30 July 2015

The Container Festival: Day 0 or A Not-So-Brief Hello

The Container Festival
31 July to 15 August
Monash University, Clayton Campus

Guest blogger Chris Edwards


My name is Chris and I’ll be guest-blogging for the next two weeks – aka, the duration of Monash Uni Student Theatre’s 2015 Container Festival!

Before you freak out, no I am not Anne-Marie – but she is safe, I promise. This is not a coup or a hostile takeover, but it is a break from your regular programming. Anne-Marie has very generously handed over the keys to her kingdom for a short period of time, during which I’ll be bringing you on-the-ground updates from what is shaping up to be a pretty fantastic celebration of theatre, music, performance, and general artistic frivolity.

For those of you who may not know, MUST’s Container Festival is now in its third year, and involves the installation of shipping containers around the Monash Clayton campus. From 31 July  to 15 August, each of these containers will then become intimate theatrettes, and the homes of brand new works that have been created by artists from around Melbourne (many of whom are Monash students).

To ensure that you all know my biases up front, I should probably tell you a few things about myself. I’m a Monash student, currently in my third year of a Bachelor of Performing Arts degree (a course that technically doesn’t exist anymore but hey who’s bitter about that?).

My 'serious acting face' headshot. Photo by Clary Riven.

My first year of university coincided with the first year of the Container Festival, and as such it will always hold a special place in my heart. Over the past two years, some of the best theatrical experiences I’ve had have been nestled in the cold confines of a shipping container. Many times I’ve been transported by the talent and skill on display from friends and acquaintances, each of whom have created work that earns them the title of ‘artists’ and not just ‘students’.

Basically, no one decides to put on a show in a tiny space for a tiny audience just for the hell of it – these are stories told with real passion, by artists with a real urge to create and perform and have their work seen by generous audiences.

If you’ll allow me to step up onto this soapbox someone’s left here for a moment, I have to say that as we look into an incredibly uncertain future for funding of individual artists and the small to medium arts sector, supporting endeavours like the Container Festival is hugely important. These are the burgeoning artists who in the coming years will most likely be struggling to find the support to have their work produced on any sort of scale. But right now, Yvonne Virsik and Jason Lehane and the good people of Monash University are giving them the opportunity to find their voices and have their work seen in a dynamic and generous environment.

Okay now that that’s out of the way, I’ll also say that I’ve actually assistant directed seven shows within the festival this year, one of which I also wrote, and will be appearing in another show which involves myself and a friend taking over a container for four hours and presenting a “late night talk-show meets crushing disappointment”, so I’m kind of invested this year.

In essence, this festival is great. This year I’ll be bringing you reviews, interviews with artists, and audience reactions, as well as a general overview of my own personal festival experience. Tomorrow night is the official Launch Party, and I will most certainly be there drinking too much and partying too hard, and I’d love it if you came and said hey. In fact, if you see me at any point in the festival, please don’t hesitate to strike up a conversation and tell me about what you’ve seen – I may give off an intimidating aura of haughtiness (lies), but I’d love to hear your stories from what is sure to be an exciting two weeks of art.

See you at Monash, compadres!

The festival's Co-Curator wrote this for AussieTheatre.com.

The Container Festival 2014
The Container Festival 2013

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