The Something Like Theatre Festival was a week long multi-arts event produced in 2013 by Griffith University third year Applied Theatre students and was a key inspiration for Robbie and I for The DIY Festival. With only two days until applications open for our first festival, I wanted to write a little something about my experiences as a part of SLTF and how that has inspired what we have went on to do with SDE this year.
SLTF was a hugely ambitious project convened by Shaun Charles and was a festival written, directed, produced and performed by our third year university cohort. A group of 35 students created an event featuring two original mainstage productions, applied theatre projects, installation works as well as a unique 3 and a half hour cabaret performance every night. It was an event which really inspired our passions for the creative process and these sort of events. 35 individual artists collaborating and putting all differences aside to create a truly special event.
Hosted at the now closed SYC Studios in East Brisbane, our entire group worked long hours to achieve the success that we did. There were days where we arrived at 7am and didn't leave until 2 or 3am the next morning with only one or two real “breaks”, which were often used for rehearsing or fixing up technical aspects of the shows. It was a rough experience, but undoubtedly one of the most fulfilling of many of our young careers.
Through the festival, I co-wrote one of the mainstage works, The Raft with Robbie as well as performing in the other headlining act, The Missing Pages. Along with this I was a part of Black Rabbit, the house band for the festival, performing late into the night and accompanying the late night cabaret acts. The time commitments to each one of those was bordering on full time, as there were many all-nighters writing The Raft with Robbie, many long delerious hours rehearsing and devising The Missing Pages more than enough hours of rehearsing our repertoir of around 60 songs for Black Rabbit and the additional 15 songs I learnt for my performances as a solo musician. There were times when I doubted I would be able to do it, but there was never a second when I wasn't loving what I was doing. My sleep deprived self was fueled by the promise of success. I wasn't the only one. We knew that what we were doing was special, something that had never been done before to the proportions of the SLTF. This was a once in a lifetime experience.
In creating The DIY Festival, we wanted to further what happened in SLTF. We wanted to reach out to artists to create works collaboratively, support each other and succeed together. The DIY Festival is the first step in our arts revolution. Independent and emerging artists create original works in an environment where the critical claws will not be out to eviscerate them if they screw up. We are creating an environment where experimentation is not only accepted, but encouraged. Where constructive dialogue outweighs the critical. The DIY Festival is a stepping stone where artists can jump from into larger, independent productions whilst gaining a network of fellow artists and audience members who support their work and want to see them (and independent arts) not only survive, but thrive.
Our applications open in less than 48 hours. We are so excited to see what comes to us. This is our first step into the world of the unknown. Take our hand and join us.