- notes from the KXT2019 season launch -
The KX theatre precinct continues to thrive as cast and creatives move across all venues. Alex Berlarge produced Ironbound at KXT, directed There Will Be A Climax at Old Fitz, and Cry Baby at the Hayes. Claudia Barrie jumped on board Last One Standing Theatre’s production of DNA, directed the hit You Got Older and her production of Eurydice is now running at Old Fitz. in 2019 Last One Standing Theatre produces Alice in Slasherland at the Old Fitz. Actors Alex Malone, Bardiya McKinnon, Sarah Meecham, Megan Wilding, Ariadne Sgouros, Laurence Coy, Elijah Williams, Mansoor Noor, could all be seen at KXT and the Old Fitz, or Hayes or Griffin. And Joanna Erskine’s ground breaking playwrights program the Storytellers Festival brought us all together, with 69 actors presenting the work of 29 writers with 19 directors leading the way.
designers Isabel Hudson, Maya Keyes, Benjamin Brockman, Ben Pierpoint, Ben Freeman worked across multiple local venues. Stage Managers moved from theatre to theatre. Pat Howe’s set for Dresden has been put into storage for later use in an upcoming show at the Fitz.
And earlier in the year complementary scheduling meant audiences could see a show at the Old Fitz or Hayes and walk to KXT for a performance of Visiting Hours.
The Arts Editor of Time Out Ben Neutze describes our precinct as the
‘Sydney theatre district that matters”
KXT2019 LAUNCH PARTY 2 December at KX Hotel Rooftop imagery - Clare Hawley
COMMUNITY: bAKEHOUSE has a long commitment to diversity and inclusivity. In 2018 work at KXT included 42 actors from non-anglo backgrounds. Shout out to the directors and producers getting it right.
We have an established record of community engagement, working closely with not for profits as varied as the All Saints African Centre in Blacktown, Apne Aap Women’s Collective in Mumbai, the KBHAC, Loyola College in Mt Druitt, the refugee art project and SSEG to name just a few. In 2018 we value-added to the KXT experience with the chesterfield series which continued to deliver Radical community engagement and Rapid response to burning issues. Through the year we worked with producers to raise awareness and funds for many orgs, including the Blue Knot Foundation, lymphoma Australia, NOW the Australian response to Metoo, Careflight, the lung foundation of Australia; we held conversations around the greater issues at the heart of the plays; we hosted masterclass and workshops; guests from places like Chris O’Brien’s Lighthouse Hospital, and live music and art exhibitions. With the support of the city of Sydney we have begun to roll out KXT Crossroads, a program that sits at the intersection of art and community.
HOTEL PARTNERSHIP: We are able to continue to operate KXT due to a strong and supportive strategic partnership with KX Hotel who this year have supported us in more ways than we can list, but include art exhibition openings, opening nights, block parties, events like this one and visiting hours, our 5 story immersive takeover that played a sold out season at the beginning of the year. Recently KX Hotel received the Australian Hotel Associations award for Best NightLife Venue, and we’re thrilled to be working together to lead the way in nightlife diversification here in the Cross. Through the year our crazy bump outs and high demand lift use has been made possible by the patient and understanding management: Ben, Miles, Kaylah, and our greatest cheer of thanks goes to licensee Josh who has done all he can to accommodate the needs of a thriving indie venue, and worked with us to make sure a theatre can continue to function in the middle of a growing and popular 5 story night club.
And it is thanks to that partnership that we are able to announce an exciting new program POPUPSTAIRS We’re working with the hotel to turn level 4 into a functioning theatre: a new space for audacious, bold, ambitious and adventurous. new work, and new ideas for old work. A home for high risk work delivered in a low risk low budget environment. Scroll down for more info
STEP UP: In 2018 we rolled out the inaugural Step Up program, a part of our ongoing commitment to new and emerging artists. In March the Step Up Festival showcased the work of some of Sydney’s most exciting emerging talent and throughout the year we supported a group of upstarts on the Step Up team. We couldn’t be prouder of their achievements: keep an eye out for these bright young things of the future.
Amy Morcom; Beth McMullen; Derbail Kinsella; Elijah Williams; Eve Beck; Hannah Goodwin; Jessica Adie; Joshua McElroy; Kate Walder; Luke Carson; Rebecca Blake; Tabitha Woo; Tom Mesker; Trishala Sharma
Applications for the 2019 Step Up team are NOW OPEN, and we’re looking forward to meeting a whole bunch of the city’s brightest talents.
We’re proud of our record supporting new work. Since 2015 we have championed new work from: James Raggatt, Charles O’Grady, Purva Naresh, Yvonne Perzsuk & Co, Pippa Ellams, Michael Costi, Tobias Manderson-Galvin, Justin Fleming, Melita Rowston, Tom Payne, Amelia Roper, Philip Rouse, Jessica Tuckwell, Clare Hennessy, and more.
With Dresden, Jatinga, The Laden Table, Night Slows Down and Visiting Hours, bAKEHOUSE has brought to the KXT stage 5 ambitious new works in less than 3 years. And in 2018 we supported the development of Human Activity, Katie Pollock’s response to her time in Mumbai as part of the bAKEHOUSE Cultural Exchange (bACE); From Malapo to Miller, Winnie Dunn’s first play being developed at Casula Powerhouse, and we began work on StoryLines with Cana Community.
