Alongside hospitality, air travel and tourism, and sports and recreation, the creative arts and entertainment sector has sadly been a directly hit industry that was forced to cease operations throughout COVID-19 restrictions (Wilkins, 2021). Throughout 2020, the Sydney Theatre Company’s operating revenue dropped by $17.8 million compared to 2019, with 7 out of 12 scheduled productions cancelled (Litson, 2021). For some artists like Miriam Green, lockdown has been a time to show creativity and innovation and literally think outside the box! The third-year Bachelor of Dramatic Art (Performance) student will be one of 20 female artists participating in a virtual arts festival with The House That Dan Built, a not-for-profit, female-focused arts association.
Miriam will perform a poem and movement segment about a woman losing connection with herself in Whispers and Roars – The Festival in a Box. Due to the pandemic, there isn’t a live audience, so instead audience members will be shipped their entertainment within a box. The box will include items, artworks, activities, and links to performances that they can watch and experience from the comfort of their own home.
‘A lot of people have created original music, artworks and inspirational quotes, performances, stand-up comedy – they’re all going to be packaged in a box and sent out to people and it’s quite incredible what they’re doing. Some people have their artworks that are being made into puzzles so the audiences will receive it and then get to put it together themselves,’ Miriam explains. ‘When you go to the theatre, all the senses are heightened. You’re not just watching something, you’re hearing it from behind and the reverberation around the room. You can feel the leather or felt of the seat and smell a random lady’s perfume from three rows back and it’s everything all in one.’ The theatre experience is what inspired Dani, creator of The House That Dan Built, to devise a show that engaged the different senses of an audience. According to Miriam, every piece presented will involve a minimum of two senses. ‘While you’re listening to the poem that I wrote and watching the movements, you get a bit of playdough and you mould it into whatever you’re feeling or wanting to do while you’re watching it. At the end, you take a photo and send it via messenger to The House That Dan Built’s Instagram and it becomes a part of the art. I thought it was a really inclusive way to bring all those senses in it,’ she explains.
While the pandemic has ironically halted the two things actors can draw inspiration from to develop their craft – seeing live acting and exploring the world – Miriam believes it has also caused actors to think outside the box. ‘The creative arts and entertainment sector has given performers a lot of opportunities to explore virtual performing and screen performing. Not everyone can make it to certain performances but now that this has been created, it can be a hybrid – people can enjoy the show at home with a cup of tea,’ Miriam explains.
In their audition call-out, The House That Dan Built talk about celebrating women in the arts to ensure female voices are being heard, which is an issue very close to Miriam’s heart. ‘There are so many beautiful female artists out there that I know can feel intimidated and shy to put out their work in fear of judgement. There’s a warmth and a comfort in other females supporting female voices. The name “Whispers and Roars” to me means your art doesn’t have to be loud and forthcoming, it can just be a little whisper of what you want to say.’
If Miriam’s story has inspired you to consider a career in the creative arts sector, why not take a look at Excelsia College’s Creative and Performing Arts courses?
Litson, J. (2021). Sydney Theatre Company posts a deficit for 2020. Limelight Magazine. https://limelightmagazine.com.au/news/sydney-theatre-company-posts-a-deficit-for-2020/
Wilkins, R. (2020). Who’s hit hardest by the Covid-19 economic shutdown? The University of Melbourne. https://pursuit.unimelb.edu.au/articles/who-s-hit-hardest-by-the-covid-19-economic-shutdown