Monday, September 8, 2008

More on Perth Theatre

Still keeping an eye on what's happening in Perth. The latest news is that the Perth Theatre Company and the Black Swan Company has signed a memorandum of understanding, looking to "examine the compatible activities and synergies of both companies as they prepare for their move to the new performing arts venue in Northbridge". Both companies will be occupying the space.

A couple of years ago, the Nugent Report recommended merging the two companies, a recommendation that was rejected. But now that both companies will be sharing the much needed new facility, they've decided that it makes sense to work together. Merger is a possible option they're looking at.

I suggest they might want to talk to Guy Sprung, one of the guys who merged Toronto Free Theatre and CentreStage to form CanStage. (Or maybe Bill Glassco's ghost will pay them a visit.) The merger goal was slightly different, but now one of the biggest discussions in the blogsphere is discussing how to get the company back on track.

The new venue is being named after Heath Ledger, which is causing its own ruckus because while he was born and trained in Western Australia, he never appeared on stage there.

The shift towards new blood at the top is now complete with the announcement of Melissa Cantwell's appointment as the new artistic director for the Perth Theatre Company. The three major companies in Western Australia have all within the last year announced new ADs. All of them are under 40.

Meanwhile, a lot of new work is being premiered and toured, both by the main companies and by the fledgling independent companies. (Weeping Spoon Productions was in Canada this summer, taking their show Greed to the Montreal, Ottawa and Toronto fringes - warning, site only works in IE.) It seems, despite the challenges, Perth is remaining vibrant. It is definitely a place to watch.

And now, with construction underway in the space in Perth, all the Australian states have new state of the art theatre facilities.(Well, I'm not sure about Hobart.) And what is the state of our theatre buildings in Canada, huh?

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