Park Road Studio Artist In Residence Blog – Ghenoa Gela

April 12, 2015


By Ghenoa Gela

Hey hey peeps!!! Wowsers…!! So my last entry for AIR blog & I’m happy to say we went out with a bang!! I got the most amazing opportunity to butt heads with the brilliant Rachel Maza – Artistic Director of Illbijerri Theatre Company and the last two performances were AMAZING!!

So… Throughout the residency Andrea James and I met on many occasions to discuss what was coming up for me and what else I wanted to achieve in the time frame we had left and one of the things I wanted to do was to create a one woman show! Lol… Madness I know! Anyways, Andrea asked me who would be my ideal mentor for something such as this and I said that I wanted Rachel Maza. With the universe in alignment and budgets on the ready, I successfully scored 1 week with the brilliant, amazing, talented, wonderful (I could go one, but we’d be here for weeks! Lol.. ) Rachel. At the Park Road Studio Rachel made the trip up and we got stuck into things straightaway! It’s a damn hard thing wanting to do a show.. Even harder when you wuna do it on yourself (Diva I know! :P)! So I already had a few scripts on hand and a couple of movement pieces and Rachel – being as deadly as she is – nutted them out without me even knowing we was working! Lol… Here I was yarning my life away – literally – and there she was pen to paper figuring out how to make it work and what I wanted to say! The funny thing about those things I find though.. Is that you WANT TO CREATE WORK but… you don’t really know what it is you want to say.. Its like… “I don’t know.. I just wuna dance!” Lol… Anyways, we got through A LOT of my life story and A LOT of material came out of it – surprisingly! Here I was good way yarning all day and Rachel was working hard there putting the puzzle pieces together! Lol… It was really fun and a reeeeal eye opener & we were even lucky enough a have a little showing at the end of the process and got some really good feedback! For those whom are interested, I AM going to continue this project and hopefully get up on stage somewhere..(fingers crossed) SOONISH – which pretty much means ‘not on the back burner or 10yrs from now! 😀 Well.. I hope! Lol.. So keep your eyes and ears out for my ‘on-the-way-one-woman-show’!

Okay.. The performances! The first one we had was called ‘Redfern Talks Back’. The Alexandria Park Community School kids – Sariah, Brittney, Leena, Chris, Diamond, Aaliyah, Shannon, Karakai, Sarah, Sarerika, Haley-Rose and Seone from St Mary’s, (Apologises guys if I spelt your name wrong..) and I went to work with the Sydney Opera House, with the support of NCIE, Redfern Police and youth organisations to give support to the young people throughout the process and it was awesome!! We had an intensive 5 weeks lead up to the showtime, a few hrs each Wednesday and Friday really kept our minds going and our hearts on our sleeves. The stories, the connections, the truths were such an inspiring experience that will stay with me forever. These amazing young people have a voice and they know how to use it and I’m glad that there are young people in the world that KNOWS whats going on and WANT to do something about it. So these peeps were the perfect ones for the task at hand. Frank Newman from Sydney Opera House directed the show, Travies DeVries was on ground support also from the Opera House and the other amazing Artistic Creators were: Russell Smith, Guy Simon, Georgia Hopkins, Toby Knyvett and last but certainly not least Corey Webster AKA Young Nooky. So we all got a great taste of great talent throughout the weeks. The show was based on a true story of one of our young peeps about how a police officer manhandled a young girl who was pregnant and as a collaborative group we used that story as a base and created our own narrative on top of it and played it out as a worst case scenario so it would be perfect for the ‘Forum Theatre’ setting. We had some great audience participation and I’m sure that everyone who got to see the show would have walked away with something. The short season was at the Opera House and consisted of 3 shows, 2 matinees and 1 night show, needless to say it was a SUCCESS!! 😀 The young peeps stepped up a level every show that happened and my heart smiled bigger every moment we were all performing together! Couldn’t have asked for a better cast and I know the young peeps will take this deadly experience away with them as well. VERY PROUD OF YOU GUYS!!! YOU’S TOTALLY SMASHED IT!!! WHAT’S THIS THEN…!? Lol…

The second performance that happened was for the Alexandria Park Community School end of year awards night. So for the past few weeks in the Last term, all the deadly ladies that signed up for ‘Dance’ in their Wednesday sport had their work cut out for them. I decided early on that I wanted the ladies to feel a sense of ownership in the performance and figured that the best way to make that happen was to give them an opportunity to perform whatever they wanted – in terms of dance, theatre or music. I said they could do solos or groups and fantastically enough they were all pretty eager to show their stuff they pretty much block me out for the rest of lesson all excited about what they could do and what they were guna do! Lol… So, I let them have the lesson to think about how they were going to do it, learn a routine, create a routine and sing a song. While they were getting themselves organized over the few weeks I created two routines for them to perform at the beginning and the end of the performance. I know! I’m pretty smart when it comes to things like this! Lol… So… I wanted to do a routine with a prop and I wanted to do a routine with some fierce attitude. The prop ended up being a Math’s Text Book and it was a routine based on rhythms and percussion and the last routine was my ‘G Stylingz’ and wowsers they stepped up to plate, hit a home run, ran through all the bases and slid into home base! Well you get the picture! 😀 Lol.. The performance consisted of: Solo Ballet routine, Solo singer, Trio, 4 Pop Princesses and 6 Swaggy Sistas. Needless to say.. All their hard work and dedication was seen, thoroughly enjoyed and had definitely paid off!! I’m SOO PROUD of them all for rising to next level and proud that they were just as keen to show the world their talent as I was! Another deadly experience to take away with me. All and all the year at Alexandria Park Community School was one of great learning and great friendships. I am very fortunate to have so many amazing people enter my life throughout the year there and I’m looking forward to the future with these young people coming through. Thank you Carriageworks and Alexandria Park Community School for the opportunity to participate in your Fresh AIR program! It has been AWESOME!!! SO THANKYOU!!!

Thankyou all for following as well! I really appreciate it! Until next time…

Peace, love and much respect

G xxo


Ghenoa is Carriageworks and the Alexandria Park Community School’s inaugural artist in residence.