Arts

Spect-secular Shelley

Paula Xiberras
04.02.13 7:30 pm

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The name Segal translates into something like ‘assistant to the priest’. In the case of this Segal it is something of an irony, because at this moment in time Shelley Segal is a young Melbourne singer whose world view happens to profess atheism and Humanism. I spoke to Shelley earlier this week.


Shelley Segal visited Tasmania when she was 12 years old and has a Tassie connection with her partner’s sister once living in Launceston. Shelley had planned to discover some of Tasmania with them both but this visit won’t allow much time for extra curricular activities not even a much desired visit to Tasmania’s forests and to MONA, although Shelley would love to perform at the latter sometime soon.


Shelley grew up in a Jewish home in a musical family. Her dad is the president of a local synagogue and often at home, as an eleven year old, between doing her homework; Shelly would be involved in singing in preparation for Jewish celebrations that the family would perform at. Her brother also sings, her dad plays the violin and her grandfather, the cello. Mum was manager of the troupe.


Shelley, in spite of losing her religion, at this point in her life, still enjoys being part of these celebrations because she realises the profound meaning to those involved.


It was as a 16 year old, in biology class and learning about evolution that developed Shelley’s present world view.


Shelley filmed her video clip of her single ‘saved’, referring ironically in this case to not being religiously ‘saved’, but saved from religion, at some beautiful churches in Camden, England. Dressed as an angel Shelley explores her way around the church, guitar in hand. The church becomes a personification as she questions, to her, its seemingly archaic beliefs, rules and regulations.


Shelley said there was ‘strong anger’ when she did this song after a preacher who should have known better, inappropriately and very unchristian-like told her she ‘would go to hell’ for her beliefs.


Shelley is above all a young woman with an open mind and with respect for other peoples beliefs and just wants to represent like-minded individuals, giving them a voice and at the same time maybe shaking up believers to question their faiths and encourage critical thinking.


Shelley believes sometimes people look to an otherworldly source when we can learn much about morality in our interaction with others.


Shelley still has a sense of wonder for the world but she just has a different explanation for that wonder. She knows that some of the subject matter of her music might alienate some people but Shelley is prepared to take that risk.

 
Shelley’s family now accept her present beliefs and although arguments do ensue they are friendly or fun ones. She tells me that it’s probably her dad’s wish would be that she marry a good Jewish boy! Shelley remains open to continue to grow in her knowledge and understanding of the world and to the evidence of a supreme being. As a friend said Shelley is ‘spiritual beside herself’.


Shelley’s music doesn’t totally revolve around her world view. The second part of her dual release is her recently completed jazz album with Adam Levy in LA. Adam has worked with among others, Tracy Chapman and Norah Jones. Shelley says working with Adam has improved her guitar playing immeasurably. Shelley is ultimately a storyteller and the songs on the album include love songs and songs about her strong relationship with her father.


Shelley will be performing at Irish Murphys on February 1st and will return in June to play a date at The Royal Oak Launceston (the venue was too heavily booked out for inclusion this tour), ironically one side of The Royal Oak building has emblazoned on it the words ‘communications and spirit!’ maybe Shelley might smile at that! Don’t be surprised either if you see this secular angel appearing at Mona in the not too distant future.


Shelley’s dual album release, her humanist album ‘An Atheist Album’ and her jazz one ‘Little March’ will both be out on February 22

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Arts | What's On

A play full of merry-go-rounding!

Paula Xiberras
04.02.13 7:23 pm

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Last week I spoke to Anica Boulanger-Mashberg director of this year’s Shakespeare In The Gardens production of ‘As You Like It’. The play is well suited to a garden environment being mainly played out in the Forest of Arden where Arden-t lovers arrive to woo and win their loves.


Anica is a talent soon to be lost to Tasmania as she relocates to Brisbane with her theatre expertise, degree in performing arts from the school of performing arts in Launceston and a degree in psychology.


Anica has an excellent and memorable name for an actor/director and tells me it is of French (Boulanger) and Russian Jewish (Mashberg) (way back) origin. It’s an exotic name but also a bit of a bother when it comes to continuously having to spell it out!


Anica actually starred as shepherdess Phoebe in a previous production of ‘As You Like It’ and is glad to revisit as a director this time.


Which has both benefits and drawbacks, the benefits especially from someone who is an actor, is the panoramic view it allows you to have of the characters and as an actor herself Anica is generous in her encouragement of the actors to question and interpret the text, and is happy to take some of their ideas on board. Anica believes in a production being a collaboration between the actors and director.


The advertisement for ‘As You Like It’ features a carousel and it seems appropriate in that the characters are involved in a metaphorical merry-go-round with the ups and downs of their relationships the reference to a merry-go-round is also appropriate with the actual physical fixture of the carousel in residence at The Royal Botanical Gardens. Although the carousel is not utilised in the production, it provides a beautiful close by prop, fitting in nicely with the circus and playful theme of this production. With recent discussions about the possibility of the carousel leaving the gardens it’s hoped that its relevance to the community will see it remain at the Botanical gardens in the future.


‘As You Like It’ is not without controversy in being considered one of Shakespeare’s lesser known and admired plays, partly because the loose ends and arguments seem to be so neatly resolved.


However, this is also the play where Shakespeare writes one of his most quoted phrases


‘All the world’s a stage,


And all the men and women merely players:
They have their exits and their entrances;


And one man in his time plays many parts’


Indeed in this play, like in other Shakespeare plays some characters do have more than one character to play.


Anica has taken part in 5 previous Botanic Garden productions , the ‘As You Like It’ (the first) as actor and ‘Loves Labour Lost’, ‘Twelfth Night’ and ‘The Comedy of Errors’.


Although playing in the gardens is an exciting experience it can be taxing for actors and directors because unlike a conventional stage play, working in the gardens environment means being tired in traversing distances and logistically working over a large area. Actors also need to be vocally strong so as to be heard from further a field.


This production has some unique features apart from the carousel, with Tasmanian’s own Monique Brumby writing original music.


I ask Anica if, like so many directors, does she reach an epiphany during the rehearsal process when everything seems to fall into place. Anica says that she doesn’t feel that epiphany and keeps working on things right up to opening night and beyond!


The play opens on Friday, 8 February and soon after Anica makes her move to Brisbane. I think on behalf of all theatre loves we wish her well and hope she carousels her way back to Tasmania from time to time.


