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Creature: The Installation

What

Creature is an indoor theatre work and installation for children, which explores Australia’s indigenous flora and fauna and its fragility.

Based on the 1889 Australian story Dot and the Kangaroo written by Ethel C Pedly, the work tells the story of Dot, a little girl who gets lost in the Australian bush and is befriended by a kangaroo and other native animals that help her get home. 

Commissioned by Queensland Performing Arts Centre (QPAC)  for its children’s festival Out of the Box 2016, Stalker Theatre developed the work combining physical theatre, interactive digital technology and storytelling. Funding through Queensland Arts Showcase Program supported the development of Creature: The Installation, which used a blend of projected animations coupled with real-time full-body interaction and a combination of infra-red optical tracking and movement-sensing props.

Participants were able to take centre stage and through their artistry, manipulate their surroundings to see the immediate effect their actions can have on their environment.

Stalker Theatre worked with researchers and artists from Queensland as well as student teachers from QUT.

 

When

May to June 2016

 

Children participating in the workshops

Where

Queensland Performing Arts Centre

 

Key stats

  • 9 Queensland artists were involved in the project
  • 14,968 attendees
  • 92% of attendees rated the work as good or excellent

 

Arts Queensland contribution

$44,230: Queensland Arts Showcase Program - Ignite
 

Outcomes

  • The installation trialed a new type of learning experience for participants and the teacher artists with positive feedback.

Amazing...suitable for adults and children alike. Very professional

Great, a wonderful experience for child and adult.

  • Artists involved in the installation developed their skills in a range of ways across the digital platforms. Digital artists developed their knowledge-base of animation and digital interactive forms and the merging of these forms.
  • In developing the installation, Stalker Theatre worked with a range of artists and established new exchanges between the company and Queensland artists. This was beneficial to all, with new artistic relationships being established. 
  • There are ongoing conversations with a range of partners including museums and theatre venues regarding future presentations of Creature: the Installations.

 

Learnings and reflections

The success of the installation with participants was due to the ability of artists and teachers to fine-tune the work.

The installation accelerated the practice of the  teaching artists in training. The journey of developing and constantly adapting and responding to the participants, venue and the technology was invaluable. They came to understand that the fusion of artist and teacher is extremely difficult as nothing is as it is planned for or rehearsed when work starts moving. We can discuss responsivity, but it is not truly grasped until the practice commences. This learning has acted as career development for the teaching artists.

The Queensland artists under the direction of Judith Mclean were particularly adept at fine-tuning the engagement with the children on an almost daily basis to make the learning environment as pedagogically sound as possible. 

Stalker Theatre reflected on the complexity of using digital theatre:

Embarking on a new path with digital technology is enormously complex. 

For companies in the small to medium sector one has to chart a path between innovation and being realistic about what is achievable with the resources one has. Stalker’s vision for Creature was bold, and we were at times a little stretched to realise the vision. But overall I think we held track to deliver an outstanding outcome.

Contact for further information

Email: admin@stalker.com.au

Website: https://www.stalker.com.au/

Creature: Installation - Highlights from Stalker Theatre on Vimeo.

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