2014 … too many tours to count

Angela O’Donnell, our performing arts manager, gives us a snapshot of what 2014 holds at Artback NT. 

Is January really almost behind us?

In typical fashion, Artback NT has a massive program of extraordinary events, tours and development this year. And here I am catching up on a request that our fabulous communications manager Robyn made pre Christmas – ‘Blog’, she says… ‘it’ll be great for the new website and for letting people know who we are and what we do’.  Agreed, but being time poor and reluctant to engage with a computer screen over the silly season it dropped off the radar …

However – it’s a second coffee kind of  morning here and I’m surrounded by some brilliant women doing good work. Tracey Bunn pops in with Vanessa our Music Program manager – Tracey, exhausted but inspired by her recent gigging on the apple isle, is in here to work with Vanessa on some funding applications to get more Territory musicians playing in more places round the country.

Thanks to Louise Partos, our EO, we’ve got an intern, Sophie, in (“intern” makes me think of West Wing each time I say it). She’s from Aurora Internships – good people helping out good orgs, what’s not to like about that?…particularly considering Sophie is currently working through double checking a mountain of my logistics on flights and accommodation bookings for the Djuki Mala – Chooky Dancers national tour.

Djuki Mala – what a ride that’s going to be! I had the pleasure last weekend of 48 hours in Sydney meeting with producer/director Joshua Bond and seeing three of the Djuki Mala troupe shaking their thangs as guest artists in La Soiree at Sydney Opera House. That harbour is a long way from Galiwin’ku but Sydney audiences were very appreciative of their presence on stage, and the fellas have got just the right blend of cheeky going on. I also got to check out The Shadow King with some other extraordinary NT talent in it – was great to see Tom E Lewis onstage again – I do hope that show gets to visit the NT this year.

I’m looking forward to working with the Djuki Mala mob for a few weeks out at Galiwin’ku. Its extraordinary the amount of support being given to this tour by the community and the organisations there – between the great and busy folk at Shepherdson College, Marthakal Homelands Resource Center, ALPA stores, Tim Fairfax Family Foundation and the Government mob – NTG and Playing Australia – we feel very well looked after.  And then there’s the great team working on the tour – Naina Sen in editing mode and working madly on the video that will form part of the show after having made a great TVC, Ben Starick from Starling Publicists who is wooing the national media and supporting the forty-two venues around the country who are part of this massive tour.

Then there is Mary Anne Butler – talk about multi talented! – who developed our education kit for the Djuki Mala tour and will also embark on a fantastic national tour with us this year in the much loved Highway of Lost Hearts. Keep your eyes ‘n’ ears out for that one – on the road from early July to mid September – we expect it to sell out its first shows at Darwin Entertainment Centre just as the Djuki Mala tour has.

No wonder I feel excited and a little manic. The lovely Kelly Blumberg from Tracks just popped in and we started to talk about the amazing work that will be developed with Gary Lang NT Dance Company and presented in May at DEC – MOKUY.

While Kieren is covering MOKUY, I’ll get in a little travel myself in order to do some research around performing arts. I’m fortunate enough to have scored a Churchill Fellowship to travel from April to June looking at the ways in which isolated artists make sustainable work. Can’t wait to get stuck into that … probably another reason to master this blogging business!

A busy year jam-packed with tours and a great one for NT performers I reckon. There’s more, heaps more, but phones are both ringing and the to do list is growing.

Angela O’Donnell