One of Australia’s most surprising contemporary arts events, Bleach* Festival has released the first glimpse of its 2017 line-up, exploring the convergence of sport and art, bringing cutting edge music, circus, theatre, dance, cabaret and visual art to 14 locations on the Gold Coast, across two weeks and three huge weekends from 31 March to 16 April.
Frank Enstein, one of three world premieres in Bleach* Festival 2017, is a new commission that will bring two of Australia’s boldest contemporary dance companies – Gold Coast / Berlin based The Farm and Perth based Co3 Australia – together for the first time.
Rising star, actor, dancer and fearless filmmaker Daniel Monks will take centre stage as the eponymous Frank, who creates a series of übermensch or hyper athletic monsters. The new production, which features magic, breathtakingly physical dance, an original score and a wicked sense of humour, is designed to appeal to children and adults.
“Frank has spent most of his life alone, terrified of people, and yet, like most of us, harbours a deep need to connect and be loved,” described Daniel.
“Because of his physical disability, he feels even more isolated from the predominantly able-bodied society, and believes because he is ‘lesser’, no other person would ever willingly choose to love him. He creates these perfect creatures so that he can experience love, and finds safety in what he believes to be the artificial nature of their love; allowing himself to experience relationships without having to face the terrifying risk of actually connecting with real, autonomous humans.”
“I find so much joy in playing Frank, as there is such child-like curiosity and wonderment that he experiences on his journey. I can deeply relate to Frank’s struggle, as I remember when I acquired my disability at age 11, I spent many years believing as fact that I was now ‘lesser’ and that I would never be able to experience romantic relationships, and would instead have to spend my life alone. Frank’s journey mirrors my own personal journey to self-acceptance and self-love, and one that I hope will inspire audiences to embrace and celebrate their deliciously imperfect selves.”
Bleach* Festival’s Artistic Director Louise Bezzina said Frank Enstein’s themes of body image and physicality were a sign of things to come from Bleach* Festival 2017, which would embrace all things sport and art in the lead up to the Commonwealth Games 2018.
“Strength, passion, power, risk, grace, endurance and beauty can be found within both sport and art, and both show us our shared humanity. What better place to explore these ideas than on the Gold Coast?” Louise said.
“We are working with more than 20 local and national arts companies for Bleach* to put together a diverse program of amazing physical feats, exciting mini-festivals championing local musicians, challenging site-specific theatre and participatory arts projects.
“Bleach* is a festival of place, and it’s an honour to be working on the Gold Coast right now with a growing, youthful and energetic arts community, who are not afraid to take risks and who share a sense of inspiration from our physical surroundings.
“We are particularly proud to be commissioning new work from many of Australia’s smaller, innovative companies like The Farm and Co3 Australia. The Farm have been part of every Bleach* Festival since they re-located their company to the Gold Coast four years ago. They are the forefront of the city’s flourishing arts community, working internationally and creating new productions here.”
The Farm’s co-founder Grayson Millwood said as one of Australia’s youngest arts festivals, Bleach* and its Gold Coast backers showed incredible courage in programming cutting edge work.
“There is an energy and momentum on the Gold Coast, a feeling of being unencumbered by cultural baggage, and genuine support from Bleach* Festival and the Gold Coast City Council that make it a great place to create,” Grayson said.
“Frank Enstein is a very exciting work for us as it brings together an excellent creative team and cast from across Australia and the world, and it incorporates many ideas that my co-founder Gavin Webber and I have been working on for years in Europe and Australia.”
Collaborators on Frank Enstein include Co3’s artistic director Raewyn Hill and artists Andrew Searle, Talitha Maslin and Zachary Lopez, independent dance artist Brianna Kell, Finnish set and costume designer Vilma Mattila, Sydney composer and sound designer James Brown, and international lighting designer and long time The Farm collaborator Mark Howett.
Frank Enstein will have its world premiere at Bleach* Festival on Friday 31 March 2016 at The Arts Centre Gold Coast. Tickets to the three performances of Frank Enstein during Bleach* will go on sale at 9:00am via the Arts Centre on 1 December when The Arts Centre Gold Coast launch their exciting 2017 season.
The full program for Bleach* Festival 2017 will be announced on 1 February 2017.
IMAGE (c) Claudio Kirac