‘As You Like It’ plays at the Royal Botanic Gardens from February 8 to March 2 at 7pm.

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Despard Gallery & Dale Richards- Twenty years together - 1993-2013

Steven Joyce Director Despard Gallery
04.02.13 12:11 pm

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Despard Gallery & Dale Richards- Twenty years together - 1993-2013

We are very pleased to invite you to a celebratory exhibitions of new paintings by Dale Richards
World By Water
Opening Wednesday evening the 6Th March 2013 from 6pm

Full catalogue online Tuesday 5Th ...

http://www.despard-gallery.com.au/artists/richards13/index.html
http://www.despard-gallery.com.au/images/richards13/essay.pdf

... including essay by Steven Joyce

Steven Joyce
Director

Despard Gallery
15 Castray Esplanade
Hobart Tasmania Australia 7000
http://www.despard-gallery.com.au
ph +61 3 62238266
fax +61 3 62236496

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Fiddler Responsible for Roofs of Tassie

Paula Xiberras
04.02.13 10:05 am

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The Playhouse Theatre is celebrating its 75th anniversary this year and to celebrate will revisit some much loved plays of previous years. The play that kicks off the season is ‘The Fiddler on the Roof’. I had the chance to speak to the director Don Gay recently.


Don has a Tasmanian pedigree, although his parents were living in Melbourne before his birth his grandmother was living in Tasmania and when Don’s mum suffered from ill health she returned to Tasmania and so Don was born here, later he would return to Melbourne and then finally settle back in Tasmania.


‘The Fiddler on the Roof’ is the story of a milkman and his daughters, the big themes of love; love for God, love for family and faith are here; and added to the mix is the question of how traditions survive and are not displaced in changing times. Mirroring this we have the Jewish people who are displaced and must find a home outside of Russia taking their precious traditions with them. In the context of the play that new home is America but Don reminds me that many Jewish people from Russia settled in Australia and there are large populations in Sydney and Melbourne, and of course also some Jewish people settled in Tasmania, of particular prominence were the Solomon family who were involved in the establishment of The Mercury and ironically The Theatre Royal. The Solomon’s also helped build a temple in Hobart Which is located at 59 Argyle Street it’s a building that’s design, Don says, looks, like it has been transported from Egypt. Within it are housed ancient scrolls and wedding canopies, manifestations of a faith and tradition preserved. This temple is very unique and special being the oldest in the southern hemisphere.


The Tasmanian Solomons also have a link which stretches to a rich literary association with Charles Dickens and his character of Fagin. The character of Fagin was based on Ike Solomon however, the Solomon’s of Hobart didn’t emphasise the link because of Ike’s criminal nature. Ike, like Fagin was transported to Van Diemen ’s Land for forming a gang of petty criminals.


Don’s career is no less interesting, having worked in theatre both as actor and director in a career that spans 45 years. Don began in theatre in the early days in Devonport, then the hub of Tasmania’s theatre scene. He went on to do an apprenticeship through the Elizabethan theatre trust with The Theatre Royal and took part in the weekend( Friday to Sunday)presentation of ‘The Wakefield Cycle’, which included the cream of Australian performers. Don also worked in the US. After an accident which left him with limitations Don didn’t pursue his move to the mainland for a career in film and TV.


Don continued his theatre career in Tasmania and this year he is a guest director for a play that resonates with him. Just as many directors have an epiphany when the play comes together, Don believes too, that sometimes a play speaks to you and this one about the triumph of the human spirit and love spoke to him many years ago so much so it was the logical choice to perform in this anniversary year of the Playhouse theatre.


Although the play has a sadness and as one patron said they didn’t want to see it because of this, Don reminds us that it also has a lot of humour which is paramount and the celebrations including energetic dancing makes the characters laugh through the sadness and celebrates the triumph of the human spirit, in this case the Jewish people being ousted from Russia. Don believes the human spirit manages to surmount whatever difficulties are put in front of it and something kicks in, and so with the Jewish people made ‘countries within the countries’ they resettled in.


Don has tried to resist seeing too much of the screen adaptation to allow him to make this version of the story as original as possible and leave us with the image of the fiddler precariously perched on a roof the metaphor of survival of tradition in uncertain times.

‘The Fiddler on the Roof’ plays at the Playhouse Theatre on Friday 22 February 2013 to Saturday 9 March 2013.

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Long Weekend at MONA

MONA
29.01.13 2:39 pm

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Sunday March 10, Monday March 11: Read all about it: HERE

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Arts | What's On

Stranger with my face ...

Briony Kidd & Rebecca Thomson Festival Directors
26.01.13 3:34 pm

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We’ve got lots of exciting announcements to make over coming weeks, but we thought we’d interrupt your Australia Day for some news that just can’t wait ...

Learn about it here

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Arts | What's On

Butterfly Bass

Paula Xiberras
26.01.13 4:59 am

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The lovely Liz Frencham, bass player and vocalist is returning to Tasmania with her performing partner of 10 years Fred Smith. This year’s tenth anniversary tour for the duo is a cause for celebration. Liz jokes, their partnership has lasted more than some marriages.


Liz gets to Tasmania about once a year and she has a personal reason to,with her sister based in Burnie. Liz is disappointed that this 3 day whirlwind tour will not allow her to take in a visit to MONA but perhaps that might be a future performance possibility? Liz would also love to visit King Island to sample some of the delicious cheeses.


Liz is a delightful young woman who has a talent for poetical writing and beautifully recounts in her site biography the story of her Mum making blue butterfly dresses for she and her sisters to wear for singing in church.


And the butterfly is an image which resonates with this musician, not only is she like a butterfly, constantly on the move from one gig to another but she has the freedom and lightness of a butterfly, with both a panoramic vision and the ability to savour every place she stops on her journeys.


Liz’s free and open spirit makes a wonderful contrast in Liz’s own words to’ Fred’s incisive, dry wit’  and ‘more understated, erudite presence’  and together they provide a perfect balance with a wonderful mutual respect between them.  Liz explains it beautifully when she tells me how she discerns a difference in Fred’s stance and notes his attentiveness when she takes to the stage.


People often tell Liz they envy her for being able to pursue a career that she loves but she reminds them that its not easy always having to plan for gigs knowing that you are planning for your next dollar. There is also of course the long periods travelling from gig to gig and in the case of a recent gig, driving ten hours and getting home at 1 am.


