In this exclusive interview, Music Theatre Futures Event Organiser and Project Lead, Jayde Kirchert discusses the what Music Theatre Futures is, who the symposium is for, the long term goals of MTF and which sessions she’s most excited about.
What is Music Theatre Futures?
Jayde Kirchert: MTF is an online event that has been made possible by funding from the Faculty of Fine Arts & Music directorate.
The event features a week of industry leaders and makers talking about innovations they have made in their practice to make their work and workplaces more inclusive.
It’s a chance for leaders in the industry to come together, learn, discover and get inspired by all the fantastic things we can all do make the work more creatively satisfying and inclusive at the same time!
Who is Music Theatre Futures for?
MTF is aimed at leaders such as producers, directors, choreographers, designers, writers – basically anyone who holds space. But anyone passionate about the future of music theatre will find the sessions inspiring and informative.
I also say music theatre, rather than musical theatre, because at VCA we’re passionate about all the possibilities of music + storytelling – musicals are an important part of that, but there is also amazing work in cabaret, plays with songs, experimental music theatre and the like.
After such a tumultuous year with social justice issues coming to mainstream attention and the world being forced into lock down, I felt this was a unique and important moment for the industry to come together, before we re-emerge post COVID. When else do we get so much time to reflect and think about what kind of world we want to live in?
There have been ups and downs in our industry this year and the world has undoubtedly changed. I believe if music theatre is to remain relevant, socially engaged and empowering for audiences and artists alike, leaders must come together to discuss, learn from each other and become more socially and culturally literate.
That is how we will continue to change people’s lives for the better – and that’s what inclusive music theatre can do.
What are the long-term goals for Music Theatre Futures?
MTF will become a regular biennial event. It’s important that when we think about inclusion and best practice, that we don’t see it as a job that gets done. It’s a continual process that evolves with new understandings. That’s why we will run this event every 2 years, so we can continue to provide a platform for education, professional development and inspiration for our leaders and makers of music theatre.
Similarly, inclusion doesn’t happen overnight as activists already in this space will tell you. Whilst I hope this inaugural event will inspire some immediate shifts towards greater inclusion, realistically, big changes take time and I hope MTF will become part of inspiring long term changes towards greater inclusion in our industry.
How can people get involved?
The inaugural program has been announced, so the best way for people to get involved is to share the info with colleagues and friends to help spread the word! If you have booked, tag us @musictheatrefutures and use the hashtag #musictheatrefutures when you post.
How do you register for a session?
Registration is super easy – jump on our website and click on the session you want to book. You’ll see a ‘register’ button which will take you to the registration page and voila! You’re in! Every event is free but registrations are essential.
Which sessions are you most excited about?
I can’t wait to hear from our international speakers – Broadway Director Daniel Fish, Assistant Professor in Dance Sarah Wilbur and Head of Postgraduate Performance at Mountview, Sherrill Gow.
Daniel will tell us about his Tony Award winning revival of Oklahoma!, Sarah will tell us about Deaf West’s Spring Awakening which had a cast of hearing and non-hearing actors, and Sherrill will tell us about how she took a queer-feminist approach to directing Pippin.
Of course our local stars are just as exciting – Michael Cassel will be a big highlight and I personally can’t wait to chat with Candy Bowers about new music theatre. I have been a fan of her work for a long time (Hot Brown Honey anyone?).
Also, if you’ve never heard Tiriki Onus speak, you MUST come to the first session, Setting the Scene with a First Nations Perspective. He is a proud Yorta Yorta man and Head of the Wilin Centre for Indigenous Arts and Cultural Development, University of Melbourne, and is a masterful, warm and generous speaker.
I could go on, but just take a look at the program and tell us what you think!
Jayde Kirchert – Artistic Director, of Citizen Theatre, Writer, Director, Dramaturge, Choreographer, Lecturer and Teaching Artist.
Jayde is a multidisciplinary artist, focusing on feminist theatre and music theatre. In addition to being director and dramaturge for many new Australian works for the Melbourne Cabaret Festival, Poppy Seed Festival, Melbourne Comedy & Fringe Festivals, she has directed and written multiple critically-acclaimed productions through her company Citizen Theatre.
Jayde is a lecturer at the Victorian College of the Arts and the 2020 recipient of Monash University’s Jeanne Pratt Artist In Residence. From the University of Melbourne she holds a Bachelor of Music Theatre, Post Graduate Diploma of Arts (Anthropology) and is currently undertaking a Master of Fine Arts (Music Theatre).
Registrations for Music Theatre Futures sessions are now open.