The program was designed to encourage an exchange of ideas, a deepening of relationships and a conversation around practice itself. In the mornings we assembled as one group for keynotes and panels, and in the afternoons we divided into multiple streams, with smaller working sessions and presentations alongside a program of intimate artistic trips to our national institutions before coming back together at the end of each day for a final session as a group and for drinks. In the evenings there was the artistic program of the Centenary of Canberra. At the heart of the Forum was a commissioned pop-up space designed by Imogen Keen, equipped with Wi-Fi and a barista, and the focal point for conversations and meetings.
Keynotes and Panels
Following a Welcome to Country and a Centenary welcome from Robyn Archer, we began the Forum on Wednesday joined by Tipping Point delegates with an opening keynote by anthropologist Lenore Manderson and futurist Kristin Alford, both contributors to Australia 2050, released by the Australian Academy of Science. Tipping Point delegates then departed and artist David Milroy presented a keynote offering his provocation about making, and his perspective of where we are headed. In the afternoon, we came back together to hear from our international guest Ria Papermoon, Indonesia. Ria was supported by DFAT in line with Australia’s growing partnerships and artistic activity over 2014 and 2015.
On Thursday, we began with New York’s Pavol Liska and Kelly Copper of Nature Theatre of Oklahoma, the creators of the extraordinary OK Radio. Pavol and Kelly were ‘in residence’ for the Forum and over the three days had microphones in hand engaging in a series of durational broadcasts. Following on, Stephen Armstrong facilitated a conversation about vision and reinvention with artistic directors, associate artists and managers from the major theatre companies.
Early Friday morning, Theatre Network ACT invited state and national theatre networks and ATF delegates to an early morning breakfast on the summit of Mount Ainslie. Back at Canberra Theatre Centre restaurateur Nahji Chu ‘MissChu’ spoke about her approach to what’s not possible and breaking the rules. Following on, Wesley Enoch facilitated a panel with artistic directors of our state festivals talking around ‘the changing nature of Australian Festivals – or not?’
On Wednesday and Thursday afternoons, the Forum divided into multiple streams with concurrent, smaller working sessions and presentations that threaded together a range of discussions across the country and which had been curated in response to thoughts and reflections offered over the previous six months. These discussions took place throughout the spaces of Canberra Theatre Centre and in the pop–up space.
Artistic Trips to National Institutions
Curated by Nat Randall and hosted by a series of curators at the National Film and Sound Archives, CSIRO, Australian War Memorial, National Gallery Australia, and National Library Australia these off-site artistic trips opened the doors to private collections for intimate and personal tours. The institutions designed each of these experiences, and alongside a sharing of knowledge was an acknowledgement of the role of artists in accessing and working with these extraordinary collections.
Evening Artistic Program
ATF2013 was part of the Centenary of Canberra and each evening delegates were free to make their way to a show of their choosing, including version 1.0’s ‘The Major Minor Party’, BoHo Interactive’s ‘Word Play’ or Shortis and Simpson’s ‘Prime Time’. In addition to the Centenary program was Max Cullen’s ‘How To Be (Or Not To Be) Lower’ at The Street, an exclusive ATF/Tipping Point reading of a new play by Hannie Rayson ‘Extinction’, and on Friday night the opening of Liz Lea’s InFlight. We secured ticket discounts for ATF delegates. On Wednesday night we joined up again for late night drinks and a dance at The Street, accompanied by Canberra’s DJ Jemist.
On Friday afternoon, we came together for the final sessions. Following a return of the 2011 Postcards From the Future, we wrapped up with Supper Club, hosted by Next Wave. Over wine and cheese, delegates articulated and distilled the last three days, and made offers for the future, spurred on by a final set of provocateurs.