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Erin Middleton is an emerging writer, PYT Ensemble member and assistant tutor for our after-school PILOTS program.

In late 2019, she began the development of her new full-length play MONSTER. With PYT’s support, Erin received mentorship and dramaturgical support from Anthea Williams on her play and this week, the play will have its first reading.

Erin shares her experience of the mentorship below.

WORKING WITH ANTHEA WILLIAMS ON MONSTER

In 2019, I wrote and produced my first one-act play, Kallistei, as part of the Sydney Fringe Festival. I’d been supported throughout the year with space, conversation, and people by PYT Fairfield. Myself, my co-producer, some actors, and the director were all current or past members of PYT’s Ensemble, which supports emerging artists in a year-long program.

After seeing Kallistei on stage, I was approached by Karen Therese, PYT’s Artistic Director, to talk about my development as a writer, and how PYT could support me in the next stage of my artistic practice.

I have been extremely lucky and grateful over the past few months to be supported by PYT Fairfield with a mentorship from Anthea Williams.

Anthea is a Director, Dramaturg, and Developer, and like me, she is disabled. I cannot stress enough the significance of learning from, and working with, someone who can appreciate my own lived experience. It has brought another layer to this mentorship, beyond the play I’ve been writing, helping to embolden and brighten my ambitions for a life in the arts.

My mentorship with Anthea has focused on the writing of a new work, titled Monster. Monster is my second one-act play, and like the first (Kallistei) it retells Ancient Greek myth with women’s voices at the centre.

Anthea and I first met late last year, and have continued to meet every month or so since then. With the impact of COVID-19, Anthea and I took to meeting online (meaning my mentor was in New Zealand while I was in Sydney!) and I would email her drafts as they emerged after each session of feedback. We’re now planning a development reading for Monster, generously supported by PYT, which will allow me to hear the play spoken aloud by a group of actors for the first time. There’ll be more conversations, more edits, and a final draft, before finally a public reading to introduce Monster to the theatre world.

Working with Anthea has been the best writing experience of my life. I have been supported at every stage, from inception to final drafts, and Anthea’s enthusiasm for the work has only made mine greater. Having a mentor means having someone to encourage you; to tell you when things are good, and when they’re really not; to make you question and consider; and to make you dig out the things you’re really trying to say, to get them on the page and discard the drab. Anthea has done all of this and more, and I know without a doubt that Monster would not be where it is today without her guidance.

– Written by Erin Middleton

MORE ABOUT MONSTER
On the rocky island of Sarpedon, Medusa and her sisters Stheno and Euryale live out their days reading poems from Sappho, cooking scrambled eggs, and scaring off the men who come to kill them. They’re after Medusa – the monstrous gorgon of myth, with snakes for hair and eyes that turn men to stone. But the woman who crashes onto their island in the middle of a storm isn’t after the monster, and doesn’t believe in her at all. Can Sofia be trusted? Or will she bring everything crashing down with her? 

Image courtesy of Erin Middleton

We are seeking a Deputy Chair and General Board Member to join the team at PYT Fairfield during an exciting time of growth and transition.

These positions are best suited to seasoned arts business professionals and industry leaders with previous Board experience. We are seeking individuals who are passionate, skilled, and self-motivated, with a proven track record in strategy development and change management.

For more information about the roles and how to express your interest, click HERE.

Expressions of interest are due Monday 21st September.

For all queries, please contact PYT Executive Director Katy Green Loughrey on katy@pyt.com.au

Image Credit: Daniel Boud

Transcending time zones, lockdown restrictions and filmed by each artist using just their mobiles, Playlist Bersama explores the lived experience of young women across two distinct cultures and all that they have in common.

Throughout May 2020, during the peak of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, Playlist Bersama brought together 12 artists and performers from across Australia and Indonesia to collaborate on the production of a brand new video work.

Direction/Choreography Larissa McGowen
Co-Devisors & Performers Ningrum Syaukat, Rummana Yamanie, Kartika Jahja, Ebube Uba, Mara Knezevic, Tasha O’Brien, May Tran, Neda Taha, Larissa McGowen with Kate Armstrong Smith and Karen Therese.
Editor Kate Blackmore
More Info PYT Playlist, Bersama Project

We asked the artists to tell us what they took out of the experience and here is what they said:

Despite the physical distance, I grew very close to Tika, Rummana and Ningrum and listening to their stories and experiences deeply impacted and enriched my perspective on female artists.
Mara Knezevic (Performer, Australia)

Working with an all-female team is already phenomenal, but for me, being able to learn from older, more experienced South-East Asian artists was beyond rewarding, beyond words.
May Tran (Performer, Australia)

We need to be sensitive to and listen openly to other cultures as people have different lived experiences and we can’t expect people to react to things in the same way we do when we’ve all had different upbringings and different values instilled in us.
Tasha O’Brien (Performer, Australia)

It was a mind opening for me to hear from women with various cultural backgrounds. It was not just a project, it was a knowledgeable place and one place that I didn’t fear being myself.
Ningrum Syaukat (Performer, Indonesia)

It has brought to light the truth behind the vulnerabilities we hold quietly and validated the need to connect and discuss with women of all cultures, backgrounds and experiences.
Larissa McGowan (Choreographer, Australia)

Bersama translates to together, or ‘in collaboration’. I want people to see the creative and emotional bond between these women, despite us being oceans apart and isolated from one another.
Kartika Jahja (Performer, Indonesia)

Playlist Bersama is an international partnership between PYT Fairfield (Australia) and the BERSAMA Foundation (Indonesia).


