Sunday, July 28, 2013

Critics’ Circle embarks on “conversations”

Paul Knobloch makes a point
The Canberra Critics’ Circle has embarked on a long-planned series of talks this winter at the Canberra Museum and Gallery, who have kindly offered us space for these informal meetings between critics and arts professionals.

The “………in conversation with the Canberra Critics’ Circle” sessions are hour-long informal chats held in one of the smaller Museum and Gallery rooms. Initially, the  idea is to “inform the critics” and to provide a more cordial atmosphere to exchange views than is usual.

They are not planned as full-blown symposia, though the Critics’ Circle has agreed to stage a symposium on Splinters Theatre of Spectacle later in the year to coincide with the Canberra Museum and Gallery’s Splinters exhibition.

Our first guest, on July 23, was professional dancer Paul Knobloch, presently a dancer and choreographer at Alonzo King LINES Ballet in San Francisco, but previously a member of the Bejart Ballet Lausanne. Paul was born and educated in Canberra and  trained at The Canberra Dance Development Centre and the Australian Ballet School. Among the many subjects raised was the question of ageing productively as a dancer.

Twelve members of the circle took part in this inaugural “conversation.”

The second session, held on July 25, was a conversation with the leading figures in the coming Free Rain Theatre production of “The Phantom of the Opera”— Michael Cormick, who plays The Phantom, Julie Lea Goodwin, who plays Christine, producer Anne Somes and director David Harmon.
Michael Cormick

Michael has performed in Andrew Lloyd-Webber musicals on the West End and in Australia and can be considered a veteran of the Australian musical there. Julie is a classically-trained opera singer who has played Christine in the Phantom and Maria in “West Side Story”. Anne is the director of Free Rain Theatre and David, a recent graduate of NIDA, has worked on several productions with Opera Australia.

For this session, the critics packed out the CMAG boardroom. A well as our guests from “Phantom”, the circle invited the Canberra Theatre’s programming manager Gill Hugonnet to join in. As the sessions develop, it is hoped to extend more such invitations to professionals in the  arts.

At the end of a frank and entertaining conversation, both Julie and the director David commented that meeting critics informally like this was a “first” for them.
Julie Lea Goodwin

Future “in conversation” guests will be digital video artist and theatre practitioner Jack Lloyd, film producer Daniel Sanguineti, pianist and music improviser Elaine Loebenstein and art gallery director Barbara McConchie.
Helen Musa

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