Final Stop - Perth
48 hours ago I landed in Perth - it's been a whirl wind visit to see the worlds most remote capital city!
Coming from the scenic Sydney, Perth was a bit of a culture clash. It's has a bit more of an underworld to it, there is more visible poverty but by no means is this all it has to offer.
Perth has seen a recent boom in mining and so the extremes of wealth and poverty are visible - similar to London, Vegas or New York but Perth doesn't lack heart.
Everyone I met in Perth welcomed me with open arms, I had invites to dinner, offers to stay in beach houses and even presents!
Perth World Fringe is fairly new in terms of fringes but it's aspiring to be the global leader! Everyone who talks about the fringe says "...oh it really takes over the whole city" so my first meet was with Perth World Fringe!
The fringe gals were really helpful in sign posting me on where to present, who to talk to and how to sell a show. What became apparent from talking to them was their audience figures! Their numbers wipe the floor with other fringes, shows average 70% audiences - now that's a city that's behind the arts!
Most of Perth's arts spaces and galleries are situated in Northbridge or what city planners have re branded as the 'Cultural Quarter'. Check out the Blue Room in that part of town - they produce (and they make it very clear its hands off producing) new work by new or emerging artists. PICA is also a fun hangout with wall based art - reminded me of the ICA (RIP).
Connections is a stones throw from the arty bit but it's the place you're most likely to hang out. Imagine the RVT, Soho Theatre and Madam JoJo's under one roof! It's a bar, club, theatre, cabaret space, terrace bar, drag bar.... it's sort of everything. The owner Tim is brilliant and has a real vision for queer Perth. Needless to say we're going to be making shapes together!
After 16 days of meetings, turns, shows, planning, budgets, blogging and prepping I woke up this morning dead to the world. Fortunately my last few meets didn't happen so I found a bus going to the beach and laid down in the Indian Ocean.
Needless to say I now have an English tan and I'm sat in Perth airport ready for a 20 hour flight back to the UK.
It's been an amazing journey made possible by Arts Council England and British Council. I've really been able to get rooted here, meet the right people and start to plan how Australia becomes a place that will receive my work but most importantly how I can make work here.
I owe a massive thank you to Theatre Works for sponsoring me especially Daniel Clarke for all his hard work in getting the Aussie arts doors opened!
Australia is a place that is encouraging - the countries motto should be 'good on you' - people commend others who put their neck on the line. This mantra is infectious.
I hope I get to come back and realise some ideas. I'm not looking to break Australia, I'm hoping to build a network here, establish a queer family whilst making beautiful shows about ugly things.
London, I'm coming home.