government funding to less than 25% which is incredibly unique for the not-for-profit space, unfortunately cash flow constraints have led to the making of this decision.” [Source: http://urbanmytheatrecompany.blogspot.com.au/]

I hope it doesn’t come to this because young people need spaces and places like Urban Myth to discover themselves, build confidence and grow into active community members. (Hell, I wish I was an Urban Myther when I was growing up!)

Sure, Adelaide now has the True North Youth Theatre Ensemble, [http://truenorthyouththeatreensemble.com.au/], and Cirkidz [http://www.cirkidz.org.au/], and others, all of which are Awesome at doing similar things to what Urban Myth has always done (I specifically, as an adult, attended class at Cirkidz and LOVED it!) but there is an energy, and a heritage, about Urban Myth that takes a very very very long time to foster. Cirkidz have it too, but they don’t do theatre like Urban Myth does theatre. There are generations of artists who got their start there, found their essential selves within its walls, and put themselves back on the rails when they found they were at risk of going off. If it goes, Urban leaves behind an awesome legacy, and a new generation of disenfranchised youth. If we lose it now Adelaide will never have another theatre focussed youth group quite like Urban Myth. So lets hope it stays shall we? For our sakes, the mere mortals staring in wonder at the achievements and storytelling of the stellar individuals within it.

And then there’s the theatre. Adelaide needs the 212 seat Goodwood Institute Theatre, its incredibly deep stage and just a very short tram ride away from the CBD location. With a revitalised Adelaide arts scene, regularly open bar/cafe and forward planning, the Institute is the venue Adelaide vocally craves, and with some work to help it and Urban out of the funding shortfall, it could still, very very easily become profitable, and Adelaide’s answer to the Malthouse Theatre, with everyone in the state reaping the rewards of a richer creative scene and venue for hire.

So this, I guess, is my contribution to the staggering number of messages, comments and passionate pleas currently going around about Urban Myth.

Adelaide needs Urban Myth. We need what it gives to the young people who come through its doors and walk taller on their way out. We need our creatives nurtured. We need it to exist, and we need it to be financially stable and sustainable. Better minds than mine know how to accomplish this best, but I for one would like, before the company dies, every effort at every level made to secure it the stability it needs to exist long into the future.

Alas, I don’t know how we do that, but if you have any ideas, money or know of powerful people who could help, please get in touch with the company via its website.

- Stephen Moylan, LinkAdelaide founder and Freelancer

Check out our Twitter Feed..

Twitter. Cool. Do that.

But the substance of this post is not about Twitter. I was just on Twitter, but this is to reveal I’m a little bit excited about something.

Not the budget. The budget is beyond horrible for me and you and the arts and humanity but I promised I wasn’t going to make this about the budget because it all feels too devastating and I’m not qualified to give proper judgement on it, so I’ll shut up and bugger I’ve made this now longer about the budget than about Twitter or anything else.

Okay. Well. Now that only the true readers are still reading, the thing I’m excited about is the new podcast I’m planning. It’ll come up on the LinkAdelaide podcast feed, and feature some awesome people and things.

To that end, I want to speak to awesome people for the podcast. If you do something (anything) and think other people might find you or it interesting (but especially if you get told what you do is cool, or interesting, or one-of-a-kind) please shoot me an email STAT! on info@linkadelaide.com.au so I can get in touch and we can sort out an interview time..

More details about the podcast will be revealed in due course. Meanwhile, actually check out LinkAdelaide’s Twitter feed – we retweet interesting stuff about and by people doing good stuff in Adelaide. :)

Thanks,

Stephen

Inspiration

Note:

Previous post/activity here inspired by friends. Not least of whom Mr S K Y E G E L L M A N N. (Skye Gellmann) whose blog is linked here and whom is a tremendous circus performer/acrobat and artistic professional ex-Adelaide whom I finally met in Melbourne a few years ago through another friend after hearing only amazing things about him during my time as an Adult student of Cirkidz in the mid-2000s. (A group I joined after chatting to and being inspired by the work of the Rambutan Circus Collective, which included Skye’s brother in their lineup, after witnessing them – I think – at one of the SUPA-MEGA-FASHION nights at the original Higher Ground which was located on Rundle St in the old IMAX theatre which is now the Palace EastEnd.)

Hello Again

LinkAdelaide began, in May approximately 4 years ago today, in 2010.

Now, in 2014, as we enter our fifth year, more is on the cards. So a quick post here to request your attendance at http://www.linkadelaide.com.au.

Yes, there’s still a lot of stuff up there about events long past, but hidden inside (and the perpetual ‘Coming Soon’ could be written at this point too..) are the germs of what’s to come, and that’s frightfully exciting.

Also, our own blog, which kind of replaced what was here sporadically in the past.

This will change too, and possibly I might make this WordPress site slightly more personal as I leave linkadelaide.com.au to my business interests, which, as from the start, are carried out more in the third person separate but conjoined to mine own self.

Still, enough of the late night ramble.

Congrats to Austria on the Eurovision win, and stay tuned for more updates soon..

Stephen Moylan

(Everyone at LinkAdelaide)

Developing an audience for a writer « No Plain Jane

Developing an audience for a writer « No Plain Jane.

 

Just discovered this post on Adelaide Theatre Critic, Jane Howard’s blog, featuring a quote from Ross Mueller about developing audiences for new writers, and an inability (in Ross’s opinion) for Melbourne artists to have opportunities like those (apparently) available in Sydney – with Ross’ example Lachlan Philpott’s Silent Disco, recently performed to rave reviews in a collaboration between the Australian Theatre for Young People (www.atyp.com.au) and Griffin Theatre Company (www.griffintheatre.com.au).

My comments are at the bottom of Jane’s post, and reprinted below.

..

Response 1 (27/10/2011 – 12:12am):

Jane, you might be interested in looking at the work of MKA in Melbourne (www.mka.org.au). I’ve worked with them before and their commitment to building audiences for budding Australian writers is amazing. Sold out seasons in pop up venues for exciting and emerging Australian writers this year, and their latest Open Season (starting very, VERY soon) will see a huge number of works by new Australian writers shown to audiences, performed and directed by even more emerging artists.

Through my involvement with MKA, I’m rapidly developing a list of writers whose work excites me, and whose careers I plan to follow with my attendance at their shows.

Response 2 (27/10/2011 – 12:16am):

In Adelaide, Duende is working hard to provide opportunities in this state for emerging writers through their regular staged reading sessions in the studio space at the Bakehouse. (search for them on Facebook for more details).

Overall, I think that, as these companies grow (both Duende and MKA are still relatively new players in their respective markets) and organically build audiences through well chosen, well produced work, so will the opportunities for new artists to develop their careers – and audiences.

LinkAdelaide looks forward to it. :)