PYT Fairfield is proudly supported by the Australian Council for the Arts and the NSW Government through Create NSW.

Image Credit: Film Still from Playlist Bersama

In June, PYT and Critical Path invited three Western Sydney artists to participate in WHY IS THIS CONTEMPORARY? a research lab that makes space for different dance and movement practices in our culture to share and work together.

Facilitated by Martin del Amo, the lab supported Anna Kuroda, Eliam Royalness and Neda Taha to examine and expand their individual practices, and and consider how these practices sit in relation to contemporary art contexts.

WATCH the video below to hear about the artists’ experience during this residency.


WHY IS THIS CONTEMPORARY? is a three-year partnership between PYT Fairfield and Critical Path.

PYT is proudly supported by the Australian Council for the Arts and the NSW Government through Create NSW.

Image Credit: Courtesy of the Artists’

We are seeking an experienced Producer to lead on the delivery of PYT’s major projects, working closely with PYT’s Executive Director and Artistic Director. See a variety of projects through from conception to presentation, from funding, planning, budgeting and contracting to project management, scheduling, logistics and evaluation.

In addition, this role is responsible for key day-to-day operational tasks, including financial and company management.

PYT Fairfield is a dynamic arts company located in Western Sydney, we encourage experienced Arts Managers with a history of living or working in the region to apply.

For more information and to download the job description, click HERE.
Applications are due Friday, 17 July 2020.

For all queries, please contact PYT Executive Director Katy Green Loughrey on katy@pyt.com.au

Image Credit: Daniel Boud

18 March 2020

PYT Fairfield recognises the need to act urgently to avert the spread of COVID-19.

On monitoring the government’s current advice, and in the best interest of our artists, staff, audience and community, we have chosen to practice social distancing and self-isolation, in an effort to help flatten the curve of COVID-19 cases.

This means that our venue, the Fairfield School of Arts, will be closed from today for a minimum of 4 weeks. Closing our doors includes cancelling any planned events, rescheduling rehearsals and putting a pause to all workshop programs and venue hires.

Currently our touring plans for PLAYLIST are in flux as we work to comply with the government legislation and the latest health advice. Meanwhile, our Biennale of Sydney project FUNPARK will be postponed until a later date.

Our core staff – Karen, Katy, Margie, Alice and Daisy – will be working from home during this time, and any travel plans for the next few months have ceased.

The best method to contact PYT during the closure is by email – admin@pyt.com.au

This is an unprecedented time for our company, the impact will be felt hard across the arts sector and our wider community, and we believe we are upholding our social responsibility and working in everyone’s best interests when making these decisions.

We encourage everyone to please take care of themselves, their families and communities, and to stay alert and follow government advice. For those working in the industry, learn about emergency support services available to you by following Live Performance Australia, Theatre Network Australia and the Australian Arts amidst COVID-19 Facebook Group.

Thank you for your understanding and we look forward to welcoming you back to PYT sometime soon.

Karen, Katy, Margie, Alice and Daisy

PYT Fairfield is thrilled to be pitching ACTION STAR at the Australian Performing Arts Market (APAM) as part of Asia TOPA later this month on February 25.

Fusing martial arts, dance, storytelling and film, ACTION STAR is a new solo dance-theatre performance that details the life and work of celebrated Western Sydney artist and international action movie star, Maria Tran.

PYT’s Artistic Director Karen Therese, Executive Director Katy Green Loughrey, and Maria herself will be sharing the work with leading presenters and producers from around the globe.

APAM is an industry gathering designed to showcase the best of Australian and New Zealand contemporary performance nationally and internationally.

DETAILS OF OUR PITCH
Date & Time February 25, 12 – 1.30pm
Location Meat Market, 3 Blackwood St, North Melbourne VIC 3051
More Info

Image Credit: Film still – Film by Zanny Begg

We sat down with Bernadette Fam (PYT Fairfield’s 2020 Artist-in-Residence) to ask about her plans for the next 12 months, what she hopes for the residency and what exciting project she is working towards.

How are you going to spend the next 12 months at PYT?

I will be focusing on developing my first full length solo work The Love Song Of… whilst also hopefully developing my skills as a theatre maker and director.

Tell us a bit more about The Love Song Of…

The Love Song Of… will be a one woman show following the epic timeline of my father’s life. As both a child of immigrant parents, and a child whose father had her when he was 60 years old, I have found myself in my past couple of years realising my absolute lack of knowledge in regards to my father’s life prior to his life with me. I’m changing that. What also has struck me is how strongly I grasped onto and romanticised every thread of information I’ve gotten and how significantly that information changes when passed through person to person to person. It’ll be a story about life, about legacy, and about celebrating the too-good-to-be-true-but-it-actually-is life of my dad.

