Wow. I figured the Short and Sweet theatre festival would be fun, interesting, and a good chance to meet some new people and bounce ideas around. That all went as expected.
What I didn’t expect was to walk away with an award for “Highly Commended New Theatre Work.”
One of the things that’s interesting about the festival is their “Outside Eye” program, where they give you the option of having an experienced theatre director watch your performance and give constructive notes on it. Figuring that any feedback is useful (if it’s good, it’s great, and if it’s bad you can just ignore it), I jumped on the opportunity.
I was paired up with Chris Baldock, who at the time I’d never heard of, but it turns out is a pretty widely experienced and respected director. I figured he’d at least have some useful thoughts on delivery, staging, and so on that I might be able to use.
What he actually had was so much more than that. Even though we only finally got together two days before opening night, he had a heap of ideas to expand and flesh out the piece. Several of them went against my instincts, I figured what the hell; let’s go with it and see what happens.
What happened was the piece received a judges’ choice recommendation, which got it into the “best of theatre” gala show. It then went on to the final night Variety Gala (a selection of the best theatre, dance, and cabaret pieces from the whole festival), and then ended up with an award for Highly Commended New Theatre Work at the awards party afterwards.
The thing that I find particularly exciting about this is that this is the first time I’ve had an award for something judged as a piece of theatre, as opposed to magic/entertainment/cabaret/etc.
It’s an exciting new creative space that I’m keen to explore, and this gives me a lot more confidence that I might be on to something with it.
So thank you to everyone who was involved with brining the piece to life. Andrew Masters for co-writing it in the first place, Celeste Cody for suggesting it might work in Short and Sweet, Chris Baldock for directing and dramaturgicalising it into something even better, Alex De La Rambellje for the crucial last minute props, Dave Lee and YC Lo for small but incredibly significant inputs, and the countless other people who provided feedback and insight and support along the way.