THE MUSIC OF PLACE: RECLAIMING A PRACTICE
‘How do you maintain live music in a culture that does not value it?’ asks Jon Rose, acclaimed improvising violinist and instrument maker. ‘The practice of music has lost its key functions and roles in society’, he writes. ‘The proof of this lies in the steep decline of monetary worth for both practitioner and the art form itself. Music's social worth is also questionable as it is steadily removed from the education curriculum. This is not a uniquely Australian phenomenon, nor is it confined to music practised on the fringes of society; it is a problem common to all music forms.’ Rose rejects blaming popular music and digital downloads, delves deeper and proposes a way to change the culture.
At The Tea Room, Sydney 29 May
At The Tea Room, Queen Victoria Building, Sydney
Tickets $50 Bookings essential to Currency House Inc. by Thursday 23 May
IT'S CULTURE STUPID!
Reflections of an arts bureaucrat
In 2005 Leigh Tabrett was appointed to lead the Queensland Government’s arts agency and began a major program of funding reform. In a trenchant reassessment of these years she explores her own frustrations and reveals how the lack of clarity among decision makers about the core purposes of government funding has profoundly damaged the system.
‘A fundamental clash of cultures’, she concludes. ‘How can we have a national system of public
support for the arts in the absence of any clear sense of purpose?’ Her paper offers a powerful argument for a better way.
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LORDS AND LARRIKINS: the Actor's Role in the Making of Australia Hardback
Hardback 9780980563221 $54.95
Soft Cover 9789890563238 $34.95
What does it mean to be an actor in Australia? How have the illusions and identities actors have shaped on our stages in their turn shaped Australia?
Australians, emerging from a convict colony through Federation and two world wars, have been both proud and confused about their origins, their identity and what kind of country they wanted Australia to be. From Conrad Knowles, Australia's first Hamlet, to Laurence Olivier's lordly post-war tour, the aspiring middle-classes turned to the stage for a pattern of gentility. Kath Leahy reveals how class rivalry, and the audience's need for a powerful image of themselves, trapped their stars in their public roles.
These Lords of the stage became missionaries for the classics and British superiority; while the Larrikins of low comedy retaliated with satire. Shakespeare was the principal weapon in this war, drawing in patrons, politicians and critics, while in the vaudeville houses comedians like Roy Rene upheld the legend of the 'real' Australia. Then, in 1970, just as public funding fuelled once again the rise of a high-art culture, a bevy of larrikins led a new assault to subvert their aspirations.
In this unique perspective on the public function of the male performer in Australia, Kath Leahy asks some penetrating questions about the uncanny authority of these personalities in the making of Australia.
DR KATH LEAHY trained with Hayes Gordon at the Ensemble Studios, Sydney, and has worked as an actor, director, drama coach and casting director. She holds a PhD from Newcastle University and now teaches at the Hunter School of the Performing Arts.