Hanging out for the New Annual Festival in Newcastle | Newcastle Herald

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WHILE Newcastle City Council won’t officially be announcing until early January the names of all the shows in its New Annual Festival that will be staged from February 12 to 21, those that have so far been revealed point to it having a very interesting range of events. Curious Legends, a company that generally presents shows with a mix of youngsters and professional adult performers, will stage its show, Taylor’s Run, at the council’s Summerhill Waste Transfer centre on the western edge of Wallsend, on the festival’s two Saturdays (February 13 and 20) and Sundays (February 14 and 21). Session times and booking details will be announced soon. The choice of such a venue is appropriate given the nature of the show. The story focuses on Taylor, a lonely child whose best friend is a Pygmy Possum puppet called ‘Piggy’. When Piggy goes missing, Taylor journeys to the local tip and battles the Trash Monster to get Piggy back. And on the way Taylor meets all kinds of bushland creatures – not all of them nice. Mitchell Reese, the head of Curious Legends and director of Taylor’s Run, notes that the show, which will be staged in a large undercover shed, will have giant illuminated puppets, shadow theatre, multimedia projections and audience interaction. The company has just received a grant from the Federal Government’s Restart Investment to Sustain and Expand Fund which is aimed at helping cultural companies which lost money due to cancellations and rescheduling of events because of COVID-19 to help put productions, festivals and events together again. Mitchell notes that this will enable Curious Legends to extend performances of the show throughout Newcastle for a full year and to tour it. It will also help them to work with another Newcastle company, Fingers Crossed Creative, to help them do very interesting things with their shipping container venue, the Hangar, pictured. Fingers Crossed Creative, a company run by Zackari Watt and Ella Heathmore, had the pop-up The Hangar purpose built for staging shows in settings such as Civic Park. They note that the New Annual Festival Show staging will be the biggest cabaret-style show they have ever produced. The show, which is called The Intergalacular SciFi Spectacular!, will have, in their words, epic staged song and dance numbers, strange and exotic ultradimensional burlesque performances and dance, bizarre and confusing intergalactic ritual, the powerful vocal majesty of Z. Watt – King of Singing, the epic sci-fi grandeur of Flight Hawk the singing and dancing band that supports Zackari, and “a veritable visual feast of elaborate props, vivid costumery, large scale puppets, projections and more”. And the venue will have a food and drink bar, managed by Darby Street venue Meet Restaurant which will be open before, during and after the show, with an overhead giant illuminated moon over those eating. As well as local performers, the New Annual Festival will feature many individual and team performers from around Australia who will present shows in very different venues. A temporary hall, Pavilion of Sand, will be constructed in Wheeler Place, alongside the Civic Theatre, by Sydney-based Future Method Studio in association with Awabakal architect Shellie Smith and local Aboriginal organisation Speaking in Colour, with people able to gather there to exchange ideas about the festival and the things it shows. And live music, performances, talks and panels, workshops and more will be held there, looking at things including environment and sustainability, Aboriginal arts and culture, and the city’s past, present and future. A show called Klapping will be a nocturnal pilgrimage to an out-of-bounds football court in National Park on Saturday and Sunday, February 13 and 14, from 7.30pm to 9pm. The show will include, among many other things, ritual dances and revelations of obscure football history. Hunter Street’s The Lock-Up will feature on each day of the festival Pony Express – How should we name the era we will all die in? People who go to the show will see, after entering, Epoch Wars, an immersive, participatory live artwork camouflaged as a symposium, where Pony Express challenge the naming of the ‘Anthropocene’ to explore who is really responsible for the state of our planet in the current geological age, which is viewed as the period during which human activity has been the dominant influence on climate and the environment. The show notes that Earth’s history is divided into massive slices of time called ‘epochs’, with the Anthropocene Working Group, a team of 34 geological scientists, responsible for advancing this name. They are promoting the name “Anthropocene”, which means human era, the era defined by human impact on the planet. A surge of debate has accused this name of being weaponised and toxic, so Pony Express are waging a war to kill it. They are annoyed that “Anthropocene” blames all of humanity for earth’s circumstances, obscuring the fact that it was specific people with specific power and specific names and addresses that are actually responsible for the worst ecological crimes. Who is really at fault, and what epoch name will help us create a future worth fighting for? Are we living in the capitalocene, or manthropocene, or perhaps the symbiocene, the gynecene, of the terrametacene? Epoch Wars has commissioned contributions and propaganda campaigns from diverse international and local artists, scientists, and visionaries, asking them to imagine alternative worlds to the “anthropocene”. Watch this page for information on other shows. For faster access to the latest Newcastle news download our NEWCASTLE HERALD APP and sign up for breaking news, sport and what’s on sent directly to your email.

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