New companies have been born at KXT, while young companies have found their feet: in 2018 we hosted Last One Standing Theatre, Manifesto Theatre, Pip and Han Inc, The Anchor, Haseman, Ball & Radda, and more. Seasons at KXT mix new and emerging artists alongside established and experienced ones. In 2018 directors Kristine Landon-Smith, Kim Hardwick, Claudia Barrie, Suzanne Millar and Jessica Arthur shared the season with James Raggatt, Hannah Goodwin, Eve Beck, Rebecca Blake and Sarah Hadley.
this year we’ve seen a closing gap between independent and mainstage with performers, designers, writers and directors going from our corner of the Cross onto mainstages STC, Bell, Belvoir, Griffin and more. The bAKEHOUSE partnership with Justin Fleming continued with Dresden, while at the same time Justin’s Misanthrope played in the Opera House. Jessica Arthur first worked at KXT as one of the directors on a KXTeethcutting play read in 2017, and was back with her company The Anchor for the October season Two Hearts. Megan Wilding kicked off her year in JackRabbit’s production of Tonsils + Tweezers by Will O’Mahoney, our first season of the year, before heading into Blackie Blackie Brown at STC, and she’s headed back to KXT in 2019 directing her exciting original work A Little Piece of Ash Daniel Monks started his year in the beautiful Are We Awake, written by Charles O’Grady and then went onto play the lead in Malthouse’s lauded production of The Elephant Man. The KXT stage was home to seasoned professionals and first time performers
Sydney’s indie theatre scene punches above its weight, regularly delivering more bang for your buck with passion, favours, beers and a mountain of low budget brilliance. But as the bar is lifted - as the quality of work matches and at times exceeds the main stage output, we are at risk of losing risk.
So we’re asking you to POPUPSTAIRS to the bordello room, with its new lighting rig, operational bar, comfy seating and kicking night club standard sound system to take in some mid week fringe fare. An uncurated space sitting inside the beautiful bacchanalian speakeasy, managed and overseen by bAKEHOUSE prod manager Andrew McMartin and KXT prod assist Charlie Vaux, we expect to provide a place where audiences can expect to see the unexpected.
To get things rolling we’ve booked in a couple of featured seasons with work from indie stalwarts Tooth & Sinew reinventing a classic; the ever-unpredictable Montague Basement takes on an unstageable script; and the hugely promising team behind Rudy & Cuthbert bring their latest work to level 4 of the hotel all as part of the KXT season. Additionally Rachel Kerry’s murder mystery musical Surf Séance will run through Halloween October up here on the rooftop, and Roshelle Fong’s sensational nomnomnom will run out of the Glasshouse up on level 6, connecting audiences and the KX community in surprising ways.
Working with the support of the hotel we’re keeping things open and accessible to the newest of the new. Through the year we hope to see developments of new writing, public presentations of first-time work from new companies, and industry showings of emerging work, all within a low budget and affordable model. There’s plenty of spots available and POPUPSTAIRS is NOW OPEN for submissions. Send in your info, and we’ll match projects with available dates.
JACKRABBIT: For the indie sector to continue to grow and flourish we need a collegiate response, a community of artists pooling resources and knowledge. Yes, we need more and new spaces, but the current spaces need to find ways to survive and thrive. Building on our commitment to providing opportunities and mentoring to new companies, and taking the next logical Step Up, in 2019 we’re investing in the future. bAKEHOUSE has partnered with the young guns from JackRabbit to open up more opportunities for more artists to present new work. JackRabbit have programmed a dynamic 3-month season at KXT jam packed with the best of the new, and they’re going to be taking over in February.
a few final thoughts. KXT continues to be unstaffed. We have chosen instead to invest in the sustainability of independent producers and their companies, the heroes of our sector and the makers of the work. supporting ethical and respectful, budget smart time managers ensures the longevity of our can-do sector. KXT is also unfunded, and we function with the extraordinary generosity of a small collective of hard-working professionals who share their time, skill and resources for the benefit of many. We continue to search for the balance between the constraints of indie budgets, and the extraordinary debt that places like KXT must manage. Shout out to Andrew Henry at the old fitz for drawing attention to this recently, and if you’d like to partner with us in funding the work at KXT (or perhaps you’re considering a sizeable donation to our work?!) hit up the link below. You can be assured that your donated dollars will end up in the pockets of the artists who present the work
THANKS In 2018 we have been able to build a collective community model of operation, with some incredible people coming on board to manage the unsexy side of running an indie venue. The year would not have been possible without the support and work of Rebecca Blake, Charlie Vaux, and Hannah Goodwin, all joining the KXT team via our Step Up program. Special mention to Designer/Builder Pat Howe, who’s sets for TONSILS + TWEEZERS and DRESDEN became the basis of seven (7) other indie sets. Danny Ball and Hugo Kohne managed the KXTeethcutting play read program, a seemingly small thing that needed a lot of management and delivered in spades. Lots of love and respect to the hard-working photographers creating the collateral that catches the attention of the audience most esp Clare Hawley and Jas Simmons who have captured the rehearsals and production imagery of many of our shows. A shout out to our board members who this year somehow took our artistic passion and vision and showed us how to run things like a business, albeit one with no money.
On a personal note John and I extend the greatest of bAKEHOUSE thanks to Andrew McMartin an essential part of our management team, guiding and advising on all decisions, taking care of stage management, endlessly cleaning the bio box and repairing stuff, making the trains run on time. We couldn’t get the job done without you.
Finally, cheers to Emily Elise who does the best design work an indie company can hope for, managing the typical last minute timelines and delivering on a budget. Head to the website to check out her work: you can pick up cheap Earlybird tickets; a season ticket to all shows; apply for the Step Up program; and get your info in for POPUPSTAIRS.
Thanks so much for your support through 2018, this joyful community of artists makes it all worthwhile. and we look forward to sharing 2019 with you all.