This is Not Art , the multi-disciplinary arts festival which comprises three sub-festivals and a host of special guests, took over Newcastle on the October long weekend, and it was a cause for celebration for many. For nearly two decades TiNA has been an experimental space for young emerging artists, writers, theatre-makers and creative researchers to share their work, seek collaboration and take creative risks, and this year it celebrated some special birthdays.
National Young Writers Festival marked their sweet sixteen with a Paranormal Formal, teaming prom dresses with smoke machines and fake cobwebs, while Critical Animals celebrated ten years with a party to launch their inaugural publication, Critical Animalia: A Decade Between Disciplines. Crack Theatre turned seven, but when artistic directors Nick Atkins and Jenni Medway took to the stage at the official launch dressed only in TiNA programs they reassured that wouldn’t stop them from making theatrical mischief.
Crack’s festival hub repurposed the former Go-Lo on Hunter St Mall, presenting a dynamic and provocative program including work by Applespiel, Friends with Deficits, Open Cage Ensemble, and The Sipat Lawn Ensemble. Murmur Collective presented ‘Ether’, a work initially devised for Melbourne Fringe redeveloped for performance at the Newcastle Baths, while No Show presented ‘Unfinished Business’, an audit of the festival’s activities culminating in a final triumphant and destructive conclusion.
NYWF presented a broad program of literary delights, including discussion forums and roundtables, workshops on writing for the stage, short fiction, animation and comedy, readings in the tunnels of Fort Scratchley by Penguin Plays Rough , a grammar bee, a special appearance by feminist pub talkshow Cherchez La Femme, and a highly-contested round of 90s literary trivia.
Critical Animals presented an expanded anniversary program, with workshops on performance and creative cartography, an immersive AV installation at the Watt St Church, and an exhibition at The Lock Up Cultural Centre – in addition to panels on sonic materiality, the pitfalls of the art market, art-science collaborations, political theatre-making and the election cycle media circus.
This year also saw the return of Electrofringe , which presented as a one-day interactive showcase at Hunter St TAFE. Artist talks and demonstrations, performances, workshops and spontaneous collaborations engaged with a range of electronic and cross-disciplinary artforms, and finished with TiNA’s closing night party.
Stay tuned to Artery for interviews with each of the festivals as they reflect on their highlights and look to next year’s program!
National Young Writers Festival is supported by the Literature section of the Australia Council.
Crack Theatre was recently announced as a Creative Australia Emerging Presenter for the Theatre section of the Australia Council.