Why have you chosen theatre as the medium to tell this personal story? 

The power of theatre for me is it’s innate ability to connect with the here and now. For me, I love that theatre gives the opportunity to have a conversation with the audience and share details so intimate which would otherwise be lost if it were through a screen or earphones. For me, there is no platform more soul bearing.

What are your hopes for this residency?

I hope to write a lot. Create a lot. And dive into the deep end constantly. I’m a keen bean to push my craft further than I have before whether that be in writing, theatre making or directing. For me, The Love Song Of… is an incredible important personal work and I would love to have it developed and to have had a showing by the end of the year, however I also think it’s super important to give it the time it needs to truly thrive.

Where can we next see your work?
Oooo… I have a couple of super cool projects coming up but they’re also all still super secret… Can I get back to you in a couple of months? What I can say is that I’m very, very excited

About Bernadette Fam

Bernadette Fam is an emerging Arabic-Australian theatre maker, director, writer and creative producer. Since graduating from Sydney Theatre School in 2017, she has been a member of the PYT Ensemble 2019, NToP’s Playwrights of Parramatta, KXT’s Step Up and DTC’s Emerging Theatre Makers. She is also the Associate Creative Producer for Green Door Theatre Company.

As a writer Bernadette is currently developing Middle Where? (Create NSW’s Young Creative Leader’s Fellowship) and recently attended The National Studio (Australian Theatre for Young People).

Image Credit: Emma Silwanis

PLAYLIST at Sydney Opera House
Image Credit: Daniel Boud

1. PLAYLIST was presented at the Sydney Opera House for Festival UnWrapped to acclaim and full houses.

2. PLAYLIST was PYT’s third show at the SYDNEY OPERA HOUSE in less than 4 years, the only small-to-medium theatre company in the country to achieve this.

3. We facilitated a 12 week women’s Weaving project and exhibition with our local, First Nations elders and the local Iraqi women’s group – and it was beautiful and amazing.

4. 2019 saw the most dedicated, proactive and biggest PYT Ensemble ever. They independently produced two shows one for Sydney Fringe and one presented at PYT Fairfield.


2019 PYT Ensemble 
Image Credit: Alex Wisser

5. Best and most attended PILOTS program ever in 2019

6. In 2019 PYT employed and trained 8 co-pilots to teach performing arts in local high schools.

7. PYT toured around Australia for the first time with JUMP FIRST ASK LATER produced by Performing Lines.

8. PYT staff extended from 4 to 5 people – 2 full time and 3 part-time, with a new Company Manager position held by the amazing Alice Hatton.

9. FUNPARK after 6 years is still going and is now run by Daisy Montalvo who 7 years ago was a high school student and participant of the first FUNPARK – and now runs the joint!

10. PYT started a really critically amazing and transformative partnership with the Parramatta Female Factory Precinct.


Women of Parramatta, Long Table 2019
Image Credit: Cass Hannagan

11. (We’ve added one more point because that’s what we do at PYT) We had 5 new works in development including our major work ACTION STAR with Maria Tran, Dorr-E Dari with Mahdi Mohammadi and Jawad Yacoubi, Carpet Stories by Najee Tannous and Showreel by Jackson Stewart and we made a show in a god damn swimming pool for the Cementa Festival in Kandos directed by Tessa Leong.

And THAT was 2019!!!!!!

Written by
Karen Therese
Artistic Director

The artists of WHY IS IT ART? have just completed their two week choreographic residency where they explored how their own practice relates to other modes of movement practice and a broader context of ‘contemporary art’.

We asked Maria Tran, Larissa McGowan and Eliam Royalness what the residency has taught them about their own arts practice. Their responses are shared in these videos.

WHY IS IT ART? is a three-year partnership with Critical Path that explores contemporary dance practice in Western Sydney and aims to make space for different movement practices in our culture to share and work together. To find out more about the project, click here.


Maria Tran – 

Maria Tran is an Australian-born Vietnamese actress, martial artist, producer, writer and director. She is known for developing the martial arts action film genre in Australia via the Asian diaspora communities of Western Sydney.

 

Larissa McGowan –

Larissa is a highly acclaimed dancer and choreographer based in Adelaide, South Australia. Larissa began working with PYT in 2018 when she choreographed PLAYLIST, directed by Karen Therese, which has since been presented by Sydney Opera House’s Festival UnWrapped program. In 2019, she is working with PYT again to develop ACTION STAR.

 

Eliam Royalness –

Eliam Royalness is a choreographer & performer from Sydney’s south-west and has been creating and performing dance works since his early teenage years. He is the creator and director of New South Wales’ number 1 mega hip-hop company, The Pioneers MC, who have represented Australia at Hip-Hop International in 2014 and 2015, in the U.S.

 

WHY IS IT ART? is a partnership project between PYT I Fairfield and Critical Path

PYT is proudly supported by the Australian Council for the Arts and the NSW Government through Create NSW.

Image Credit: Daisy Montalvo

Films by: Daisy Montalvo