With the program now launched and tickets on sale it’s starting to feel like Adelaide Fringe 2021 is real. I’ve got two shows going on this year. A new one, being the fourth in my ongoing trilogy, I Made an Adult (tickets here), plus a short season of Pearls with one livestream (tickets here).
As well as writing the new show, I’m having to do things differently this year–as we all are. With capacity restrictions in place, even moving into the bigger theatre at The Bakehouse gave me only a few more seats than this year, so I’ve extended the season to include a few nights at Nexus Arts. That means I’ll be doing more shows than I’ve ever done before. I’ve stretched the season more and more each year, beginning with only a few nights in 2018, a full week in 2019, then two weeks in 2020. Each extension has helped me to learn a bit more about performing, and I like the opportunity it gives to experiment even in small ways like moving a word or finding a new inflection.
There will be plenty of learning this year, because I’m not only doing a nearly three-week run of I Made an Adult, I’m adding a short season of Pearls into the mix. It wasn’t in my original plan but when Black Box Theatres announced that they would be up and running for this year with outdoor theatres, I thought it would be the perfect setting for Pearls and I was thrilled when they were able to offer me a place in their program.
I’ll admit though, the uncertainty that COVID-19 continues to foster has made creating a new show hard. Between the pandemic and the US political situation (roll on the inauguration) the existential anxiety is real. I know I’m not the only one who has struggled to find the creative momentum for making new work. Creative inertia is real. On top of that, while we have a relatively COVID-normal life in South Australia, new outbreaks and clusters in other states and the spiralling situation overseas make planning for a festival feel almost wrong. Like fiddling while Rome burns.
I’m grateful for a South Australian Artists COVID Support Grant from Arts SA and Adelaide Fringe. I still need to sell tickets to make any money of course, but the grant has helped to remove some of the financial uncertainty. This has a knock-on effect, with the stability a strong foundation in helping creative focus. Grants also have an intangible, but important, effect in making the project feel more real even in the early stages when you don’t know much more about a project than its title or vague themes. So, yes, big thank you Arts SA and Adelaide Fringe for that.
As fringe gets closer, I am looking forward to sharing this work and to being with an audience again. The sense of connection that live art fosters feels more precious than ever before. It’s going to be an even more intense rush to the finishing line (see ‘creative inertia’ above). However, we all know there’s nothing like a deadline to crystallise thought and galvanise action. I’m busy, but it’s that lovely kind of busy that comes from working with purpose and towards something that’s bigger than your own small world.
All right, well, I’d better get back to my script. Those lines won’t learn themselves. (And the obligatory shameless reminder that you can get your tickets here).