Company: Watch This

Year the project commenced:2019 
Year it became impossible:2020​​​​​​​
Designing and delivering in an independent theatre is a labour of love. So the independent Melbourne theatre company and Sondheim specialists, Watch This, decided to lift the veil on the scope and breadth of work undertaken over the past eight years of production in costume design alone. The aim was to discover the beginnings of the creative process, how it evolves from sketch to realisation, to hear from the designers themselves via multimedia and experience their impressive creations up close and in context. This exhibition, showcasing the the work of five incredible indie designers – all women – as well as the photographer, Jodie Hutchinson, was to open on 22nd March 2020 (Sondheim’s 90th birthday!).  - “The opening date for the exhibit fell six days after the theatre lock downs took effect in Melbourne, March 16. On the Monday, we made the executive call to cancel the exhibit with the support of our venue, Northcote Town Hall. Had we not arrived at this decision ourselves in the morning, it would have been made for us by the afternoon - such was the pace at which rolling updates and advice was unfolding”.
 “Given the proximity to opening and the depth of the work undertaken, we laboured furiously to translate The Art of Making Art into a digital documentary series and were able to release the first episode on the original opening night of the gallery exhibit. The series was picked up by Canada’s Social Distancing Festival and nominated for Melbourne WebFest’s Spotlight Selection. Episodes reposted not just by previous casts and creative teams but venues including fortyfivedownstairs, TheatreWorks, Melbourne Theatre Company and West Gippsland Performing Arts Centre. The series was also included as an educational resource for Victorian secondary school students by Drama Victoria. The series was seen 4.5k times.”  -  At the same time, they recognised their September production of ‘Into the Woods’ was also in jeopardy…
 “We programmed Into The Woods for our 2020 season and at this precise moment in modern history, it has possibly never been more immediate or germane. In late-February, we had most of our 24-strong team assembled. In late-March, the world became an entirely different place. Almost six months on and well into what would have been our rehearsal period for our September 2020 season, Melbourne is in the midst of a second wave and corresponding Stage 4 lock down. We are quite vividly living the show’s central metaphor: we are in the woods – it is a devastating landscape – and the only way out is together, as a community. So from early on, our plan was to hold space for this production and the incredible team we had assembled”.
 From March 2020, Watch This worked with their venue and licensing agents to push the season forward to February/March 2021, which seemed conservative at the time. Although they lost one of their lead actresses, Zahra Newman, they retained the rest of the cast and creative team. However as at August, with Victoria in the grip of a second wave and Stage 4 restrictions, those dates also became doubtful. It was fast becoming an "impossible" project but they continue to work to hold space for this production in order to honour everyone’s work and commitment to date – and because it is a work is highly relevant to our times.  - By becoming 'Impossible', The Art of Making Art increased its audience from 500 to 4,500.  But around 2,000 people were unable to experience Into the Woods in 2020.
Watch all episodes of The Art of Making Art digital documentary HERE
'THe Art of Making Art' Gallery Exhibit:
Exhibition Design - Dean Drieberg 
Co-Creative Producers - Melanie Hillman & Sonya Suares 
Multimedia Design - Nick Simpson-Deeks 
Featured Designers - Crisanne Fox, Chloe Greaves, Zoë Rouse, Emily Collett and Rhiannon Irving 
Production Photographer - Jodie Hutchinson

Camera & Post-Production - Nick McInerney 
Additional Featured Creatives & Designers - Nicholas Cannon, Nadine Garner, Christina Logan-Bell, Rob Sowinski, Eugyeene Teh, Sarah Tulloch 

'Into the Woods' by Stephen Sondheim & James Lapine:
Co-Directors - Dean Drieberg & Sonya Suares Musical Directors - Peter Rutherford & Ned Wright-Smith 
Choreographer - Zoee Marsh 
Costume Design - Jodi Hope 
Set Design - Sarah Tulloch
LX Design - Rob Sowinski 
Cast - James Millar, Fiona Choi, Cherine Peck, Jasmine Vaughns, Nick Simpson-Deeks, John O'May, Jackie Rees, Lily Baulderstone, Anthony Craig, Raphael Wong, Caitlin Spears, Angela Lumicisi

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