In 2014 Black Hole Theatre, in association with Melbourne Polytechnic, introduced its groundbreaking cross-disciplinary sector development program for puppetry and allied arts practitioners. Black Hole Theatre invited nationally and internationally renowned artists together with emerging performance makers to to join together to generate ideas, exchange skills, and make new work.
Fermenting Change was a skill and innovation focused response to the curtailing of Puppetry training in Australia, and the isolation of Australian practitioners from the international Puppetry community. Over one year, Black Hole Theatre in association with Puppet Animation (Edinburgh) and Melbourne Polytechnic implemented a series of programs to address these issues. Fermenting Change brought greater skills, broader networks, a wider audience base, and the introduction of a creative, supportive feedback process.
Fermenting Change encompassed four different but complimentary development streams: Skills Laboratories; Collaborative Bridges; Your Work in Focus; and Puppet Slams.
Over the course of 12 months BHT delivered 13 individual activities in Victoria, New South Wales, Tasmania, and the ACT. The Skills Laboratories attracted a wide wide variety of puppetry artists and artists from diverse disciplines. Artists from every state and territory in Australia attended, including artists from regional and remote areas. Fermenting Change engaged 132 professional and emerging artists as performers and participants across all programs, and over 680 members of the public and arts sector as responders, and audience members.
SKILLS LABORATORIES:Cross-disciplinary training to expand, enrich and inspire.
Black Hole Theatre offered masterclasses with renowned international artists Neville Tranter and BHT collaborator Duda Paiva as well as nationally recognised artists Michelle Heaven, Rod Primrose, Tim Denton and Lynne Kent to whet the appetite and help emerging and established artists from diverse backgrounds realise their vision, and integrate puppetry into their practice.
COLLABORATIVE BRIDGES:Innovative international networking for the digital age.
In collaboration with Puppet Animation (Edinburgh) Black Hole Theatre paired artists and companies from Australia and Scotland in facilitated online discussions of ideas and work-in-development.
YOUR WORK IN FOCUS: Implementing a critical feedback framework.
A series of free feedback sessions for artists to present excerpts of work in various forms. Following each showing, the work was discussed using Liz Lerman’s Critical Response Process, a dynamic, non-judgmental approach that supports the artist’s quest to realise their vision.
PUPPET SLAMS: Showcasing short and experimental puppetry works.
Since 2011 Black Hole Theatre has been producing Puppet Slams featuring emerging and established artists. The evenings are fun, informal and engaged. Presented in cafes, pubs, galleries and other non-traditional spaces, these performances give artists a platform to trial new work, encourage the development of new skills, lift their profiles, and widen the audience for adult puppetry.