Black Swan’s strength lies in artist development, how we encourage access and engage with our community. We have seen enormous growth in building audiences, building capacity and establishing a benchmark for quality productions of scale in Western Australia. Looking to our future we have three areas of core strategic focus: artist development, education and regional engagement.
The following programs promote Western Australian talent, create stories significant to the Western Australian community and develop new pathways for artists and audiences alike.
The Bridging Company
Our most recent initiative that illustrates the professional pathway for artists coming through the Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts and onto global stages, is the establishment of The Bridging Company. Consisting of an ensemble of eight graduates from WAAPA’s 2015 acting program, who will make their professional Black Swan debuts in our Lab, bringing to life two new Australian plays.
The Black Swan Lab
The Black Swan Lab is a creative melting pot of emerging and established artists, a wonderful mix of old and new wisdom that empowers artists. In 2016, we expand the Lab to include The Bridging Company. If you have an appetite for new stories and are a theatre lover keen to witness exciting collaborative works, then these Black Swan Lab productions are sure to impress.
Supported in part by the Patrons Club and Wesfarmers Arts
Rio Tinto Black Swan Commissions
This program, supported by our Principal Partner Rio Tinto, enables Black Swan to commission Australia’s leading playwrights to develop new works that engage meaningfully with Western Australians, and reflect our unique position in the world. Following on from the success of The Red Balloon, adapted by Hilary Bell (NSW), there are five other commissioned works currently in development: Love like a Universe by Chris Isaacs (WA), The Bacchae by Jeffrey Jay Fowler (WA), Frankenstein by Zoe Pepper (WA) and People Smuggling by Tommy Murphy (NSW). Lighthouse Girl by Hellie Turner (WA) will also receive further development following a successful staged reading in Albany in 2015.
A driving force behind our creative agenda is to provide professional pathways for early career directors, designers, writers, composers and actors. Black Swan supports these artists as they establish themselves on the national stage. Artists involved in this program receive mentoring, assessment and the opportunity to hone skills in a professional environment. They are also invited to all productions and have access to our experienced creative teams and resident artists for further training and mentoring.
Supported in part by the McCusker Charitable Foundation.
This year-long program is for a select group of mid-career artists who are engaged with the company over the course of the year. You might see them on stage or hear their music in a production. Resident artists each have a unique skill set including, choreography, music, design, acting, dramaturgy and fight choreography. They use their skills to mentor other artists in the company, identify and champion talented artists working outside the company, provide ongoing support to productions throughout the rehearsal process and provide verbal and written peer assessment. They advocate for their artistry and their fellow artists, and are a sounding board for the artistic leaders within the company.
Supported in part by the Ian Potter Foundation.
Emerging Writers Group
Emerging playwrights can apply for a year-long position in the company as a member of the Emerging Writers Group. The group meet once a month for discussion and to develop their work. By the end of the year, they will have written a play that receives a reading and is eligible for the Malcolm Robertson Award.
In 2016, all three writers for our Lab productions are Western Australians who developed their work through the Emerging Writers Group. We present LOADED, a double bill of new Western Australian plays - Gita Bezard’s Girl Shut Your Mouth and Will O’Mahony’s Tonsils + Tweezers. Later in the year, we welcome back another WA playwright from this talented group, in Nathaniel Moncrieff, presenting A Perfect Specimen - the true life story of Julia Pastrana. 2015/16 emerging writers under the guidance of Associate Director Jeffrey Jay Fowler include; Zoe Hollyoak, Izaak Lim, Finn O'Branagain, Zoe Pepper, Mararo Wangai and Mikala Westall.
Supported in part by the Malcolm Robertson Foundation.
Black Swan is committed to supporting educators in developing a lifelong love of theatre. We are accessible to all school communities with selected performances, workshops, quality resources and experiences that align with the curriculum. Heavily subsidised student ticket prices and school subscription packages are offered in addition to work experience, internships and high school and tertiary student ambassador programs.
Education program supported in part by Chevron.
As part of our regional engagement strategy, we aim to embed theatre in the lives of all Western Australians regardless of location. Our engagement programs seek to support vitality, pride and strength in regional and remote communities. Black Swan strives to engage with our regional communities in multiple ways throughout the year – through annual live broadcasts from the Heath Ledger Theatre, regional tours and long-term community engagement activities. Underpinning this strategy is the appointment of regional ambassadors, who act as a conduit between the company and their community.
Regional Engagement program supported in part by Chevron, Water Corporation and Virgin Australia.