This butterfly bass is an extraordinary and delightful young lady . please help liz and Fred celebrate their tenth anniversary at the following dates and venues in Tasmania.

Dates:

Launceston - Thursday 31 January
Garden picnic and concert at Riverside, 6.00 p.m. for concert at 7.00.
RSVP to .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) or 0438 871 345

Devonport - Friday 1 February
Live at Red Hot Music,
8pm, 10 Edward St. ph. 6424 9816

Margate - Saturday 2 February
Brookfield Winery, 1640 Channel Highway
Priority seating for diners, bookings recommended - ph. 6267 2880

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Shelley Segal album, single, tour

Shelley Segal
24.01.13 11:59 am

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SHELLEY SEGAL ANNOUNCES DUAL ALBUM AND SINGLE RELEASES
ALONGSIDE EAST COAST AUSSIE TOUR IN FEB AND US TOUR IN MARCH

Melbourne singer songwriter and international touring artist, Shelley Segal has announced twin album and single releases, coupled with a five-date east coast Australian tour and an extensive two month US tour.


Segal will release her albums,An Atheist Album and Little March on February 22,complimented bytwo singles (one lifted from each album); Saved (An Atheist Album)and Stuck In The Memory(Little March), both set for media servicing on Monday, January 28.


Having been performing in the Australian and international scene for the last decade, Segal has an ever growing, dedicated following across the globe.Her single, Savedis a solid pop tune that slips in and out of reggae and has already received airplay around the world,with the clip having gathered almost 70 thousand views online.


With many music successes under her belt, Segal also recently wrote and recorded a track, Chemistry, with DJ Carl Cox.  The track spent two weeks at #1 in the dance charts last yearand also saw her take to the stage with Cox at the Stereosonic Festival in Melbourne last year.


Raised in a traditional Jewish family, and the daughter of the President of the East Melbourne Synagogue, Segal’s religious world-view was first challenged in a year 11 Biology class while learning about evolution. Spurred on by authors such as Sam Harris and Richard Dawkins, Segal became involved in the secular movement, through which An Atheist Album was born.Segal relishes her ability to use songwriting and music to explore issues of importance to her, as seen in the opening track, Evewhich explores the many oppressive religious doctrines that exist for women in certain cultures.  Folk track, Gratitude describes how one can feel gratitude for one’s life, even without a deity to be grateful to.  The album cleverly questions a great number of dubious existing moral codes and dilemmas, all the while positively highlighting Segal’s intense love of life and fellow humans and her desire to encourage equality for all.


Conversely, Little March takes on a jazz direction and speaks more of internal musings, showing Segal’s versatility as a singer and songwriter.  “I’m fortunate that I can write about all sorts of subjects and don’t feel limited by genres,” says Segal. Written in New York and recorded in Los Angeles with jazz guitarist Adam Levy (Norah Jones, Tracy Chapman, Amos Lee), Little March is a collaboration between the two which was produced by the Grammy-winning Husky (Fiona Apple, Tom Waits, Sheryl Crow, Norah Jones).Lead single Stuck In The Memoryhighlights Shelley’s impressive writing and vocal ability as she slips in to this sophisticated, slinky jazz number that will have you singing along after just one listen.


Listen to Stuck In The Memory here:https://soundcloud.com/shelleysegal/stuck-in-the-memory-of-you

View the clip forSaved here:www.youtube.com/watch?v=z-h_jNiSczw


SHELLEY SEGAL |  THE TOFF |  FEB 27 |  $15 |  TIX AVAILABLE THROUGH MOSHTIX
NEW ALBUMS | AN ATHEIST ALBUM |  LITTLE MARCH |SET FOR RELEASE FEB 15
NEW SINGLES | SAVED|  STUCK IN THE MEMORY |  SET FOR MEDIA SERVICE JAN 28

shelleysegal.comfacebook.com/shelley.segal.musictwitter.com/shelleysegal

AUSTRALIAN TOUR DATES:

Friday Feb 1 Irish Murphy’s, Hobart
Supported by Timothy John
Doors open 9pm
Free entry

Friday Feb 8 - Babushka Bar, Ballarat
Supported by Lauren Glezer
Doors open 8.30pm
$5 Entry at the door

Tuesday Feb 19 - Byron Bay Brewery, Byron Bay
Free entry

Sunday Feb 24 - X&Y Bar, Brisbane
Doors open 8.30pm
Free entry


Wednesday Feb 27 - The Toff in Town, Melbourne
Supported by Lauren Glezer and Anna Smyrk& The Appetites
Doors open at 7pm
$15 entry at the door or $12 presale::03 9639 8770 / http://bit.ly/11w645H

Saturday Mar 2 – Tatts Hotel, Lismore
Doors open 7.30pm

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Arts | What's On

Celebrating Men in Opera

Carolyn McDowall, Muse News, thecultureconcept circle
24.01.13 6:18 am

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Celebrating Men in Opera by Showcasing Great Voices and Charting New Territories in Art from the Ice Age to Cosmology

The Culture Concept Circle, here

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Arts

Old Seadogs: A photographic exhibition by Andrew Wilson

Somerset On The Pier
22.01.13 2:46 pm

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“OLD SEADOGS”
A PHOTOGRAPHIC EXHIBITION BY ANDREW WILSON
@ SOMERSET ON THE PIER HOBART

Part of the My State Australian Wooden Boat Festival
8-11 February 2013

Hobart, Tasmania January 2013 - A special photographic exhibition, “Old Sea Dogs” by Hobart photographer Andrew Wilson, will be held at the lobby of Somerset on the Pier Hobart, as part of the My State Australian Wooden Boat Festival hitting Hobart’s shores from 8 to 11 February 2013. Featuring 6 to 12 well-weathered gentlemen, all sailors from around Hobart, this special installation will display a combination of black and white portraits and seascapes for sale to the public.

Inspired by his father’s tales of (mis)adventures on Tasmanian seas, Mr. Wilson sought further subjects from a life spent amongst the salty sea spray. “There are a lot of old dogs with fascinating stories, full of hijinks and humor as well as wisdom and advice,” said Andrew. “It’s really important that their stories and character are captured – their history”, he added.  A highlight of the exhibition will feature rollicking tales from the local “Sea Dogs” themselves. 

The My State Australian Wooden Boat Festival is the largest event of its kind in the Southern Hemisphere. The sea side event attracts over 600 registered boats and over 150,000 spectators to the city for a vibrant mix of entertainment, food and wine, nautical displays and maritime activities - all free to the public.

