The Australian Theatre Forum 2011: Convictions and Connections finds itself in an interesting place. And I’m not necessarily talking about Brisbane which is currently overwhelmed by production and festival and artistic activity. For three days theatre makers, arts administrators, artists of independent and dependent status’ are mixing, talking listening, scheming, planning, reading, sharing.

I am here. As I write this I am on the stairs of the Brisbane Powerhouse, as the warm hum of opinion and chatter is punctuated by sandwiches and coffee. A woman has just apologised for nearly bumping my face with her bottom. It’s ok. I sort of expect it – writing at an event like this is like trying to do your homework in a nightclub.

Why the pressure? Why write when some one’s bum is in your face? I’m here by the good grace of the ATF – who have asked me to write responses and reports on the events of the Forum. It’s already been a very confronting time – weeks ago asked what should be put on my name tag “Anything but Blogger” I said… well it’s an ugly word – and it’s not really the only thing i do.. I’m a new work advocate and I work on new Australian plays. I’m a playwright and director. I’m a reviewer… but here in this context I’m going to be lots of things – and it happens that I will be expressing it through the power of wordpress.

At the Sydney Airport, having nearly stripped naked by men in uniform due to my unorthodox hair pins (inadventant weapon they said) i was relieved to have a momentary distraction of Lachlan Philpott and Katrina Douglas and a glass of Red wine… we talked about theatre, debate, confrontations, playwriting. Then later after a terrible coffee I found myself on a flight sitting next to the ever-delightful Luke Mullins – an actor to whom I am always thrilled to be a captive audience… but I told them I wouldn’t “Blog” about our chats. Sometimes things are private. And sometimes I’m lazy. And sometimes I just want to have a chat about life, not just art and culture (which is an overwhelming part of my life).

After a short while Anni Davey and I were united through a mishap and a taxi and found ourselves chatting in the taxi – a speed dating of grand comfort – because you knwo the person you are talking to is already sympathetic .. so who are you… and where are you from? And really.. after a talk about style and genre, issues and a deeper questioning of “why do this to ourselves – why be vulnerable, hurt, open and exhausted by the act of making something transient… ” i answered, “Because that’s all we can do. That is what living is.” Performing artists – indeed artists of all varieties are wise beserk gypsies….

OK… I have to go to the Theatre Network meet and greet…
Sam Hawker and I have just gulped some sandwiches….

I’ll say more soon.