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July 27, 2023

Green Room: Ruby revelry and a cabaret class act

Arts and culture news in brief: Nominations open for 2023 Ruby Awards, Ramsay Art Prize winner Ida Sophia’s latest live work, Bangarra brings a major new show to Adelaide, cabaret opportunity for young performers.

Class of cabaret
  • Words: Suzie Keen

Ruby Awards…

Nominations opened this week for the 2023 Ruby Awards recognising “outstanding contributions, artistic works and events” in South Australia.

The annual awards are presented across 11 categories, including Outstanding Community Event or Project; Outstanding Regional Event or Project; Outstanding Work, Event or Project for Young People; Outstanding Work or Event Within a Festival; Outstanding Work or Event Outside a Festival, and Outstanding Collaboration.

Further categories recognise ongoing contributions by individuals and organisations, such as the Frank Ford Memorial Young Achiever Award and the Premier’s Award for Lifetime Achievement.

Actor and playwright Jamie Hornsby says winning the 2022 Young Achiever Award was a huge honour: “It’s a beacon, a validation, an encouragement, and a reminder to keep striving forward as I chart the murky waters of forging a career as an emerging artist.”

Mark Oates and Mason Kelly in Watershed – The Death of Dr Duncan. Photo: Andrew Beveridge

Among the other key winners last year were the Adelaide Festival show Watershed – The Death of Dr Duncan and an exhibition of work by influential printmaker Barbara Hanrahan, with visual artist Hossein Valamanesh and theatre technician Bob Jesser both recognised posthumously for their lifetime achievements.

Nominations for 2023 close at 5pm on September 4 (details here).

And a Ruby Festival

Clarinettist Lloyd Van’t Hoff.

The art of collaboration will be celebrated at a festival featuring four concerts at Elder Hall marking the 40th anniversary of the Accompanists’ Guild of South Australia.

The guild has joined forces with the Elder Conservatorium of Music for the August 20 Ruby Festival, with Conservatorium director  Anna Goldsworthy saying it will bring “children, tertiary students and professional musicians together for a joyful day that celebrates the great pleasure of collaborative music-making”.

Primary and secondary students of Elder Conservatorium’s Open Music Academy and the Accompanists’ Guild’s Junior Ensemble Musicians will feature in the first festival concert, while other programs will include performances by post-graduate Conservatorium piano students and professional musicians such as violist Stephen King, oboist Joshua Oates, French horn player Emma Gregan and clarinettist Lloyd Van’t Hoff. Goldsworthy will also host a conversation about the art of collaborative music-making. (The full program and tickets are available here.)

The Accompanists’ Guild of South Australia was formed in 1983 by Diana Harris and is described as Australia’s first association of accompanists.

Bangarra’s back

Bangarra Dance Theatre is returning to Adelaide in August with a new work by the company’s SA-born artistic director Frances Rings that also features songs from local musicians Electric Fields.

Yuldea, to be presented at Her Majesty’s Theatre on August 10-12, is described as “a deeply personal ceremonial affirmation of history and heritage”, and is the first work Rings has choreographed for the company since taking over from outgoing artistic director Stephen Page earlier this year.

It tells the story of the Anangu people of the Great Victorian Desert, exploring “the moment traditional life collided with the industrial ambition of a growing nation”. First, construction of the Transcontinental Railway sees a sacred water hole run dry, and then the atomic testing at Maralinga forces the Anangu to leave their homelands.

“Within my family lineage lies the stories of forefathers and mothers who lived a dynamic, sophisticated desert life, leaving their imprint scattered throughout Country like memories suspended in time. Their lives were forever changed by the impact of colonial progress,” says Rings, a descendant of the Wirangu and Mirning Tribes from the west coast of South Australia.

“The story of Yuldea asks us to look beyond the narrative of our nation’s modernisation to reconcile a fraught history, and to affirm a future that no longer hides behind its truths but grows because of them”.

Bangarra was last here with Wudjang: Not the Past at the 2022 Adelaide Festival. Tickets for Yuldea are available here.

Class of Cabaret

2021 Class of Cabaret participant Jordan Lee. Photo: Claudio Raschella

Talented young high school performing arts students are being offered an opportunity that could see them taking to the stage at next year’s Adelaide Cabaret Festival.

Submissions have just opened for the Adelaide Festival Centre’s 2024 Class of Cabaret program, which is open to students currently in Year 10 or 11. Successful applicants will receive mentorship in the art of cabaret performance and take part in rehearsals and workshops throughout the first two school terms next year, culminating in performances at the Cabaret Festival in June.

In addition, the Festival Centre’s CentrED education program will provide a teacher to guide students through assessments to achieve SACE Creative Arts Course Stage 2 or Community Studies Stage 1 for accreditation.

Submissions (here) close at 5pm on September 18, with auditions to take place in October.

VERSE with Ida Sophia

South Australian artist Ida Sophia ­­– winner of the 2023 Ramsay Art Prize with her video work Witness – is presenting a new durational live performance at Adelaide Contemporary Experimental this coming Tuesday.

Artist Ida Sophia. Photo: Samuel Graves

Titled VERSE and presented as a special project by Port Adelaide-based Post Office Projects, the performance features an experimental sound work by Joseph James Francis, accompanied by Sonya Mellor on cello.

“Perpetual actions of vain hope” drive VERSE, for which Sophia says she has rearranged German poet Rilke’s Go to the limits of your longing in responsorial format: “I traverse space. I reverse memory. Repetitious circumambulation (the act of walking around a sacred object) and spoken word enact the idea that textual recall, combined with action, can revise emotional associations to memory; reminding us, in Rilke’s words: no feeling is final.”

It revisits a recurring theme in the work of Sophia, who as a child tried in vain to win back her father’s favour after he dedicated himself to religion. Witness (2022) was the first in an ongoing series of performances she has titled HOPE DIES LAST.

VERSE will performed at ACE (Lion Arts Centre) from 6pm to midnight on August 1 (details here) Visitors will be able to leave and return during the six hours, and tea will be served.

Changes at Red Phoenix

Libby Drake is taking over the reins as artistic director of Adelaide’s Red Phoenix Theatre as Michael Eustice steps aside after seven years during which he has produced 18 productions including Shakespeare’s Titus Andronicus and Camus’s Caligula.

A resident company at Holden Street Theatres, Red Phoenix’s stated goal is to produce plays that have not previously been performed in Adelaide, including “new works, unexplored classics and fresh adaptations of great works”.

Eustice, who will stay on in the new role of company production manager, says he is proud of Red Phoenix’s achievements during his tenure as artistic director, especially as it navigated the challenges posed by the pandemic: “We were the first company in Adelaide to stage a show as we emerged from the COVID lockdowns, and we have consistently delivered high-quality and innovative experiences for our audiences.”

Drake was a co-founder of Red Phoenix, whose next production at Holden Street will be David Ireland’s black comedy Cyprus Avenue in October. Michael Eustice is also currently performing alongside his brother Brant in Blue Sky Theatre’s production of Dealer’s Choice, playing at Marion Domain Theatre until August 5.

Green Room is a regular column for InReview, providing quick news for people interested, or involved, in South Australian arts and culture. Get in touch by emailing us at

This article is republished from InReview under a Creative Commons licence. Read the original article.

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