Melbourne Festival and Arts House present

Mapping a Vibrant Independent Ecology

You can take art out of the city but can you take the city out of the art?

New York and Melbourne are defined by their cultural landscapes, but how far do the qualities of these cities influence the artists creating work in these thriving metropolises?

New York Narratives brings together an influential group of theatre directors and producers whose experiences stretch between the two cities and beyond to explore the commonalities and differences of New York and Melbourne’s respective independent arts scenes. They ask what are the intrinsic ingredients of a vibrant independent arts sector? How much do cities inspire and therefore shape artists and how do their communities nurture them in return?

Featuring Vallejo Gantner (PS 122), Angharad Wynne–Jones (Arts House), Daniel Clarke (Theatre Works), Adena Jacobs (Fraught Outfit), Karen Therese (Artist and Artistic Director of Powerhouse Youth Theatre), Dan Koop (Melbourne Fringe/Artist). Facilitated by Emily Sexton (The Wheeler Centre).

This event is part of our New York Narratives series.

Emily Sexton (The Wheeler Centre)

Emily Sexton is a curator, producer and festival director from Melbourne. She is currently Head of Programming for The Wheeler Centre, and Sidney Myer Creative Fellow for 2015—16. From 2010—14 Emily was the Artistic Director of Next Wave, Australia’s leading contemporary arts organisation for emerging artists. Emily is an alumni of the Australia Council’s Emerging Leaders Program (2011) and a regular peer assessor for the Australia Council, Arts Victoria and other philanthropic trusts and foundations.

Adrena Jacobs (Fraught Outfit)

Adena Jacobs is the Artistic Director of Melbourne based independent theatre company Fraught Outfit. In 2014—15 she was the Resident Director at Belvoir, and in 2012 she was the Female Director in Residence at the Malthouse Theatre.

Her productions have been nominated for Green Room, Helpmann and Sydney Theatre Awards. In 2012, Fraught Outfit’s Persona received five Green Room Awards including Best Direction and Best Independent Production.

Fraught Outfit and St Martins Youth Arts Centre will present The Bacchae at Theatre Works as part of this year's Festival.

Vallejo Gantner (PS122)

Vallejo Gantner has been the Artistic Director of Performance Space 122 in New York City since 2005. Previously, he was Director of the Dublin Fringe Festival from 2002—2004, and Artistic Associate of the Melbourne Festival 2000—2001.

Originally from Melbourne, Vallejo has worked in a range of capacities throughout the arts in the US, Asia and Australia—as a director, writer, performer, agent, producer and programmer.

Dan Koop (Melbourne Fringe)

Dan Koop is a Producer and Artist from Melbourne. Professionally, he has worked for contemporary multi-artform venues and festivals. Creatively, he makes performance works in public spaces that engage audiences to participate. At Melbourne Fringe Dan is responsible for the delivery and facilitation of the Creative Program, including the annual keynote project, and Artist Development.

Daniel Clarke (Theatre Works)

Daniel Clarke is currently the Creative Producer/CEO of Theatre Works, St Kilda, where for the last four years he has supported, presented, commissioned and produced many original works by leading independent artists. He has worked in Australia, the UK and US as a theatre director, producer and artistic director. Most recently he co-commissioned and produced the award winning Australian tour of Bryony Kimmings’ Fake it ‘til you Make it.

Karen Therese (Powerhouse Youth Theatre)

Karen Therese is a Sydney-based interdisciplinary artist, creative producer and cultural leader. Her practice is grounded in performance, activism and community building.

In 2010 Karen was the inaugural recipient of the Cultural Leadership Grant of the Australia Councils Theatre Board which supported her to take up a position as Associate Producer at Performance Space 122 in New York. Now Karen is the 2015 Griffin Theatre Studio Artist, a guest curator of MCA, Australia’s ARTBAR and is a key facilitator for Time_Place_Space NOMAD presented by Arts House Melbourne and Performance Space.

Angharad Wynne-Jones (Arts House)

Angharad, born in Chicago, studied theatre at Dartington College of Arts in Devon in the UK. In 1998 she (as Executive Producer) and Gideon Obarzanek won the tender to establish a state dance company and moved with Chunky Move to Melbourne. Angharad joined Peter Sellars as Associate Director in the 2002 Adelaide Festival. 

She returned to Melbourne to curate and direct the first Australian Theatre Forum in 2009 and in 2011 Angharad was appointed Artistic Director at Arts House, where alongside developing the annual program and biennial festival Dance Massive, she has initiated FOLA - Australia’s first international biennial Festival of Live Art,  and Green Room award winning Going Nowhere – an international event exploring ways in which we can sustainably develop international arts projects. She is also Founder Director of TippingPoint Australia developing international and local projects with artists, scientists and communities energising the cultural response to climate change.