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Rich cultural performance coming to Where You Are

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Get ready Canberra, it’s time for our cultural and arts community to RISE up and start performing once again—albeit in a new and physically -distanced fashion.

Following on from the ACT Government’s establishment of the  RISE Canberra platform in May—an online portal to showcase events across the ACT—things are stepping up a notch from July 10, when the Where You Are Festival kicks off.

The two-month festival line-up, to be announced today, promises everything from live dance performances taking place alongside food events, to Shakespeare live-streamed into your lounge room, an interactive photographic exhibition, bushcraft and foraging for families, Instagram drama and an online Canberra variety show.

For Head of Programming Adam Deusien, the process of selecting a variety of innovative performance pieces for the festival was made easier because of the ACT Government pledging a pot of $240,000 to support the ailing cultural sector.

“It has been a real gift to be able to program a festival with this funding behind it,” he said.

“And this support will have a positive flow-on effect not only to those artists performing in the festival, but to the production companies and events crews that work behind the scenes.”

Adam said it there was an embarrassment of riches in submissions to be part of the festival and the selection process was focussed on choosing the most innovative and varied works on offer.

“So many of the ideas pitched were great ideas, and we would have loved to include everyone, but we received more applications than we could schedule.”

Much loved Lakespeare & Co will live stream their wild new production Rockspeare Richard III as part of the Where You Are Festival. Photo: Lexi Sekuless.

When asked which events he is particularly excited about, Adam said that was akin to asking a parent to choose a favourite child.

“What we were trying to do is to capture ingenuity, innovation and the Canberra spirit, so I would have to say one of the most exciting parts of the program is the “Satellite Selfie” which will be run in collaboration with the Mount Stromlo Observatory, the Australian National University and ACT Science Week.”

The city will grab some “selfie” time from a satellite during three scheduled flyovers during National Science Week (17-25 August) with Canberrans encouraged to get creative and conjure displays in their backyards or streets and then examine the images in detail as taken from outer space.

“We would encourage everyone to think outside the box on this one and to download the images of Canberra to see what it looks like during this time,“ Adam said. Exact times of the flyovers will be announced closer to the date to ensure everyone knows when to get outside.

Another event he is particularly excited about is “Songs from a Stolen Senate”.

Five indigenous Australian composers have created artistic responses to the Australian parliament’s attitude towards citizenship and migration over the last 120 years, composing different movements of a song cycle to be performed by Canberra-based The Griffyn Ensemble with words by ACT poet Melinda Smith.

The performance will be able to be seen on September 4 and 5 via online live-stream and will include opportunities for the audience to engage with the artists.

“This will be a beautifully performed and recorded interactive session of a really important work of national significance,” said Adam.

He encouraged all Canberrans to examine the program and make time to get involved in any points of personal interest, from poetry, to pop music, to podcasts.

“It is really clear there was a really great need to reach out and support our arts, culture and events community but also, this program was curated with the ACT audience completely in mind. It is a time to connect and reflect on what it means to be part of this community and to celebrate being back as an audience member again.”

For details on the Where You are Festival go here.

Feature image: Australian Dance Party will premiere their new work Lake March as part of the Where You Are Festival. Photo by Lorna Sim.

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