Tag Archives: theatre

We launch our ‘Friends of the Opera’ scheme

become a friendRecently, we offered an opportunity for a lucky subscriber to win free tickets to see ‘…into the Shimmer Heat’ our dazzling new chamber opera in development, premièring in Perth, Western Australia, later this year. Many people subscribed to this blog and we thank you for keeping in touch with our blog posts by email.

We’ve set up a new page called ‘Become a friend’ which describes the many benefits becoming a friend can bring and you can go straight to the page here.

In order to become a friend, you have to send an email. We hope that you do as you will get a lot more than just having our blog posts drop into your in box.

David Pye, Phil Thomson and Lee Buddle

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Our choreographer wins praise for her latest work.

Danielle Micich’s new work for Buzz Dance Theatre attracted a great review. Thrill, a double bill, was praised in the West Australian for being a potent, accessible and sophisticated mix of artistry and athleticism. Danielle’s work, Plan B, is praised for many artistic reasons, and also because the incredible energy of the cast ensures they are exhilarating to watch. Read the review, see the show.

Phil Thomson – director and libbrettist for the opera writes

In a previous post, Danielle and I announced dance audtions for into the Shimmer Heat.

We are auditioning some very promising young dancers this week. The response to our So You Think You Can Dance in an Opera call-out has netted some very interesting, trained and talented dancers. Nina is the major role of the opera, with both narrative and impressionistic/emotional/cathartic dance. We need a creative athlete with great stamina, discipline and strength and able to plumb emotional depths. Courageous. Not scared of heights. Able to act. And transport us as only dancers do. This is a big ask, but I have a feeling that all the dancers we’ve shortlisted could do a great job. We have such talent in the west, from the west.

I am so looking forward to the audition. I’ll let you know how we go.

Danielle Micich

Danielle Micich

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So You Think You Can Dance… in an Opera!!

design image with dancerProfessional Dance Audition Opportunity

into the Shimmer Heat is a new West Australian opera to be staged by Nova Ensemble in the new Heath Ledger Theatre in October this year.  The lead character is mute, and will be played by a young contemporary dancer.  Her character, Nina, is a teenager struck dumb by her father’s untimely death in the desert.  Emotionally damaged she seeks solace in goth-rock music. Her mother seeks to cure her by taking her, by hot air balloon, into the desert where her dad disappeared. There she undergoes more trials and tragedy before triumphing over adversity.  She communicates through dance.

The cast consists of 5 opera singers (including internationally regarded divas Sara Macliver and Fiona Campbell), two puppeteers and a dancer. This is a fully professional production.  It will be directed by Phil Thomson, and choreographed by Danielle Micich.  Music by David Pye and Lee Buddle.  It’s supported by the State Government’s Major Production Fund.

We are seeking a dancer for this fully professional role with the following attributes…
·          Training and/or professional experience in contemporary dance

·          Confidence in working with task based methods and improvising.

·          Able to play a 16 year old girl (ie under 24 years of age)

·          Able to deal with heights (the dancer will be flying high)

·          An understanding/experience of acting process

·          Some singing ability (Nina sings two lines)

·          Availability for full time rehearsals in September and performances in the first half of October.  There will also be workshop sessions during April/May that can fit the dancer’s availability.

Primarily we are seeking a wonderful young dancer with the desire to work hard and take full advantage of this extraordinary opportunity. She will receive theatre and singing coaching during the development process.

Dancers interested in this role are asked to submit an expression of interest in the role by emailing director Phil Thomson by Monday March 7 2010 with a biog or c.v. that outlines their dance experience and addresses the criteria listed above.  We will invite dancers to audition from those who have applied.

Auditions for the dance role will be held on Sunday March 20 at King Street Arts Centre.

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Puppets in Opera

‘Into the Shimmer Heat’ isn’t the first opera that features puppets and puppetry.

Puppets have been used in Opera since the first recorded instance in Venice in 1679.

More recently the film director Antony Minghella worked with the UK’s Blind Summit Theatre to include puppetry in Puccini’s ‘Madama Butterfly’ for the English National Opera

Improbable Theatre‘s Julian Crouch and Phelim McDermott used puppetry with their production of Phllip Glass’s all-Sanskrit opera for the New York Met about Gandhi’s early life, Satyagraha. Crouch and McDermott, better known as the guys behind  Shockheaded Peter made some extraordinary images using puppetry

satyagraha by the New York Metropolitan Opera

Satygraha for the Metropolitan Opera

The production of ‘Into the Shimmer Heat’ carries on this great tradition by bringing two of the finest puppet artists in Perth, Jo Foley and Ian Tregonning to work together to create moments of extraordinary puppetry for this chamber opera.

