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Creative Clout: Chenoeh Miller

Josephine Walsh

ARTISTIC DIRECTOR OF LITTLE DOVE THEATRE ART AND ARTISTIC DIRECTOR OF THE CANBERRA MULTICULTURAL FRINGE FESTIVAL.

If you asked Chenoeh Miller 10 years ago to tell you about her job, her answer might have left you more than a little intrigued.

“I was saying that I created live art that aims to embody the physical manifestations of different kinds of love,” Chenoeh says. “No one had a clue what I was on about.”

Chenoeh’s passion and work are not easy to explain in just one or two sentences. “I am a director of physical theatre and festivals,” she explains. “It took me a long time to own that and to articulate it in what I thought was an accessible way.
If art is a reflection of the society we exist within, then it is our duty as artists to articulate what’s important for our community. And to do that we must really listen, with all our heart, not [just] our ears.”

Chenoeh’s productions seamlessly weave philosophy, emotional intelligence and biology together, resulting in highly evocative performances.

“My live artworks generally put the audience in a space where they see the emotional suffering of performers and they have the choice to relieve them from it or watch them through it,” Chenoeh says.

Don’t be surprised to see signs like ‘Please Do Touch’ at her productions. Audiences are invited to physically connect with the performers, and in doing so, engage with the emotions and situations they are exploring.

“There is never manipulation involved – the space is always dark and comfortable if you wish to just sit back,” Chenoeh reflects. “Miraculously, the audience always obliges, and then they tell me afterwards about what the work brought up for them.”

Having watched her company perform over 200 of these live works, Chenoeh never ceases to be moved and motivated by the instinctive kindness of people.

“The performances turn rapidly into reflections of an honest and intense joy, inspired by every person in the room,” she says.

Working with Dave Caffery of the Molonglo Group has had a profound impact on Chenoeh’s creative vision. The pair worked together on the ACT Music Awards and the annual Sound and Fury performance for the
’Art Not Apart’ festival.

“I was awed by the possibility that large-scale events could potentially have a similar effect of bringing people together, and inspiring them,” Chenoeh reflects, who couldn’t be more proud of how Sound and Fury has grown into “a kick-ass little festival unto itself.” Combining unlikely performers such as butoh artists, classical musicians, punk singers and ballerinas results in a brilliant, breathtaking performance.

“It encourages important risk- taking from the artists and audiences,” says Chenoeh. “Listening and experimenting is how theatre – or whatever you want to call it – can become relevant again.”

Her instinctive understanding
of how to inspire connection, as well as enable important creative risk-taking, has led to her being entrusted with directing the Canberra Multicultural Fringe Festival for the past two years.

“[It’s] another platform to support a confluence of artists, but it’s
a bigger challenge and a longer process to reach those goals,” says Chenoeh.

THREE THINGS YOU DIDN’T KNOW ABOUT CHENOEH MILLER

Influences “Pina Bausch, Anne Bogart, Lloyd Dobbler, Antonin Artaud, Kazuo Ohno, the Little Dove Theatre Art performers.”

Surreal or unexpected moment which shaped her artistic career “Reading The Continuum Concept 
14 years ago when I was struggling with my studies. I [realised that] I wanted to seek a way to soothe that deep need in all of us to be loved, and to love. It’s cheesy but true, and I base my life on it.”

Can’t live without “Spinach.”

This article originally appeared as part of our Creative Clout article in Magazine: Break The Mould for Autumn 2016. Find out more about Magazine here

Magazine Break The Mould Cover

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Josephine Walsh

Jose Walsh loves A-line skirts, the arts, and all types of pasta. She moved to Canberra in 2011 to study at ANU, and follow her dream of working in a museum. With an education background, she's currently harnessing her love of connecting people in a social media and PR role in a national institution. She loves great film, rambling about her succulents, and finding the perfect spot to share with her favourite people. More about the Author

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