Tuesday, June 28

The diva, the dog, the donor

To coincide with the end of the financial year, we've gotten creative with our reminders about making a tax deductible donations to Brink! You can enjoy the short, three-part mini-series we created above.

A big thank you to everyone involved, and to everyone who has responded warmly and generously to our videos.

Donations can be made online at GiveNow, and more information can be found at our website.

Friday, May 20


Last night at the Adelaide Festival Centre’s ‘In Conversation – Building Audiences Collaboratively not Competitively’ – Fenella Kernebone asked me to describe the Culture Combo.

The Culture Combo created an opportunity to buy tickets to a theatre production and a dance/opera at the same time - with discounts.

In 2010 Brink Productions and Leigh Warren Dancers (LWD) found we were presenting shows over similar dates (LWD and SOSA presented Maria de Buenos Aires at Dunstan Playhouse at the same time Brink presented a return season of When the Rain Stops Falling at Her Majesty’s Theatre)

The aim of the Culture Combo was to expose Brink to a contemporary dance audience who might never have attended a Brink show and, vice versa, to expose LWD’s dance/opera to a contemporary theatre audience.

Each company promoted to its database so no data was actually shared, complying with privacy laws! But the exposure was a genuine collaborative attempt by both companies to build audiences across discipline, more than just cross promotion of live performance.

Later in the conversation Ian Scobie of Arts Projects Australia described Brink’s acclaimed production of When the Rain Stops Falling as an excellent example of collaboration.  It’s worth my noting that there were three levels of collaboration contributing to the success of this production. 

First and foremost, the collaboration of the stellar artistic team Chris Drummond pulled together for Brink to develop this major theatre project over several years.

Secondly the collaboration of both state and federal funding bodies, both of which contributed considerable special funding grants, specifically set up to nurture and develop new Australian work. This allowed Brink resources it would otherwise not have had to support the long term development of When the Rain Stops Falling.

Last but not least, by co-presenting the premiere season in 2008 with both the Adelaide Festival and State Theatre Company of South Australia, Brink’s production was exposed to a far wider audience than it could have reached through its own resources.  Nearly 10,000 people attended the 2008 world premiere of When the Rain Stops Falling at Scott Theatre.

That said, if Brink and our creative collaborators had not created a production of such quality and substance the exposure would not have created the word of mouth recommendations that resulted in such a marked increase in ticket sales after it opened and reviews were out.

The reciprocity is that all three organisations are still accorded acclaim for supporting the development of new Australian work and, in particular, the success of that particular work.  

So win win all round!

Hear the full podcast of the night below:

Others continue the debate outside of the #inconvo Twitter stream here:

Monday, February 14

New faces at Brink: Chris

Chris Pitman (Skip Miller) and Lizzy Falkland (Alison Caldicott) in Skip Miller's Hit Songs.
Photo by Chris Herzfeld. See the full album here.

Chris Pitman plays 'war-torn Walkley Award Winning Hot Spot Poster Boy' Skip Miller. Involved in the development since 2008, Chris shares what is special about working in a collaborative way.

"I was in Sydney for the last few months of 2010, working on a play called OUR TOWN for the Sydney Theatre Company," says Chris. "When that finished I went to Vietnam for a couple of weeks and spent all my money."

"It has been Skip Miller's Hit Songs I have been looking forward to above anything, since we did the first workshop in 2008," he says. "The development process has been completely inspiring. We have pulled stories, ideas, and research from many different people and places. The play is now beginning to emerge from all this. It is not often you get to be involved in a production, almost from the inception of the idea."

"The difficult thing about this process, as with all new work, is that the play is still evolving. I imagine there will be changes and rewrites well into production week. We are certainly going to be working hard right up to opening night," he says.

But when it comes to giving hints about the play, Chris is as guarded as the character he plays.

"I don't think I have any particularly favourite lines," he says. "Well, maybe I do but telling would give too much of the game away."

Thursday, February 10

New faces at Brink: Mondli

Chris Pitman and Mondli Makhoba, photographed by Chris Herzfeld

Mondli Makhoba is a man of many talents: acting, singing, dancing... and we're sure there are more! He plays Augustus Forkay who is a pharmacist and one of Skip's oldest friends.

"I am a Zulu man born in Durban, South Africa. I have been in Adelaide since 2006," says Mondi.

"The Brink rehearsals have been a great, enjoyable learning process for me. I like Chris's brilliancy, how he connects actors with the characters, closing every gap, answering every question and analysing every line in the play. This help us actors a lot," he says. "I learn so much as I watch other actors work."