A camel is created and animated out of the wreckage of a hot air balloon to carry the mute girl into the shimmering heat of the outback.

opera camel

There are scale changes to show distance and insignificance in the face of the enormous Australian landscape

small opera puppets

Of course with two highly talented puppeteers and theatre makers on the creative team, this production will be a visual feast as well as an aural experience.

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Heath Ledger Theatre opening, Perth

Heath Ledger's family

Heath Ledger's mother Sally, father Kim and sister Kate attend the opening of the new State Theatre Centre and Heath Ledger Theatre in Perth. Picture: Stewart Allen Source: PerthNow


The state theatre venue where ‘Into the Shimmer Heat’ will stage it’s premiere performances opened to great fanfare on January 28th 2011

Unveiling the world-class Northbridge complex yesterday, Premier Colin Barnett called it a remarkable event to rival the opening of His Majesty’s Theatre in 1904 and the Perth Concert Hall in 1973.
theatre seating
The family of the late Perth-born film star Heath Ledger were in the gold-toned, timber-lined theatre named in his honour for the opening.

Heath Ledger’s father Kim, sister Kate and mother Sally Bell said they were overwhelmed by the construction and design.

“I think Heath would have thought it was magnificent. I have said this before, and we all agree, that he must have been a bird on the shoulder of the architect,” Kim Ledger told reporters at the opening.

Kate Ledger added: “It’s reflective of the way he was as a person. The theatre is eerily reflective”.

Ms Bell said she was humbled by the honouring of Ledger’s memory and the day was a “very mixed emotional time for us, but ultimately we’re very, very proud”.

theatre foyer

For a full gallery of images of the theatre and event, visit Perth Now

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5 Must-See Shows in Perth in 2011

If you’re into locally created original theatre and live performance, and you live in or visit Perth, Western Australia, here are my top 5 must see shows this year…

FEBRUARY: Waltzing the WilarraThu 3 Feb – Sun 6 Mar 2011
Yirra Yaakin Theatre Company (Australia)
By David Milroy
A teaming of two of Australia’s leading Indigenous theatre makers, David Milroy (Windmill Baby) and Wesley Enoch (The Sapphires), Waltzing the Wilarra is an original music theatre work featuring an all-star Indigenous cast.
MARCH: Tim Minchin vs The West Australian Symphony Orchestra – Fr1 4 Mar 2011  (Sold Out) – Sat 5 Mar 2011
Comedy rock superstar, Tim Minchin, is back on the road with his biggest live show ever. This show includes brand new songs as well as those much loved Minchin classics, but this time, as you’ve never heard them before – with the 55 piece West Australian Symphony Orchestra.
JUNE: Rising Water25th Jun 2011 – 17th Jul 2011
Black  Swan State Theatre Company
By Tim Winton
Full of the compassion and larrikin humour that are the trademark of Winton’s work, chronicling the lives of outsiders and fringe-dwellers in his unmistakably Western Australian voice
Into the Shimmer Heat
OCTOBER: Into the Shimmer Heat – October 8 – 22, 2011
Nova Ensemble
written and directed by Phil Thomson
DECEMBER: EARTH – December 1-11 2011
Resulting from a year-long process with the finest performing talent under 25 years old in Western Australia, EARTH is a performance that will speak with a contemporary and edgy youth voice. EARTH marks the first in the three year trilogy of originally devised youth theatre ‘Earth, Wind and Fire’

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Heath Ledger Theatre

The State Theatre Centre of WA, Perth

Heath Ledger TheatreInto the Shimmer Heat is being staged at the Heath Ledger Theatre in the State Theatre Centre of WA. It is a 575-seat traditional proscenium theatre equipped with the latest stage technology. The stage can be modified to accommodate an orchestra pit. The theatre has access to two bars, toilets and lifts from the foyer.

The comfortable seating is designed so that all seating rows are curved to face the stage and each row is elevated above the one in front.

To get to the Heath Ledger Theatre, enter the State Theatre Centre main entrances and go up the stairs then turn left. Lifts are also available.

The Centre is just a stone’s throw away from Perth Railway Station and Wellington Street Bus Station, making public transport a great option for travelling to and from the theatre.

“He was such a giver to the arts right across the board. I really feel that there’s not a lot of things he’d put his name to, but he’d put his name to that.”—Kim Ledger; Heath Ledger’s father

For access information visit the Department of Culture and the Arts website.

“It is wonderful that a new theatre is finally being built and I reckon it is just fine that it has been named after an extremely talented, hard-working, much-loved and greatly missed Perth born and bred actor.” – Tim Minchin (from an excellent Blog article by Podblack Cat)

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