Andrew Wilson’s “Old Sea Dogs” - February 8 -11 at Somerset on the Pier, Elizabeth St Pier, Hobart, Tasmania, 9am-5pm. For more information, visit http://www.australianwoodenboatfestival.com.au.

For more information on Somerset on the Pier Hobart or any of The Ascott Limited’s properties, please visit http://www.the-ascott.com.

About Somerset on the Pier Hobart

An award-winning transformation of an early 1930s pier building, Somerset on the Pier Hobart integrates the exterior historic waterfront landmark with clean, striking modern architecture.

Somerset on the Pier Hobart offers 56 non-smoking apartments for families and individuals. Each spacious loft-style apartment features contemporary décor and offers unrivalled panoramic views of the River Derwent, Hobart’s waterfront and the historic Sullivan’s Cove.

Somerset on the Pier Hobart is a welcome alternative to a hotel and ideal as corporate housing for the executive and international family for a short holiday or extended stay. Take a stroll from the serviced residence and experience the energy and excitement that Hobart has to offer. Somerset on the Pier Hobart is conveniently located just a few minutes’ walk from Salamanca Place, Battery Point, cruise centres, the Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery, Constitution Dock, Hobart’s central business district and its finest restaurants and cafés.

When staying at Somerset on the Pier Hobart, staff will use their local knowledge to help you quickly settle into the city and integrate with the local culture. The serviced residence provides a comfortable environment for you to escape and immerse yourself into the city.

Somerset on the Pier Hobart is one of a premier collection of The Ascott Limited’s serviced residences in over 70 cities in Asia Pacific, Europe and the Gulf region. The global leader in branded serviced residences, The Ascott Limited brings to you more than 25 years of experience in supporting travellers who work and live away from home.

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Cure your MOFO withdrawals with the MOFO encore!

MOFO
22.01.13 6:18 am

CURE YOUR MOFO WITHDRAWALS WITH THE MOFO ENCORE!
Wednesday January 23

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Read all about it, here

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Arts | What's On

Scholarly Celtic Singer

Paula Xiberras
22.01.13 5:55 am

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Soon after I finish speaking to Celtic Thunder’s George Donaldson (below), I have another Celtic Thunder member, in the person of Ryan Kelly, on the phone.


I greet Ryan in Irish and not to disappoint he responds accordingly although adds that when the time came for choosing options at school he opted for French!


Ryan is very excited about Celtic Thunders upcoming tour of Australia which he says is ‘fantastic’ having toured here previously last year.


He tells me that Tasmania is getting some coverage in Ireland’s news at the moment, not for positive reasons, but because of the devastation of the fires.


He also tells me that even though Tasmania is not well known in Ireland it has been a place that has captured his imagination.


Ryan remembers his aunty, his dad’s sister, emigrating with her family to Australia about 40 years ago and of a wallet with a map of Australia on it. Ryan was always captivated by the little island depicted at its base and it seems somehow serendipitous that at last he is telling me his very own Tasmanian story. Ryan thinks there is something special about Tasmania because of that early introduction and he would love to visit.


On a serious note, around June last year Ryan wasn’t thinking of visiting anywhere and indeed his whole future with Celtic Thunder was up in the air when he frighteningly was oblivious, in a coma for three weeks after he sustained head injuries from falling at home and hitting his head against a wall.


Ryan is very appreciative in what he calls a second chance at life and wants to relish his career with Celtic Thunder, with no desire to return to his previous career in accountancy and banking.


Ryan, apart from his musical talent is also a superb scholar having achieved the highest marks in high school economics in the whole of Northern Ireland. in fact Ryan was an investment banker and chartered accountant for 5 or 6 years and was ready to start a new job in a bank when his brother told him about the auditions for Celtic Thunder, which he lapped up, having loved singing all his life and instead of starting work at the bank, visited to inform them he was off to ‘join the circus’ as he called it.


Away from music and his love for the Boston Celtics Ryan is also a fan of Aussie Rules football and an admirer of Irish footballer and great Australian Jim Stynes , the pioneer in paving the way for young Irish Gaelic footballers careers in Australia.


Ryan is athletic, favouring running as a way to learn more about the cities he visits, so keep your eye out for the young Irishman who has overcome a frightening experience to sing a song of joy once again


You can see Ryan perform at:


Cairns   Cairns Convention Centre   Wednesday 23 January
Townsville Townsville Entertainment Centre Thursday 24 January
Maryborough Brolga Theatre   Saturday 26 January
Gold Coast Gold Coast Convention Centre Sunday 27 January
Brisbane Brisbane Entertainment Centre   Tuesday 29 January
Tamworth   Tamworth Entertainment Centre Thursday 31 January
Newcastle Newcastle Entertainment Centre Friday 1 February
Sydney Allphones Arena   Saturday 2 February
Wollongong Wollongong Entertainment Centre Sunday 3 February
Canberra   Royal Theatre Canberra   Tuesday 5 February
Geelong Geelong Arena   Thursday 7 February
Ballarat*  Wendoree Performing Arts Centre Friday 8 February
Melbourne Hisense Arena   Saturday 9 February
Adelaide Adelaide Entertainment Centre Tuesday 12 February
Adelaide Adelaide Entertainment Centre Wednesday 13 February
Perth   Perth Arena     Saturday 16 February

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George’s Celtic Connections to presidents and royalty!

Paula Xiberras
22.01.13 5:50 am

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George Donaldson is an immediately likeable man. As soon as we start the conversation he enquires with concern about the bushfires in Tasmania, on a lighter note he also mentions how he’d like to meet a Tasmanian devil, all of which demonstrates how this friendly Scotsman is true to form in being well known for having an interest in ‘real’ people.


Impressed as I am with George’s interest I inform him about his many fans in Tasmania who would love he and his band Celtic Thunder to have a Tasmanian tour date this coming tour of Australia. As one of the long standing members of Celtic Thunder for six years along with Ryan and Keith, George kindly says he’d be happy to mention to management about including Tasmania in future tours.


George is enjoying his role in Celtic Thunder but before becoming the well-known musician he is today, George studied the trade of bus building.  Music, especially folk music was of course something he has loved all his life, especially after a holiday in Spain which inspired George to search out folk gigs for the next 20 years.


