The Queer Space on the Australian Stage

FT Stage 2, Wed 4th Oct, 10:00am, 1 Hour Facilitator: Richard Watts 1st Provocateur: Emma Valente 2nd Provocateur: Dan Clarke

We are in the middle of an explosion in Australian queer theatre, storytelling and art making. What’s our history or lineage in these stories? What are its aesthetics in 2017? Is there such a thing as a queer form of theatre? From sissy’s to transgender representation what voices are we portraying on stage and how we are doing it?

Key Points (Updated Live)

  • Is there a difference between queer theatre and gay and lesbian theatre? Queer: a difficult word, but also powerful. Queer art can be the same as the word queer. It can be powerful, but painful.

  • Queer is the state of, it is a way of accepting, re-imagines sex and the body. People want to see queer work. We want to see queer stories on stage.

  • There is no ‘other’, we are all the ‘other’. Performance that presents work that accepts diversity

  • The queer community is under attack, especially by the government. There is a lot of pain in our community. Keep the Q in LGBTIQ.

  • Where is queer work happening? A real lack of Queer performance in Sydney. Mainstream stages: Queer theatre is still alive. Black Swan employing their first transgender actor in a production. Can you call it queer if it’s on the main stage? A lot more queer voices in dance/theatre in Tasmania.

  • Regional Queer Theatre: There are no safe spaces for queer people. It’s scary enough. In Sydney there are communities where queer people can feel safe, but in regional areas it’s almost non-existent.

  • Queer work: why should straight people only do it? Queer theatre should be made by queer people. How many queer voices should be involved in that production? If it is considered to be queer work. How many queer people should be employed? Trying to introduce more queer voices. Letting queer actors receive queer roles. Producing more work by the queer community.

  • Queer work should also be resistant, not co modified. How to create a space with resistance? Do people recognise Queer work?

  • There are more queer leaders, but there is no exposure.

  • Audiences: their impact on queer theatre. Straight middle class people who watch queer theatre: It can become a spectacle. Watching our stories as if it was a ‘freak’ show. How audience members can change the form.

  • How do we create safe spaces? How can we create support for queer artists? There are not many physical spaces for queer artists to inhabit. The queering of straight spaces.

  • Coming into a traditional space. It’s uncomfortable. Create a new type of world where queer artists can be themselves. Paving a path way for audiences and artists to experience queer theatre. We know what we are doing. We know how to speak to our audience and give new context.