"There are multiple scenes and lines I like, but the one that jumps out at the moment is this one. I think this line tells us about the kind of a person that Neville is."

And I hold on for too long. - Neville

"I started performing professionally in 1999 in a show called Shaka Inoguration by Storey Productions in which I was lucky to play the main role as King Shaka. Storey Productions is a theatre company based in South Africa and the UK. I also did The Mighty Zulu Nation which I was playing one of the Zulu chiefs, and Africa-Africa which toured the UK, Italy and South Africa," says Mondli.

"It was during these shows when I realised that I can convey notions through acting."

"From 2003 I was with The Pride of the Zulu, a theatre company that was based in Durban specialising in telling the history of the Zulu's through theatre. After that I I was with The Lions of Zululand touring in the UK and USA, but this was only music and dance. In 2005-2006 I was with Ikhwezi le Africa playing in the show Bhambatha Uprising in 1906, and my luck came to play again I as played King Bhambatha whowas one of the no nonsense Zulu kings."

"In Australia in 2009 I was part of Jambo Africa doing a play called The Magic Waterhole and I also started performing solo Zulu dance. In the same year I became part of Brink Productions and also worked in a short film called Paper Planes," he says.

Tuesday, February 8

New faces at Brink: Assina

Lizzy Falkland and Assina Ntawumenya, photographed by Chris Herzfeld.

Assina Ntawumenya plays Patience Lugor in Skip Miller's Hit Songs.

She has just finished her social work degree at UniSA and has been the deputy chair of the Association of Burundian Community of South Australia for the past four years.

Assina was included in the 2009 SA Women's Honour Roll of 100 notable women serving the South Australian community and has been recently nominated for inclusion in the Who's Who of Australian Women 2011.

In between all of this, Assina has been contributing to the development of Skip Miller's Hit Songs.

"I am Burundian-Australian and I have been in Adelaide for 6 years and 6 months," says Assina.

"This is my first time to do acting in Australia. I performed in a number of shows when I was in high school back in Tanzania. In fact, I was nominated as the best actor in 3 shows."

"So far, I have found the rehearsal process to be enjoyable and fun," she says, explaining that her favourite scene is when Patience 'loses patience' with Neville at the beach. "I also like the way Skip says 'WOW'," she says.

Thursday, February 3

Behind the music of Skip Miller's Hit Songs

Quentin Grant, Jerome Lyons and Lamine Nanky are our live musicians in Skip Miller's Hit Songs. Bringing a range of musical backgrounds to the performance, the three have spent the last few weeks creating original music for the show. Learn more about what obscure instruments they will be using and listen to a sneak-peek rehearsal track below!

♫ M'Bira
The M'Bira - a kind of 'thumb piano' - is a traditional African instrument popular in Southern and Eastern Africa.

♫ Kora
Looking like a guitar, sounding like a harp and played by sitting in front of it, the West African Kora is traditionally made from a large vegetable covered in cow hide, with thinly cut antelope hide as strings. These days the 21 strings (played with two hands) are made from either harp strings or fishing line.

The Balafon, also West African, is similar to a xylophone. In some cultures the instrument was or still is sacred and can only be played by trained religious members at special events like festivals, funerals or marriages.

♫ Song Gong
The Song Gong is a Jerome Lyons speciality. Jerome runs The Cheese Factory Studio Gallery in Meadows and makes instruments under the name Tribal Instruments Australia. This one is sculpted out of a gas bottle to create a drum capable of different melodic notes. Clever!

The djembe is a kind of hand drum that is apparently hard than it looks! Years of training are required to achieve the sound quality of a master drummer.

Other: Guitar, cowbells, flute and bongos

Bounce - Skip Miller's Hit Songs
Rehearsal track

Quentin Grant, Jerome Lyons and Lamine Nanky

Thursday, January 13

Brink Bundle: extended

We're pleased to announce that we are extending the final purchase date of our Brink Bundle until March 5!

The Brink Bundle saves you over 20% on the adult ticket prices to Skip Miller's Hit Songs by Sean Riley and Land & Sea by Nicki Bloom when purchased at the same time. It's our way of rewarding our loyal fans and one of the ways you can show your year-round support.

Skip Miller's Hit Songs is our upcoming Adelaide Fringe show, while our promotional shot for November's Land & Sea was recently featured on the front cover of the Adelaide Review!

Brink Bundle: $65 through BASS outlets or by calling 131 246

(Regular adult prices are $40 for Skip Miller's Hit Songs + $42 for Land & Sea = $82. That's a $17 saving just for securing your tickets early!)

Edit 18/1: we've been extra generous and extended 'til the 5th of March, the end of the Skip Miller's Hit Songs season!