George’s big break came when the idea of a group of Irish and one Scottish lad was canvassed. George auditioned to be that Scottish part and became the sole Scotsman of the group; thankfully nowadays there is a stronger Scottish contingent with the group’s musical director also being of Scottish Origin.


Celtic Thunder has a rich diversity of talented individuals made up of different ages and specialisation in different musical genres, in such diversity the group has something to offer everyone and is perhaps particularly identified for its ballads on tangible subjects. The individual group members all have particular songs that are their signature tunes, in George’s case it is ‘The Old Man’ a simple song that emotionally impacts and resonates on a lot of fans.


George is not the only talented Donaldson, in fact it is George’s daughter Sarah that is a star in her own right; playing the fiddle. For George the biggest drawback of being in the successful group is being away from his family.  When he returns home he witnesses Sarah’s continual improvement and progress and although Sarah has been tutoring her dad in the fiddle he finds he would rather listen to Sarah play.
George has suggested Sarah do a cameo on Celtic Thunder’s tour but as yet Sarah hasn’t agreed. George tells me Sarah says all she wants to be is a teacher and he suspects she will be a music one!


George pinches himself sometimes, such as when Celtic Thunder were performing for President Obama, wife Michelle and the couple’s daughters at the White House. It’s hard to believe how strong and internationally admired the group has grown in six years.


I can’t resist asking George, that being of Scottish heritage, and with the name Donaldson might he possibly be related to Tasmania’s Mary Donaldson, now Crown Princess Mary of Denmark?. George is not familiar with any connection but jokes he wish he was related to a princess! For all this walking in the circles of the famous and with a possible relation to royalty, this kindly Scot is most happy meeting and chatting to ordinary people.


You can see George and Celtic Thunder perform on the following dates:


Cairns   Cairns Convention Centre   Wednesday 23 January
Townsville Townsville Entertainment Centre Thursday 24 January
Maryborough Brolga Theatre   Saturday 26 January
Gold Coast Gold Coast Convention Centre Sunday 27 January
Brisbane Brisbane Entertainment Centre   Tuesday 29 January
Tamworth   Tamworth Entertainment Centre Thursday 31 January
Newcastle Newcastle Entertainment Centre Friday 1 February
Sydney Allphones Arena   Saturday 2 February
Wollongong Wollongong Entertainment Centre Sunday 3 February
Canberra   Royal Theatre Canberra   Tuesday 5 February
Geelong Geelong Arena   Thursday 7 February
Ballarat*  Wendoree Performing Arts Centre Friday 8 February
Melbourne Hisense Arena   Saturday 9 February
Adelaide Adelaide Entertainment Centre Tuesday 12 February
Adelaide Adelaide Entertainment Centre Wednesday 13 February
Perth   Perth Arena     Saturday 16 February

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Sarah‏‘s Symphony

Paula Xiberras
20.01.13 5:31 am

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The name Blasko means one who is very talkative and it suits well Sarah Blasko, although Sarah is admittedly softly spoken and doesn’t waste words it is her music with brilliant lyrics that capture with precision emotions where Sarah’s voice can be heard at its loquacious best.


I had the opportunity to speak to Sarah Blasko this week about her new album and upcoming visit to Tasmania.


Sarah tells me she has enjoyed previous visits to Tasmania and well remembers the beautiful Theatre Royal.


This time Sarah will be performing with the Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra which will be something new and she is looking forward to ‘the freshness’ of the experience and of ‘creating some magic’ with Tasmania’s acclaimed Orchestra. There will be a day off on this trip and Sarah would love to get to MONA (perhaps a potential future performance venue?) and also get in some driving whilst enjoying the beautiful scenery.


Sarah’s new album ’ I Awake’ begins with the title track which, with its exhilarating drum beats cannot fail to awake the spirit of the listener and send them as was mentioned ‘spiralling’.


The album was recorded in Stockholm Sweden and backed by the Bulgarian Symphony Orchestra found some of its inspiration in Leonard Cohen’s songs of love and hate.


This is Sarah’s music stripped back and extreme and she wants to move her audience in the aim and manner of all good art. 


Sarah’s parents were missionaries for a short time and religious imagery plays a part in some of her lyrics ‘baptisms’ and being ‘lost and found’ as well as imagery of seeing and being open with what you don’t see.


But this is just a small part, the album is about becoming ‘Awake’ and Sarah taking us on an emotional roller coaster in her highly original way.


After the tour of Australia with symphony Orchestras Sarah will tour Europe. Istanbul, England, France and The Netherlands being some of the destinations. After which Sarah will be looking to a more extensive winter tour of Australia in August.


Sarah performs with the Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra on Monday 4 February at Wrest Point Casino. 

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Cows, Cutlery and a Culture Change

Paula Xiberras
19.01.13 6:47 am

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Robin Roberts,  photographic artist, is a contented man who can’t contain how much he loves Tasmania. It’s evident on his beaming face as we engage in this interview.


Robin wasn’t born in Tasmania or even Australia but found his way here from the UK via New Zealand and then Brisbane.

Robin was born in Surrey and his grandparents were once residents of
Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch, the town in Wales that is famous for being the place with the longest name in the UK. Tourists to the village are keen to have their photos taken near the sign of the village name, so it seems that photography would be an appropriate career for one of the village’s descendants.

Robin is able to pronounce the village name with ease as he speaks some Welsh and was in fact brushing up on the language in adult ed classes here in Hobart, taught by a vicar’s wife. Which might sound very English village but Rob is very much a proud Tasmanian.


So how did this friendly Englishman find himself living in Tassie? His grandparents had been world travellers in the 1900s and later moving back to settle on a farm in Northampton , England. Robs aunt told him of his grandparents travels to Brisbane. Rob remembers the mysterious cutlery his grandfather had with Brisbane insignia on it.


‘My Welsh grandfather had travelled the world quite extensively in the early 1900’s - how and why I have no idea .’  But it seems he had been to Brisbane all those years ago although I had no idea when I decided to go to Brissy.


Rob’s dad was a butcher and the family had many holidays on farms around Wales and England, so it was a natural progression that Rob would go on to work on dairy farms, through an English New Zealand scheme – which was similar to the ‘10 pound pom’ immigration scheme in Australia, although the price was increased to 25 pounds for new Zealand.  After a time working on farms Rob went on to study dairy technology and manufacturing. He took leave for 2 years to go on a working holiday including visiting family in the UK. But it was very cold and he pined to return to the warmth of Australia and more precisely Brisbane because it was warmer than Melbourne and Sydney and he remained there until 2006.

