Partner Newsletter 2017 June

Dear Project Partners,

Welcome to the second Partner E-news for the University of Melbourne, Creative Convergence – ARC Linkage research project.

Convergence in Person: using interactive workshops to explain how young people are affected by theatre and what impact this has over time

Convergence of Media: conceptualise and implement a transmedia strategy to sustain and enhance the affect of live events over time

Organizational Convergence: create a durable and sustainable network of reflective theatre practitioners and other stakeholders working with young people across Victoria.

Project Partner Meeting – 26 April, 2017

Thank you to all our partners who attended the partner meeting on the 26th April. It was a great opportunity for you to all meet, for the research team to report and to listen to your understanding and responses to the project so far. The discussion slides from this event have been forwarded but if you didn’t receive them please let Meg know.

Project updates

As discussed at the April 26 Partner Meeting, some projects have begun in earnest while discussion and planning is ongoing with other partners. We can report on the following projects:

  1. Melbourne Theatre Company – Melbourne Talam regional touring project

During late April and early May, researchers Paul Rae and Meg Upton worked closely with the creative team and cast during the MTC Lawler season of Melbourne Talam conducting interviews and attending performances. The production went on tour in late May and members of the research team visited Shepparton, Wodonga and Geelong to see performances and interview the cast. We are currently finalising participating schools in these regions and will be heading back to conduct workshops in July and August. A recent meeting with co-researcher Jeremy Rice from MTC provided an opportunity for mapping “what next” with regard to researching the programming and touring process for Education and Families.

  1. Geelong Performing Arts Centre – Take Over schools participatory program

Also in April and May, researchers Jennifer Beckett, Meg Upton and Abbie Trott visited GPAC to observe a facilitated workshop with students from three regional schools and artists from Present Tense theatre making company. The workshop was stage two in the Take Over process. We returned to GPAC to watch a performance evening, the final stage of Take Over. The research team will be working with the participating school in July and August.

  1. Theatre Network Australia

On May 23 Rachel Fensham and Abbie Trott presented aspects of the research at Theatre Network Australia’s AGM. This was an opportunity to present current research on key terms – dimensions of experience – being used across the arts, marketing and developing sectors to TNA members as part of the project team’s work on developing a lexicon for ‘affect’ and ‘impact’. It was also an opportunity to make connections with the broader theatre sector. 

Ongoing conversations

The research team is currently in conversation with Arena Theatre Company re their regional workshop program in Terms 3 and 4, with HotHouse in Wodonga with regard to creating a digital resource from their ensemble production At the Hip, and setting our sights on Bell Shakespeare and Arthur later in the year.


In this section of the E-news, one member of the research team will provide a response to the research work so far. In this edition that task has fallen to Meg Upton.

Working with MTC and the Melbourne Talam creative team has offered rich insight into concepts and understandings of ‘impact’ and ‘affect’. Melbourne Talam is a new play and has just had its premiere production. The processes we have been investigating include: programming, writing and development, dramaturgy, rehearsal, direction, design, performance, stage management, technical production, pre-show discussion and post-show Q&A. Having collected observational, documented and interview data on these processes, I am really looking forward to working with participating students and teachers in regional Victoria and learning about their responses.

Of particular interest has been the Stage Manager’s Show Reports, one for every performance. As a data set, they are rich in observation and commentary on each performance, each venue and each audience, and suggest a unique perspective of impact and affect from behind the technical desk.

We look forward to speaking to and working with you all across the year. Please don’t hesitate to contact us.

With kind regards,

Dr Megan Upton

On behalf of the research team

Creative Convergence: Enhancing Impact in Regional Theatre for Young People