Passion for community arts recognised

Tutti Arts founder Pat Rix has been awarded a 2022 Australia Council Award for her outstanding contribution to community arts and cultural development.

A respected artistic director who has worked with people from diverse backgrounds for more than 30 years, Rix founded SA-based Tutti in 1997 as a small singing group for people with intellectual disability in Adelaide. It has since grown to become a multi-arts organisation that runs programs for around 200 participants each week.

Rix retired last September, handing over the reins at Tutti to theatre designer and collaborator Gaelle Mellis, and was presented with the Premier’s Award for Lifetime Achievement at the 2021 Ruby Awards. She was one of eight 2022 Australia Council Award recipients announced this week, receiving the Ros Bower Award for Community Arts and Cultural Development.

In a video produced by the Australia Council, she says she has always been driven to do something to address injustice, inequality, unfairness and oppression: “By working with other people and making art, something wonderful happens and people forget their difference. Inequalities disappear because people are working so closely together and supporting each other.”

She adds: “Even those people in the choir who were unable to use their voices, who could not speak, who couldn’t utter a word, found a place in Tutti because all voices were welcome.”

Rix is the only South Australian among the latest Australia Council Award recipients, who also include author Robert Dessaix and jazz musician and composer Judy Bailey. See the full list here.

Opportunity for writers

Yearning for uninterrupted time and space to write in a peaceful and picturesque location? South Australian writers working in any genre or form are invited to apply for two Writers SA residency fellowships at Varuna, the National Writers’ House in the Blue Mountains in New South Wales.

One of the fellowships is for a First Nations writer, while the other is for an emerging writer yet to publish more than two full-length manuscripts or collections (applicants for both must be members of Writers SA). Each residency is for seven nights, with the fellowship including full board, time to write in a private studio, a travel subsidy, and a manuscript consultation with a professional writing mentor.

Applications (here) are open until September 5, and the residencies will take place between January and August 2023.

Canine casting call

April Beak, who will play Elle in Legally Blonde: the Musical, with Obie the chihuahua. Photo: University of Adelaide

Two canine cast members are being sought for an upcoming University of Adelaide production of Legally Blonde: The Musical.

The show – based on the film starring Reese Witherspoon as sorority girl Elle, who enrols at Harvard to try to win back her ex-boyfriend and ends up becoming a successful lawyer – will be presented at the university’s Scott Theatre from September 29 to October 2. It is being directed and choreographed by Nikki Snelson, who had a role in the original Broadway production of Legally Blonde: The Musical.

Auditions will be held on August 21 on the North Terrace campus for Bruiser, Elle’s chihuahua, and Rufus, the bulldog belonging to her manicurist friend Paulette. Prospective stars must have a “laidback disposition” and be responsive to commands, with Bruiser also required to spend a considerable amount of time being carried in a handbag. Along with five minutes of fame, there are some other upsides – including free tickets for family and friends.

More details can be found here, where your four-legged friend can also register for an audition spot.

Meet the ACE studio artists

Members of the public are invited to visit the upstairs studios at ACE in the Lion Arts Centre from 12pm-5pm on August 13 to meet its current studio program artists in their working spaces.

Visitors will also get a sneak preview of the work that the five artists – Ash Tower, Chelsea Farquhar, Cecilia Tizard, Dani Reynolds and Shaye Dương – are creating for the ACE exhibition Studios: 2022 later this year.

The open studios event (details and registrations here) is part of SALA, with free entry and refreshments available. It will include the launch of Allison Chhorn’s Skin Shade Night Day artist book, made in collaboration with designer Tyrone Ormbsy to accompany her exhibition of the same name which was reviewed here on InReview last month. ⁠

‘They give you a satellite phone and a snakebite kit’

Country Arts SA has announced that Victorian contemporary artist Ben Sibley (pictured) will be the 2022 artist-in-residence at Grindell’s Hut in the Vulkathunha-Gammon Ranges National Park in the northern Flinders Ranges.

The three-week residency is open to artists nationwide working in any discipline, and enables the successful applicant to pursue their practice while immersed in a beautiful outback environment with historic significance.

Sibley, a workshop facilitator at the Victorian College of the Arts and full-time practising artist, will head to the hut in October. He aims to produce a series of large-scale works that map elements of the landscape, including plants, geological formations and specific sites.

“I’m super excited about the residency,” he says. “I’m wary of the remote nature of Grindell’s Hut – they give you a satellite phone and a snakebite kit before you leave! But I anticipate that being thoroughly immersed in such incredible landscape for an extended period will be great for my conceptual development and art productivity.”

ASO on tour

The Adelaide Symphony Orchestra has announced a regional tour to the mid-north that will include a series of community and family performances leading up to a major concert – Postcards ­– at the Peterborough Town Hall on October 8.

Presenter Guy Noble will conduct Postcards, which he says will feature popular classics that take the audience on a journey through orchestra music associated with particular parts of the world.

“It feels more relaxed out of Adelaide,” he adds. “Smaller venues mean the audience is closer to the players, and that is the real thrill of hearing the orchestra live – feeling the vibrations of the music up close. I think audiences in the regions are really enthusiastic  – it’s not every day the Adelaide Symphony rolls into town, so there’s a sense of occasion.”

The family and community concerts will be presented at Bundaleer Forest, Clare and Peterborough between October 5 and 8, with full details on the ASO website.

Green Room is a regular column for InReview, providing quick news for people interested, or involved, in South Australian arts and culture.

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