In Brisbane he took a job with the department of primary industries in Queensland in the dairy and food research area.  The jobs he did were both various and interesting like checking the deterioration of fish and there was also a test for diagnosing cows for the rapid diagnosis of mastisis in cows.

 


In a strange irony one really hot summer Rob and a friend opted for a cool change and a break in Tasmania.


‘Robin thinks moving to Tasmania was the second best thing he has ever done in his life – the BEST thing he ever did was to immigrate to Australia.’


In Tasmania he managed to combine both science and art in studying photography. This has been a great success for Rob whose work has already featured in a number of exhibitions.  Rob is also a keen potter with successful pottery exhibitions. Pottery was an interest he picked up in an adult ed class in New Zealand in the seventies and Robin is now is a member of the Tasmanian ceramics association.


Apart from his artistic pursuits and of seeing as much of Tasmania as he can, all the while cataloguing it with his camera, Rob has also found time to work as a volunteer English tutor at The Polytechnic giving migrants and refugees help in mastering English and settling in to their new home.


The Burnie Coastal Art Group was the site last March of Rob’s joint exhibition with 10 potters called ‘Fired Up’.  Rob was also part of a joint exhibition at Sidespace in Salamanca and exhibited at The School House Gallery at Rosny.


Last March Rob’s work in ceramics featured in a joint exhibition of 10 potters called ‘Fired Up’ which exhibited at the Burnie Coastal Art Group. Rob was also part of joint exhibitions at Sidespace in Salamanca, as well as exhibition at The School House gallery at Rosny.

Another burgeoning area that Rob is working on that brings together both creating a ceramic and photography, is photographing ceramic pieces for already established and emerging artists.

 

‘In The Detail’ is the name of a joint ceramics/paintings and photo exhibition with Bronwyn Theobald and jill Rich that Rob will take part in at the end of May.


Ever creatively busy, Rob joined ’ Quoll artists’ gallery’ at Salamanca a small art co-op.  The organization features six artists from a variety of mediums, felt maker, painters and a jeweller. Rob is the photographer and he also hopes to do some work in ceramics.


Rob will also take part in the annual Howrah art show at The School House Gallery with his pictures and pots, both for sale with some proceeds going to rotary, The show is on this year between Feb 8 – 28.

 


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Faux Mo ... !


18.01.13 3:53 pm

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“It’s quite warm in that tent with the gorilla”
— Anon. Faux Mo, 17 January, 1am.

MOFO’S AFTER PARTY — FAUX MO.
HAPPENING NIGHTLY
JANUARY 16-20
$10 DOOR SALES FROM 11PM

This year our venue’s much bigger,
and heaps (way, massively) better.

More, here

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$10 million for the arts would enrich our lives

Senator Christine Milne, Greens Leader
18.01.13 2:36 pm

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Australian Greens Leader, Christine Milne, attending events at Tasmania’s MONA FOMA festival this week, is launching $10 million of initiatives to support the arts and enrich the lives of more Australians.

The initiatives would ensure more young and emerging artists are paid for their work, encourage more innovation in the arts, and support more touring to regional Australia and overseas.

“The arts, from festivals like MONA FOMA and the Sydney Festival, to small art galleries and community theatre companies, bring so much joy to our lives,” Senator Milne said.

“At a time when so many of us feel more and more under pressure in our daily lives, a small investment of $10 million would make a huge difference to helping artists and would pay tremendous dividends in economic activity as well as making our lives better.”

The initiatives are:
• Establishing a $3 million/yr Artists’ Fund to ensure artists are paid for their exhibitions and performances, which will be particularly beneficial for young and emerging artists;
• Supporting innovation in performing arts with a $5 million/yr research and development grants program; and
• Taking performing arts to the community with an additional $2 million/yr to assist touring.

“Too many young and emerging artists in particular exhibit their work or perform without being paid simply because it gives them exposure and experience. A fund to pay them for their work is not only fair but will also help them create more work.

“Every industry needs to innovate and the arts are no exception. We hope this research and development program will see our already ground-breaking arts community excite us even more into the future.

“Those of us who are privileged enough to see so many of our excellent artists want nothing more than for them to get a larger audience, both around Australia and overseas, so we can share the joy. An additional $2 million a year for touring will help make that a reality.

“All of us in Tasmania know what a huge difference MONA has made to our economy, and our pride in our beautiful State. Let’s see our government behind our creative artists to help enrich all of our lives even more.”

Please follow link for audio of the press conference where Christine Milne launched the Greens’ arts policy. The Senator also commented on other issues of the day. http://greensmps.org.au/content/audio/press-conference-launch-greens-arts-policy

Download the arts policy:
arts_initiatives_MONA_FOMA_17_1_2013.pdf

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Regional Arts to support appeal for survivors of Tasmanian Bushfires

Tasmanian Regional Arts
17.01.13 1:24 pm

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Sticks, Stones, Broken Bones
World-renowned Canadian shadow puppeteer
Jeff Achtem (aka “Mr Bunk”) will tour north-west Tasmania in January.

Come play in the dark!

Sticks, Stones, Broken Bones is an utterly delightful show that promises and delivers entertainment for the whole family.It is a wordless, shadow puppet comedy for all ages from Montreal, Canada.

“Mr. Bunk” presents a series of delicate, intricate comic sketches with his shadow puppets. Using a minimum of language in the show, his elaborate contraptions that generate the shadows fascinate, while his surreal cartoon shadows delight.

The showtransports children and adults alike into a giddy, funny, dream world. A shadowy, bent take on Warner Brother’s wackiness.Flying Ninjas, UFO abductions and brain transplants! In each scene the audience is invited behind the visual trickery, to witness the making of the shadow puppet melodramas.

Mr Achtem uses intricate, fascinating setups for simple yet awesomely sweet stories and vignettes. By projecting his puppetry up onto a big screen, everything can be clearly seen by the audience.

