A feminist reimagining of Joan of Arc

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The Rabble are a Melbourne theatre company devoted to creating surprising and challenging work – work that is political, feminist and experimental.

Their latest work, Joan, investigates the historic figure of Joan of Arc and what this 15th century French martyr and soldier means for women today.

Georgia Moodie speaks to co-founders of The Rabble and co-creators of Joan, Kate Davis and Emma Valente, and one of the four performers, Dana Miltins.

I recorded this interview for Books and Arts on ABC RN, and you can listen to it here.

Trainspotting live

TRAINSPOTTING

Published in 1993, Irvine Welsh’s novel Trainspotting, about a group of down and out heroin addicts living in Edinburgh, came to define a generation.

The film adaptation of the novel became an international blockbuster, and the sequel T2 Trainspotting is in cinemas across Australian now.

Tonight in Melbourne a stage adaptation of the novel opens and promises to immerse you in Trainspotting’s world of sex, drugs and 80s trance.

I recorded this interview live on RN’s Books and Arts and you can listen to it here.

China’s One-Child Policy told in powerful new play

Bistro Vue - Tim Grey

In 2016, China’s One-Child Policy officially came to an end, and according to the Chinese government, the policy prevented about 400 million births.

The One-Child Policy also produced so-called little emperors – a generation of only children, adored and doted on by both parents and two sets of grandparents.

A new play at Melbourne’s Malthouse Theatre, called Little Emperors, draws on true stories to explore the emotional fallout of China’s One-Child Policy.

I produced this story for Books and Arts on ABC RN, and you can listen to it here.

Haunted by the Fukushima earthquake

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In 2011, a catastrophic earthquake hit Japan.

It was the most powerful earthquake ever recorded to hit Japan, triggering tsunami waves and causing level 7 meltdowns at the Fukushima Nuclear power plant.

It killed somewhere between 18 and 20 thousand people.

A new play called Time’s Journey Through a Room looks at the emotional scars left by this disaster.

I produced this interview for ABC RN’s Books and Arts, and you can listen to the story here.

Lally Katz puts the spotlight on her parents

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Playwright Lally Katz, with her parents Lois and Dan Katz and her nephew. (Tiger Webb, ABC RN)

The ebullient playwright Lally Katz is known for her semi-autobiographical plays.

Her latest work, Back at the Dojo, was inspired by the story of her parents Dan and Lois – although they stress that she has taken considerable creative licence with the truth!

After several years travelling around the US and experimenting with psychedelic drugs in the mid-1960s, Dan returned to his hometown in New Jersey looking for away to get his life back on track.

He was drawn to the discipline of karate, and trained in karate very seriously for 12 years.

It was at that karate training gym, or dojo, in Trenton New Jersey that Dan met Lois.

Lally grew up hearing this story of redemption and romance at a karate dojo, and a few years ago began karate herself to help heal a wounded heart.

I spoke to Lally, Lois and Dan Katz about the role that karate has played in their family, and how the family reacted when Lally said she wanted to stage a fictionalised version of her parents’ story.

I produced this story for ABC RN’s Books and Arts, and you can listen to the story here.

All-female take on Shakespeare’s Coriolanus

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Heartstring Theatre is a new company that seeks to actively address the shortage of strong female acting roles, by producing plays where at least half of the actors on stage are women.

Their first production is Coriolanus, Shakespeare’s bloody tale of war, power and pride – with an all female cast.

Arguably one of Shakespeare’s most masculine plays, it tells the story of a warrior, Coriolanus, who is pushed by his mother and friends into the snake pit that is political office.

I speak to co-founders of Heartstring Theatre, Elisa Armstrong and Jo Booth, about their new venture and their first production. I produced this story for Books and Arts on ABC  RN and you can listen to the story here.

Festival takes over Melbourne’s west

7412Big West Festival in Melbourne’s inner-west has gained a reputation as one of Australia’s most respected community-based arts events.

It takes place in the suburb of Footscray, traditionally a working-class suburb that has a hugely culturally diverse population.

This year’s festival centres on the theme of home and dislocation, and the festival hub, HOUSE, is both a theatre and a prototype building for social housing services.

I travelled to Footscray to speak to Marcia Ferguson, the Festival’s Artistic Director, and Jess Wilson, the director and creator of Dwelling, one of the productions which will be staged in the festival hub.

You will also hear from Felix Ching Ching Ho and Natasha Phillips, who are collaborating on their performance work for Big West, 7412 Kilometres of Relations.

Both Felix and Natasha are Hong Kong-born, Melbourne-based performers, and their production is a personal response to the pro-democracy protests that erupted in Hong Kong last year.