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Archive for September, 2013

Bright Sparks Conference | Keynote Speaker Clare Bowditch

Clare Bowditch

ARIA winner Clare Bowditch is set to inspire attendees of this year’s creative business conference

ARIA-award winning singer, Clare Bowditch, will be a keynote speaker at Murray Arts’ Bright Sparks 2013 conference in October.

This unique event brings together a talented line-up of industry professionals who are succeeding across the spectrum of creative industries in a program aimed at inspiring, motivating and offering practical advice and skills to people who work or aspire to make a living in a creative field.

It’s a subject close to the heart of Clare Bowditch who understands the challenges faced by creatives striving to achieve commercial as well as artistic success. The singer-songwriter stars in hit TV show Offspring and was named Rolling Stone Magazine’s Woman of the Year in 2010. She launched Big Hearted Business this year, offering mentoring and practical business skills training to groups of 20 creative people trying to make a living from their artistic talent.

For Bright Sparks, she will offer a singing workshop as well as a keynote address: Sensitive Creative Types – A Real Life Survival Guide.

Celebrated furniture designer, Mark Tuckey, will also share the benefit of experience at this year’s Bright Sparks. Tuckey embarked on his road to success 25 years ago with $200, a blue F-100 truck and some recycled timber. Now with a staff of 45, showrooms in Melbourne and Sydney and a homewares store on Sydney’s northern beaches, he qualified to talk on the subject of  Turning Your Passion into your Business.

The program includes a number of other creative industry practitioners who will share their insights through workshops and panel discussions, to cover a raft of topics including social media, building business plans, networking, business partnerships and digital software.

Now in its second year, Bright Sparks attracted more than 60 graphic and fashion designers, publishers, writers, film makers, visual and performing artists to the inaugural event event in 2012.

Full program details & bookings here 



Lane Cove Council is calling for expressions of interest from local and Greater Sydney artists, designers and craftspeople interested in participating in a recycled reindeer project to coincide with Christmas 2013.

Seven artists/designers/craftspeople will be commissioned to design and build a three dimensional, weather-resistant reindeer sculpture using recycled and repurposed materials. The completed works will pop-up in various locations throughout the local area in December 2013.

Council is seeking designs that are innovative, imaginative and bold.

Successful proposals will be of a high standard in both concept and execution, while recognising public safety concerns and durability.

Commissioned artists will be paid a one off payment of $1000. Council will also contribute up to $250 towards the cost of materials and, if required, a wire reindeer frame.

The project has been designed to highlight the need to think carefully about our waste at Christmas time. It encourages the community to interact and engage with issues of sustainability through innovative artistic practice using recycled and reappropriated materials.

The Recycled Reindeer project is an initiative of Lane Cove Council and is funded by the Sustainability Levy.

To register your interest, and obtain a copy of the artist brief and application form, please contact Council’s Cultural Development Officer on: cultural {at}

Completed applications must be received by FRIDAY 11 OCTOBER 2013 and will be selected by Lane Cove Council’s Internal Public Art Committee.

All applicants will be notified by email and successful parties will be provided with further project details.

Miss Julie – “by Simon Stone after August Strindberg” @ Belvoir Theatre



Simon Stone’s Miss Julie, playing at the Belvoir Theatre, brings us a shrilly precocious, teenage Julie (played by Taylor Ferguson in a stage debut) who wields her nymphet sexuality like a lightsaber she can’t quite get a grip of, and a likeable rogue, Jean, (Brendan Cowell), whose dreams of social mobility turn him into bumbling predator at the mercy of his own lust.

Stone’s adaptation shifts details to create a highly-strung tension relevant to a modern Australian audience. In the original Strindberg play from 1888, Julie is a nobleman’s 25 year old daughter whose tryst with “the help” (namely the socially ambitious servant, Jean) poses the threat of a scandal she fears she cannot live with. Stone seemingly deemed this suicidal Miss Julie scarcely believable in the 21st Century.

In this version, the moral danger is crafted by lowering Julie’s age to 16 and captures the very essence of the original story’s power struggle, which at the heart is about class and sex. The female lead’s father is ever-absent, having charged Jean, his driver, with the responsibility of minding his adolescent daughter and keeping her rebellious mischief out of the media spotlight.

Unapologetically contemporary, the audience is kept amused by references to Snapchat and online ordering, along with the delightfully coarse Australian lexicon. The glow of the Apple Mac icon is onstage almost as much as the characters are, beaming from Julie’s silvery laptop on which she checks the newspapers for reports on her or her high-profile politician father, or watches French films.

Cowell’s lechery is not quite of the Humbert Humbert calibre, and is almost (disturbingly) excusable. This could be because Julie’s virgin 16 seems threatening only in as much as it is illegal, a fact that Jean’s fiancé, Christine (Blazey Best) reminds him of, “I’ve looked it up, Jean. She was under our special care and you could get 8 years for this.”

Blasts of ominous fanfares composed by Pete Goodwin, engulf scenes at key moments with retro, cinematic high-drama. The climax mounts as troubled Julie’s desire to be loved clashes with her self-realisation of social status, and Jean’s inability to resist the under-aged temptress finally meets his dawning realisation that he’s bitten off more than he can chew. Then Strindberg fans can settle in for the classic character shredding of the second half.

“The moral of the story is, it shouldn’t be this easy for a dog to f*** a princess,” Jean snarls at Julie, but there’s got to be more to it than that.  Are the creators asking us to consider the psychic world of the Abbott girls?

As it all unravels, Stone steers the story so that it grazes the original ending and then hurtles into a very different kind of self-destruction for Julie. This might not please Strindberg diehards but director, Leticia Caceres, certainly works up a crowd-pleasing, bloodlusty finale.


  • Miss Julie (Taylor Ferguson)
  • Christine (Blazey Best)
  • Jean (Brendan Cowell)
  • Composer Pete Goodwin (aka, the Sweats)
  • Director: Leticia Caceres

Article Written by Estelle Pigot via Design Federation

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