“He takes the viewer into a childlike world of simple beauty and quirky tales…the audience was mesmerized to the very end…his visual storytelling is a treat and his imagination is glorious…you can’t help but be captivated. 4 stars!”– Adelaide Advertiser

“An utterly delightful show that promises and delivers entertainment for the whole family. The kids were mesmerized as well as laughing and grinning throughout. But you don’t need kids as an excuse to enjoy this show.”– The Groggy Squirrel
TOURING NORTH-WEST TASMANIA – JANUARY 2013
Monday 21 January:  Flinders Art & Entertainment Centre, Flinders Island
Tuesday 22 January:  Ex-Service & Community Hall, Bridport
Wednesday 23 January: Little Theatre, Deloraine
Thursday 24 January:  Leven Theatre, Ulverstone
Friday 25 January:  Port SorellMemorial Hall, Port Sorell

All details, including performance times and costs are on the TRA website http://www.tasregionalarts.org.au

Regional Arts to support appeal for survivors of Tasmanian Bushfires

Tasmanian Regional Arts is collecting funds next week for the Red Cross bushfire appeal and is calling on our regional branches and audiences to help out.

Tasmanian Regional Arts state president Lee Cole said TRA has many members living in communities affected by these recent fires and our thoughts go out to them.

“Our organisation will continue to seek ways to fundraise in 2013 for those who will need to rebuild their lives”, Mr Cole said.

TRA’s campaign kicks off next week with fundraising and donation being sought as part of the Sticks, Stones and Broken Bones puppet show touring the state’s north east and west.  TRA staff and volunteers will be on hand at the show to take donations at the show venues – all of which will go directly to the Red Cross appeal.

“With performances in Ulverstone, Port Sorrell, Bridport and Deloraine, the Sticks, Stones and Broken Bones Puppet show, provides a great opportunity for people on holidays in the north of the state to reach into their pockets and support those down south who are dealing with the devastation caused by these fires”, Mr Cole said.

“Every donation – however small – will be gratefully received. So come along, be entertained and help us raise funds for the appeal.

“The Arts have proven to be highly beneficial in the healing and regenerative processes following bushfires. I am sure that our regional arts branches and their communities will come up with a number of ways to rebuild their communities and we look forward to working with these communities”, he said.

Sticks, Stones and Broken Bones is a production by the Dirty Work Theatre Company and is co-presented by Tasmanian Regional Arts and Regional Arts Victoria from January 21-25.

Venues and times for the show are available by calling 6426 2344.

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Arts | What's On

Art Auction: All proceeds to Dunalley School Art Supplies

Saakia Itchins Secretary Southern Beaches Regional Arts
17.01.13 8:31 am

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MOFO OPENS TODAY

MOFO
16.01.13 1:30 pm

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FREE SHED PARTY TONIGHT
PW1
Pretty Lights
Bickram Ghosh
Los Coronas
Mat Ward
Tania Bosak and the Barefoot Orchestra
Tina Havelock Stevens is White Drummer

Details, here

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MONA Bushfire Fundraiser Concert

MONA
15.01.13 2:15 pm

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MONDAY JANUARY 21
PRINCES WHARF (PW1)
DOORS OPEN 5.30PM

THE HOODOO GURUS
THE BREAK
KATE MILLER-HEIDKE
EVAN DANDO
SPENCER P JONES
NEIL GAIMAN
JHEREK BISCHOFF
TAIKO DRUM

Details here

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What's On

Choirs for the Fires!

Philip Crouch
14.01.13 5:52 pm

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CHOIRS FOR THE FIRES!
A concert of choirs and small groups, raising money for the Tasmanian Bushfire Appeal.
Sunday 3 February 2013, 3.00pm
The Playhouse Theatre, 106 Bathurst Street, Hobart
MC: Daryl Peebles
Performers: About Time, Hobart Men’s Barbershop Harmony Club, Nourish Women’s Choir, and more to be announced soon!
Raffle tickets will also be for sale on the day - great prizes up for grabs!
Tickets:
Online: $30 full, $26 concession (plus 30c booking fee per ticket)
At the door (if not sold out): $32 full, $28 concession (cash only)

This event has been registered with the Red Cross and is produced by Ta-Daa! Professional Entertainment.  Due to the amazing generosity of the Playhouse Theatre, Daryl Peebles, all of our performers, volunteers, raffle coordinator Judy Moss, and various businesses who are donating raffle prizes, all proceeds will be donated to the Red Cross Tasmanian Bushfire Appeal.
For more details, or to speak to a real person about this event, please contact Jane at Ta-Daa!, email .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) or phone 0409 54 74 74.

Online sales close at 5pm on Sat 2 Feb (unless sold our earlier).
NOTE: Seating is ‘general admission’ - arrive early for the best seats!

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STARCHILD: A new opera for MOFO 2013


14.01.13 5:32 pm

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STARCHILD
by Dylan Sheridan

A new opera for MOFO 2013

Dates January 19 at 3pm & 7.30 & January 20th at 4.30
Where Peacock Theatre Hobart Salamanca Arts Centre
Tickets $10.00 at the door only

A woman wakes into a dream and begins a journey to her left as she searches
for the source of a far-off song.
Inspired by the writings of George MacDonald, Starchild is a new chamber
opera by Dylan Sheridan,
and features a unique score composed of found sounds, electronics and
acoustic instruments.

Staring:
Music, Direction & Concept - Dylan Sheridan
Allison Farrow - AD Soprano

Ben Price - Saxophone
Jabra Latham - Saxophone
Abby Badcock - Flute
Emily Le Bis - Percussion
Ruby Pensalfini-Brown - Child Soprano
Sara Pensalfini - Dream Guide
Dylan Sheridan - Electronics
Lighting - David Szoka
Costume - Ellie Sheridan
Mask - Sally Rees + Ruth Rees
Photos - Remi Chauvin

http://www.mofo.net.au/

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The 48-Hour Tasploitation Challenge


12.01.13 5:44 pm

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Coming up in Feb, a 48-Hour filmmaking comp with a difference (or two). The 48-Hour Tasploitation Challenge will be lots of fun for the participants—although, let’s face it, slightly gruelling as well. You can read all about it here… and sign up if you think you’ve got what it takes!

Registrations close at 12 noon on Friday 8 February, which is the day the Challenge begins, but get in quick. Places for Tasmanian participants are limited!  (Why? Because Tas teams are guaranteed to have their work screened at the Awards Night on 7 March, while interstate and overseas teams are not)

The principal sponsor of the Challenge is Events Tasmania, and we thank them for that! The principal sponsor of the festival as a whole is Screen Tasmania.

Read more here

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Arts | What's On

Living Disney doll

Paula Xiberras
12.01.13 6:50 am

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It’s not many people that can say they are a ‘living doll’ but Emily Erbert can say she has been, and is one twice times over!


