Flaunt 2.0 Tour 2016

FLAUNT 2.0 TOUR: The Flaunt set was bumped out of the Sue Benner theatre on the Saturday night of the 14th of April 2016.  The truck was driven up to Cairns by Felicity (Or Flick as she is know). Felicity had previously flown down to Brisbane from Cairns to operate lighting for Flaunt, and then drove the truck back to Cairns. I flew up on Tuesday the 19th of April 2016 as did set designer, and production manager Frances Hannaway, and technical manager Matt Staples.
Costumes had been neatly packed. Some needed to be washed so were flown up.
Arrived at the Cairns at the Centre of Contemporary Arts. (CoCA)

CAIRNS: The first stop was the theatre. It was good to see Charles Wiles who was running CoCA. I had been to CoCA in 2011 for a visit when Charles had SlowDive in town for the Cairns festival. That was however performed in a night club. Fran and Matt had already arrived before me and along with Felicity had already laid the tarkette and assembled the set. The dancers arrived on the Wednesday and we began to rehearse in the space. Things were going to plan. Charles had built a very strong contemporary dance audience up in Cairns. Audience development takes time, but due to the strong dance audience in Cairns we had two shows at CoCA. Charles even wanted to revamp the hero poster to suit his audiences there.

Every venue is different and that impacts on how much space there is, and especially on lighting. We had the time to tweak the lighting and there were some specific things I had wanted to fix following the Metro Arts season. I almost always choreograph with lighting in mind, so in such a highly technical theatre, I wanted to maximise all their lighting capabilities. Charles Wiles was originally a lighting designer and has worked a lot with contemporary dance including for Sydney Dance Company for a number of years. Below: rehearsing in the space at CoCA:
I thought it might be good to get some aditional photographs taken of Flaunt in a larger theatre.
Photographer Marc McCormack was recommended and was available.

Here’s some my favourite images he took of Flaunt 2.0 at the Centre of Contemporary Arts Cairns.

We bumped out of CoCA on Saturday the 23rd of April, and flew back to Brisbane on Sunday the 24th (not without a cast and crew photo before we left).

The truck was driven back down to Brisbane and ready for the next venue which was Toowoomba:


I had a few days of workshops in Toowoomba in the lead up to the performance in Toowoomba. I am told that Toowoomba only programmes one contemporary dance show per year. In 2016 it was Flaunt. In 2017 it was ADT! So it was a big deal.
We had one show in Toowoomba which was at the Armitage Theatre at the Empire Theatre.
I had been to Toowoomba the month earlier for the screening of my film Ward of State and I took some photos while testing the film to show Fran and Matt who were not familiar with the space.

Fran and Matt had the assembly of the set down to a fine art now, so our bump in was quite fast.
We didn’t have a photographer for Toowoomba, but here’s an iphone snap from during the performance:.

TOOWOOMBA: My producer Jo Thomas came up to see the show too. We bumped out of Toowoomba the night of the 14th. It was two weeks before the final show, so everyone was starting to feel a bit sad about it being over.  The final stop was the Ipswich Civic Centre on May the 27th.

IPSWICH: They say that dance is a hard sell in Ipswich, but I had a lot of connections there through Mill Street Studios being only 20 minutes away, as well as having the Mill Street Studios recital there annually in December. It was nice that the final show was in Ipswich with a lot of students, friends, and familiar faces in the audience. The local high school dance school teachers where’s I’ve taken guest workshops brought their students along. It was nice to feel supported. We also did a double bill screening Ward of State after Flaunt. Many people had not seen the screening in December 2014, so it was a good chance to show the film again.
Here’s the team at the Ipswich Civic Centre:

The Ipswich Civic Centre seats 500 people, and the Flaunt sales were close to 400 which is a massive fete for dance. I’d been told to expect 50-100 if I was lucky. Metro Arts and my people on the ground at Mill Street Studios worked so hard to encourage as many people to attend. It was a big success, and the show had some great feedback. It was definitely very different to what Ipswich audiences are used to. I can say this because I have some understanding of the demographic. Ipswich is a little bit conservative, and people there seem quite relaxed. The city is absolutely beautiful with some old building that have been restored or cared for (unlike the concrete jungle of Brisbane).

FAMILY HISTORY SURFACING IN IPSWICH: One strange thing did occur in the time between Toowoomba and Ipswich. In all my family research that informed my film Ward of State, I often wondered if my Great Grandfather Charles Thyer had ever performed in Ipswich. They had performed in Brisbane, Newcastle, Sydney, and New Zealand. I could never find any evidence that they had performed in Ipswich, but had a feeling that they must have. I have the same suspicions about Toowoomba too, but finding that Emily (my Great Grandmother) died there probably explains my connection to and interest in Toowoomba.

Occasionally I will search the Trove website every month or so and have never found any evidence of them performing in Ipswich. Then in the lead up to Flaunt and Ward of State in Ipswich, BAM, there it was in front of me. My Great Grand Father would have been too young to have joined his siblings in their toupee called “Les Thiers” at the time. But his older siblings, Ada, Maude, and Wattie (acrobats and contortionists) were on the bill as “Special Engagement by the Wonderful Thyer Family”. I read further below and their father “Mr Charlie Thyer” was also performing and listed him as a comedian and banjo soloist. I wondered if my Great Great Grandfather made Dad jokes.

They performed at the School of the Arts in Ipswich. It’s still there, directly across the road from where Flaunt was shown at the Ipswich Civic Centre.  I found something that my own family had published and promoted. The timing of this appearing was quite surreal. Here I was in Ipswich making a work that came about from my family research, (as a starting point in looking at how women pushed themselves in history), and on the final location of the Flaunt Tour, my show was performing literally accross the road from where performed in 1898, almost 120 years earlier!  This was the School of Arts in Ipswich Qld (now is the Art Gallery). I can’t see the clock tower in this photo.


But back to Flaunt:

BUMP OUT On Saturday the 28th of May, we bumped out of the Civic Centre and retuned to Mill Street Studios where the set would live. Post show blues had kicked in. I think that when you invest so much of your time, money, and passion into something, it’s so hard to say goodbye.

I think my words were “I’ll tie myself to the truck if I have to”.

Despite such a great tour, there was much yet to do. I had a few big things on the horizon at Mill Street, and I needed to cut together the footage from Flaunt. We filmed the Cairns show as well as Metro Arts shows, so it was going to be a challenge to cut together something from two very different sized venues with very different lighting. Thanks so much to all the venues who had us tour.





FLAUNT Jute Theatre Cairns, Queensland.

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