/ Sunday Arts Magazine / Arts / Wood,Metal&Vibrating Air, Red Stitch,NGV ArtBook Fair, Coriolanus


Brendan went to Dame Elisabeth Murdoch’s estate today for an open house and a fund raiser for heart disease.  She was a great patron and supporter of the arts amongst her many other beneficiaries. Brendan also saw the film The Jungle Book which he loved. The boy was well played by a newcomer and special effects were great but it does have dark parts which would be too scary for under 12s generally- 4.5 stars.  Brendan also saw a DVD of the 2002 film Russian Ark, which has been re-released at Cinema Nova, and he can’t recommend it enough.  It’s a magnificent one take shot of a man walking around The Hermitage Museum talking to the unseen director of the film on the rooms, artworks and historical drama.  David adds info about Catherine the Great and the recent NGV exhibition of Hermitage artworks–5 stars!

Our all-female guests today are:

14:30 to 36:17 mins–pianist Caroline Almonte is here to talk about her recital Gold through Glass on 3 May which is one of a 6 part piano concert series called Wood, Metal & Vibrating Air (3 May to 1 September) at Robert Blackwood  Hall, Monash University.  Both pianist and audience are on the stage together, making it an intimate experience Her European parents were artistic and Caroline loved singing so her mother enrolled her into Yamaha Music school at 4. It involved improvisation, creativity, composition and note reading. She got to compose and to travel as a child. She doesn’t really compose nowadays but does improvise a lot. She later attended the VCA and then the prestigious Julliard in New York. She talks about her experience there. She came home but traveled with various chamber groups. She has a family now and still travels the world doing concerts, enabled by a very supportive husband, dad, family and friends. Caroline tells us about the other pianists and their old and new programs in this diverse and sensuous concert series.  Her chosen program is the iconic Bach Goldberg Variations which is a difficult piece and it requires her to be ‘vulnerable’.  In addition, Caroline has included some of Philip Glass’ works. Call the Monash boxoffice to book on 9905 1111 or go to the website.

37:47 to 54:31 mins–Fiona Simmons is the General Manager of Red Stitch Actors Theatre in St Kilda East.  She moved over from Perth for this and has only been in the role since January. She’s worked professionally in the performing arts for 20 years in WA. At uni Fiona did an English degree, majoring in Theatre. Then she managed the larger regional performing arts centres in WA and later studied stage management.  She worked in a number of jobs in that capacity,then for a local government and then with the WA Youth Jazz Orchestra (WAYJO).  She talks about the vibrant arts scene in Perth and WA and their unique perspective. She’d been aware of Red Stitch via friends, acquaintances and watching arts awards. Fiona tells the story of Red Stitch from its inception 15 years ago, how it runs, the passion of the actors and funding. Red Stitch has a fundraiser called Playlist on 23 April which is at the extraordinary Bakehouse Studios in Richmond. They will have 10 ‘playlets’ (written by leading playwrights) which are inspired by 10 different songs (known or original, recorded or live) with the plays being only as long as the songs. There are 2 sessions at 1pm & 7pm. Some are repeated.  Their next production is The River on from 26 April to 28 May at Red Stitch. It’s the story of a nameless man who takes his new lover to a cabin where mystery abounds.

55:40 to 1:15:21 mins– Megan Patty is Senior Publications Coordinator at the NGV and is here again this year to talk about the Melbourne Art Book Fair 2016 on from 29April to 1 May at NGV International. She and her team ‘make books’–between 30 to 40 titles a year.  Most are in print (& most get reprinted too) some online and also e-publications. A key strategy for the NGV is to disseminate books on a current exhibition. Megan has been at the NGV for 8 years doing different roles in publishing. There has been resurgence in books in general, especially art and design ones and more recently, at NGV, children’s books. The first Art Book Fair last year was a great success with 16,000 people attending over the 2 days. The Fair this year is even bigger, catering for a range of ‘audiences’ and includes book launches (26 of them), critical discussion, performances, and workshops.  There are only 4 ticketed ’special events’ while the rest are free. NGV’s great hall will be beautifully designed, with 60 stands representing multiple publishers (overall 160 participants). At the fair you can buy books, listen to music, socialise, and interact with publishers, authors, designers and engage in the critical programming too. Megan explains why it’s important to have this platform and the impact it had last year. She also previews some specific books and events. She strongly suggests people come to the ticketed Friday night preview especially to find out about limited edition books.

1:16:27 to 1:32:29 mins–Jo Booth co-founder of Heartstring (a theatre co.)here to talk about the all-female production of Shakespeare’s Coriolanus on from 27 April to 8 May at the Metanoia Theatre in the Mechanics’ Institute in Brunswick. Jo learnt about Shakespeare and also started acting when she was at school in Perth. Since then she’s worked as an actor, producer and director in Perth and more recently in Melbourne. She’s found that getting a great female role in theatre is very difficult.  She wanted to do more, and met some like-minded people, especially one (Elisa Armstrong) who shared her views about theatre and love of Shakespeare. They co-founded the company. They decided to pick the most masculine of Shakespeare’s plays and ‘flip it on its head’. They are not women playing men but have changed the characters from men to women. This brought up interesting dynamics and questions.  Many of the actresses play fierce warriors and did get some inspiration from Xena, Wonder Woman and a real life French warrior from the 1300s. Elisa plays Coriolanus and Jo plays her arch enemy Aufidius. Jo and Elisa have set the play in the future and will leave it up to the audience to interpret what’s happening and why there are no men. They’ve cut the script from 3 hours to approx. 100 mins. David suggests it would be a valuable experience if they have a feedback session each night, after performances.


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