Interview with Gabrielle New of The Space Between Performance Collective

The Space Between Performance Collective - photo by Robert Spillane

As part of the Colour Box Studio Summer Pop Up Shop Program The Space in Between Performance Collective will be performing their new piece ‘The thing with Feathers’ over two unique and alluring nights. (BOOKINGS: Click Here)

To set the scene, imagine…

Walking the streets of a grey city,

the shadows attempt to penetrate.

From the back recess of an unlikely alley

A twinkle of light demands attention

A shimmer of hope penetrates the soul

something changes.

It ripples far and wide.

Hooked yet? This performance is guaranteed to blow your mind. The collective will take you on a journey of discovery and possibility. The two performers will move through the alleyway and courtyard of Colour Box Studio travelling from the mundane trap of the habitual to find themselves awake and alive, very much participants of a living breathing dialogue with their environment.

We spoke to Gabrielle, the driving force behind The Space Between Performance Collective about movement, Butoh and collaborations.

The Space Between Performance Collective - photo by Robert Spillane

The Space Between Performance Collective – photo by Robert Spillane

Tell us a little bit about yourself and what you do?

I’m the Director of The Space Between Performance Collective which I started in 2009. The Space Between invites collaborators to develop new Dance Theatre works primarily aimed at establishing an Australian language for Butoh ( a Japanese contemporary dance form ). In Thing with Feathers I collaborate with Kathleen Doyle on concept and movement, Paula Van beek-lighting installation and design, Norm Skipp- sound composition and Ralf Rehak design and installation. All except for Ralf have been involved with The Space Between on a number of previous projects. Ralf and I are both Masters of Fine Art students at RMIT and his background In Architecture was of significant interest as a collaborator as in this piece we are concerned with ideas around how place can reflect and influence our feelings, particularly hope and despair.

The Space Between Performance Collective - photo by Robert Spillane

The Space Between Performance Collective – photo by Robert Spillane

 

Describe your art form.

 We use butoh dance theatre and improvisation, collaborating with other artists to create innovative, new performance works. I’m personally interested in using non-traditional performance spaces which is what makes working at Colour Box so exciting.

Thing with Feathers is a site specific work where the environment and the people in it are integral to the work. I am also interested in body-morphing, transforming costumes and have created new costumes for the piece.

Kathleen and I have been working with butoh and associated forms; Space Dance and Bodyweather, for a long time and draw on out training in these Japanese forms to inform the movement in Thing with Feathers.

 

How did you come to it?

Butoh found me over 15 years ago and I’ve had a passionate relationship with it ever since. I have been lucky enough to work with teachers and companies around the world and was a company member of New Zealand’s MAU Danc e Theatre for a year in 2000. I now teach, perform and direct internationally and in Australia.

The Space Between Performance Collective - photo by Robert Spillane

The Space Between Performance Collective – photo by Robert Spillane

When did you start The Space In Between Collective and how did it come about?

I started The Space Between in 2009 when I was doing a solo residency at Victoria University (across the road from Colour Box). At this time no one in Melbourne was making the kind of work that I was interested in creating so I initially started the collective with Gretel Taylor who was unable to continue with the collective at the time but who may hopefully return to work with us again at some point. Butoh is a contemporary Japanese dance practice and the collective was set up to develop new works and extend the practice to make it relevant and accessible to Australian audiences.

Tell us a about your past projects and what has been your most treasured creation?

To date CREATURE and its three component performances; The Void, Menagerie of Innocence and Emergence has been my biggest project. Developed over two years and performed in parts and finally put together for a season at Theatre works in 2011. CREATURE takes audiences on the archetypal journey from innocence to maturity. My interest in transformation influenced this work and I hope that the company has an opportunity to re-work and present another season in the near future.

Last year under the Direction of Helen Smith the collective created Ten Worlds – a devised work that explored the Buddhist concept of the Ten Worlds.

Shadow and  Paper bag - photo provided by Gabrielle New

Shadow and Paper bag – photo provided by Gabrielle New

 

Where did you grow up and has it influenced what you create?

I grew up in Melbourne but left for 18 years. During this time I mostly lived overseas and in northern NSW. I feel very far away from my time growing up in Melbourne , so much has happened in my life since then,and it probably influences me in unknown ways but having a creative and supportive  family has helped me develop my arts practice. My work for over 20 years as a therapist influences my subject matter and what I aim to achieve with my art the most.

Where do you feel most creative?

Walking and in the shower and when I have time to read and watch movies and see art and performance. When I’m less busy and have time to myself..

 

The Space Between Performance Collective - photo by Robert Spillane

The Space Between Performance Collective – photo by Robert Spillane 

What will you be working on next?

After Thing with Feathers I will be concentrating on finishing my Masters and I have a couple of exhibitions coming up. I have been invited to Vancouver Canada mid-year to teach and make a performance and Kathleen and I are hoping to develop and present this show in again next year.

What can visitors to expect to see when at your Thing With Feathers Performance?

Something they haven’t seen before.

Gabrielle New and Kathleen Doyle unmasked - photo provided by Gabrielle New

Gabrielle New and Kathleen Doyle unmasked – photo provided by Gabrielle New

 

Where can we see more of your/ your collectives work?

Follow us on our facebook page:
https://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Space-Between-Performance-Collective/117598601633710?ref=hl
Or on our web site:
http://thespacebetweenpc.com/
and my webpage:
http://gabrielleleahnew.com/
Also:
http://www.paulavanbeek.com/  Paula.
http://normanskipp.com/ Norm.

To book for the Thing with Feathers performances on 5 & 6 of December 2013: click here.

To find out see what else is on during the Colour Box Studio Summer Pop Up Program, click here.

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