I spoke to the lovely Emily this week about her upcoming and first visit to Tasmania and Australia . What are some of her early perceptions about Australia? Emily is amazed at the blue skies and the beaches and plans to spend a few extra rest days in Tasmania after performances to explore.


The show is called ‘Disney Live’ and is interactive, carefully conceived to look every bit a live cartoon. The concept brings together a diverse range of Disney favourites on a talent show quest and offers the opportunity for Disney characters that are usually locked in their own particular tales to leave the pages, cross reference and mingle with other favourites, there will also be a chance for the audience, children and parents alike to take the stage.


Emily has played several characters in her time with the show such as Cinderella, Belle from ‘Beauty and the Beast’ and Drizella,  one of the ugly stepsisters (who Emily thinks is great fun) but this time she plays Jessie from ‘Toy Story’.


Emily has worked hard studying Jessie’s facial expressions to reproduce them and to literally animate the delightful doll. Emily with her ballet background has also mastered the hula hoop and even given it additional dexterity using it around her waist, hands and neck in a feat of coordination.


All this coordination is due to Emily’s university degree and experience as a ballerina. having performed in ‘Coppelia’, ‘Swan Lake’, ‘Sleeping Beauty’ and ‘The Nutcracker’. The ballet of ‘Coppelia’ is the story of a mechanical doll and it seems Emily has come full circle with her playing her present role of a very different doll, in Emily’s words the ‘wild and crazy’ cowgirl Jessie. 


Emily, as well as being an excellent dancer and actor, is also a strong supporter of charity her pet (pardon the pun) charity being the Humane Society for whom she does great work.


‘Disney Live’ is a very live experience for this living doll.


You can see ‘Disney Live’ at The Derwent Entertainment Centre on the 2nd and 3rd of February.

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NO CHANGES FOR TEN DAYS EXCEPT CONTRIBUTION TO BUSHFIRE APPEAL


12.01.13 6:29 am

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Headline act: Dame Kiri Te Kanawa

Planning for the Ten Days on the Island international arts festival in March 2013 has not been affected by
the Tasmanian bushfires, and the full programme as announced last year will proceed throughout
Tasmania.

In addition, Ten Days is pleased to announce it will be contributing all profits from the performance of
The Select (The Sun Also Rises) Based on the novel by Ernest Hemingway, to take place on Sunday 17
March at the Theatre Royal at 7pm, to the Red Cross Tasmanian Bushfires Appeal.

Executive Director and Producer Marcus Barker said the Board and staff of Ten Days are all deeply
affected by the trauma and shock being experienced by many Tasmanian communities at the moment,
having worked closely with Tasmanians across the State since the inaugural festival in 2001.

“Our thoughts are with all Tasmanians affected by the bushfires,” Mr Barker said.

“Ten Days has hosted a number of events in Dunalley in previous years and has always been warmly
welcomed and supported by the local community.

“It is heartwarming to see so many Tasmanians returning that support to them now.

“We have also worked closely with all Tasmanian local councils, and are thinking of them as the recovery
efforts continue.

“We are especially pleased that we are able to contribute to the Red Cross Tasmanian Bushfires Appeal,
by donating all profits from one performance of our flagship event.”

Ten Days on the Island 2013 runs from 15 – 24 March 2013, and all programming details are now available
at tendaysontheisland.com

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Bett Gallery: Peter Atkins, related forms

Bett Gallery
10.01.13 6:19 am

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MOFO: January 16 - 20


09.01.13 5:06 pm

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Book in your spray tans and put the cruisers on ice ... one more week until MOFO is a go go ...

All about MOFO here

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Bett Gallery: Neil Haddon: the black mirror, back burn, opera

Emma Bett, Bett Gallery
09.01.13 6:56 am

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TIDAL ZONE 22 – 27th January Mersey Bluff, Devonport

Astrid Joyce Education and Public Programs Officer Devonport Regional Gallery
08.01.13 6:14 pm

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TIDAL.12 CITY OF DEVONPORT ART AWARD

TIDAL ZONE

22 – 27th January Mersey Bluff, Devonport

Tidal Zone is an open air sculpture project commissioned by the Devonport Regional Gallery as part of Tidal.12 City of Devonport Art Award.

Tidal Zone is a key component of the public programs that run alongside the Tidal.12 exhibition.

Situated at the picturesque Mersey Bluff, Tidal Zone will be an interactive art project created by sculptor Ross Byers. Ross Byers is a highly experienced professional artist who has worked closely with a diverse range of communities.

From the 22nd to the 26th of January Ross will inhabit the Sound Shell at the Mersey Bluff as his studio. He will be using recycled clay to create site specific sculptures that will be set within the nooks and crannies of the surrounding environment.

Inspired by the theme tidal, Ross aims to respond to current environmental issues, such as rising sea levels. Made from recycled clay the structures will respond and reflect how these environmental changes influence the movement of colonies and communities of coastal regions both past and present.

Tidal Zone will allow community members to work alongside a professional artist through a series of workshops. The workshops are a unique and rare opportunity for community members to learn new skills and contribute to a fun and creative project in our region through building their own clay sculptures. The workshops are designed for people over the age of 16, and families. Children under the age of 16 must be supervised by a guardian at all times.

The sculptures created as part of Tidal Zone will be free for the public to enjoy as long as they withstand the weather conditions at the Mersey Bluff.

WORKSHOPS:
24th and 25th January
From 10 am
FREE
Sound Shell, Mersey Bluff, Devonport.

MEET THE ARTIST
Ross will be using the sound shell as a temporary studio for the duration of the Tidal Zone project, so feel free to come along and say hello. Ross has also created large outdoor sculptures for QVMAG, MS Fest and recently returned from a two year residency in Scotland, UK.
22- 26th of January 2013
From 10am

TIDAL.12- CITY OF DEVONPORT ART AWARD
Tidal.12 will be on display at the Gallery until 27th of January 2013. Admission is free.

Additional information on this artist, please see link to previous media coverage.
http://www.abc.net.au/local/videos/2010/11/23/3074367.htm

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Tour De Clarendon 2010 Wood, adhesive.

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Stop 2010 Cardboard

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Monument 2010 cardboard

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L and Pyramid 2011 Ceramic

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Lolly Pop 2010 Cardboard

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Hidden Green 2012 ink on paper

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