We would like to introduce Show Day, a new immersive puppet performance, funded through the Made in WA program, being made over the next 18 months in partnership between Albany Entertainment Centre, Spare Parts Puppet Theatre and members of the Great Southern community. Show Day draws on the stories of participants in the Albany Agricultural Show and will premiere at Albany Entertainment Centre in January 2023 followed by a season at Spare Parts in Perth in April 2023. We are eager to talk with presenters to explore how we engage with them and their communities in relation to Show Day and how we embed engagement in any project from its inception.
We’d like conversation with presenters to build on our existing experiences with audience engagement and to explore more collaborative models. We’d like to gauge interest in Show Day as a future touring production. The work is being made to be lightweight yet maintain excitement of scale. We are making the work to be suitable for presentation in a range of types of venues, halls, rec centres, as well as theatres.
Director and co-creator of the project, Michael Barlow, has been inspired to create this work by a lifelong love of Ag shows, which bring together people of all walks of life, whether as a competitor (wood chopping, chook breeding, shearing, show jumping and so on), as a spectator or for the pleasures of sideshow alley and fireworks. Puppetry is an ideal form for translating these experiences imaginatively. The project is being made in a devised process that draws on experiences from the community with an intention to make work that resonates with and reflects its audience. We are conceiving the work as an immersive performance which welcomes audiences into its world and creates a sense of shared experience while offering visually imaginative, joyful entertainment. Are you looking to engage in particular regional areas? Do you want to engage with particular groups, organisations or communities? We hope the work will resonate in districts that either have or enjoy an Agricultural Show. Groups with connection to ag shows span a wide range of interests, including farmers, arts and craft practitioners, wood choppers, show jumpers, cooking enthusiasts, chook breeders, sideshow alley workers, machinery restorers and many others.
Conversations at Showcase will be timely in informing the next stage of development of the project in December 2021. Broader conversation around engagement between Spare Parts and presenters will feed planning across our range of activities beyond this project over the coming years. We anticipate giving an update at Showcase 2022 about this project in the run up to its premiere in early 2023. We will keep any interested presenters updated about the project as it develops in the meantime. Producer Susan Clarke regularly communicates with presenters in the development of other tours the company is preparing.
We hope the project will authentically evoke the range of experiences a day at the Show offers up and that audiences will feel the warmth of inclusion the performance is intended to create. We will know if we succeed through the relationships we build with community members in the creation of the work, through the response to the production itself and through an ongoing dialogue with presenters. Ultimate success would be the opportunity to make further works in collaboration with regional communities, artists and presenters.