Alexis set to train in UK and poland thanks to helpmann fellowship

Posted: 16th April 2020

Edited by Alexis Luke and Jane Arnfield

Alexis has been awarded a Helpmann Fellowship for 2020 – a career-defining opportunity valued at up to $20,000, supported by the James and Diana Ramsay Foundation. During autumn late 2020 (TBC due to COVID-19), Alexis will travel to Newcastle upon Tyne, UK, and Lodz, Poland to undertake a two-month residency in the form of a one-on-one personalised mentorship with UK artist-academic Jane Arnfield* (The Tin Ring). 

 

Alexis will be trained by Arnfield in her Living Memorial Theatre Methodology (2019). Arnfield’s practice-led research, forensically examines historical, biographical narrative material drawing on Biographical Narrative Interviewing Methods (BNIM) to source original material and drama based methods to transfer the excavated material into a series of performative actions/events. Arnfield’s research is interdisciplinary, working in Drama and Sociology. The aims are to disrupt and push the boundaries of contemporary (auto) biographical theatre practice through an interdisciplinary questioning of its role and function. Alexis will be mentored by Arnfield to explore and test out potential synergies between (auto) biographical theatre practice and ethnographic and archival study in the arts, social sciences and humanities.  

 

A major output for Alexis will be the origination and production of a mono drama.

 

Alexis will be mentored by Arnfield to interrogate the methodologies of theatre practitioners Mike Alfreds and David Glass respectively, empowering Alexis to further develop his theatre and performance skills. Another notable impact of the Helpmann Fellowship will be enhancing the artistic practice between Alexis and Australian Theatre Practitioner, Puppeteer and AlleyKat Collective co-founder Kathryn Adams, expanding their future, unique artistic capabilities.  

 

Below is a statement from Alexis on receiving his Helpmann Fellowship:

Alexis Luke in "Guttered", Restless Dance Theatre

Above: Alexis Luke from the photoshoot for Guttered by Restless Dance Theatre. Photo courtesy of Restless Dance Theatre. 

Photo credit: Shane Reid

"As a collective, pursuing physical theatre - an art form with limited visibility in South Australia - has often led Kathryn Adams and I to feel isolated. Outside of the ongoing support of Restless Dance Theatre and the amazing mentorship from Michelle Ryan and Roz Hervey, we felt we were pursuing an invisible sector in the arts landscape. However, this Helpmann Fellowship has personally given me reassurance that there is indeed value in physical theatre practitioners in South Australia. This translates to our collective, and it’s a reassurance that the work we strive to create has validity and an importance in South Australia.

 

"I'm excited to work with Jane on creating performative (auto) biographical work rooted in deepening a shared public understanding of various mental health issues. As a gay male living with Borderline Personality, in order to manage mental ill health, I have had to continually navigate my sense of self: self-worth, value to others, self-narratives (schemas), self-criticism, and identifying repetitive and fast-tracked streams of thought. I have encountered aspects of myself which bring discomfort, others which I have fought to maintain - both constructive and destructive - and others that I subconsciously and actively reject, dismiss or suppress. Individuals who live with Borderline Personality experience intense, unstable emotions, impulsivity, and an unstable sense of self, and as a result they are prone to self-destructive behaviour, suicidality, intense but unstable relationships, dissociation, and isolation.

 

“Film tropes like 'the crazy ex-girlfriend' reinforce stigmatised conceptions of Borderline Personality, where films depict extreme behaviours of ill mental health for dramatic purposes without any acknowledgement of complex underlying thought processes which provokes these behaviours. Learning how to incorporate autobiographical material in performances will provide skills which will help me to create opportunity for rich, multi-layered and nuanced performance material which will help to create more accurate depictions of the inner conflict for individuals living with Borderline Personality.

 

"I am so grateful to Jane for agreeing to be part of this Fellowship, supporting the ambitions of an emerging artist from overseas after I emailed her in April 2019. From that one email, I did not envision that I would be working and collaborating with such a range of amazing artists, practitioners, and academics in the UK and Poland. I cannot wait to begin working with Jane. In fact, due to COVID 19 our work has already started virtually with work based tasks and preparation for the autumn late 2020.

 

"I want to thank the Helpmann Academy and the James and Diana Ramsay Foundation for supporting my mentorship with Jane.  I also want to thank Michelle Ryan, Roz Hervey and everyone at Restless Dance Theatre for their ongoing personal and professional support. You have always believed in and supported me in all my endeavours. I’m beyond grateful to be part of the family of dancers and creatives at Restless Dance Theatre (Adelaide). 

 

"Finally, huge congratulations to fellow Flinders University graduate Anastasia Comelli for also being awarded a Helpmann Fellowship. Your project sounds truly amazing and I wish you all the best going forward.”

 

 

*Jane Arnfield 

Associate Professor Theatre & Performance

Northumbria University,

Newcastle upon Tyne, UK

 

​To learn more about Jane Arnfield, visit:

https://www.northumbria.ac.uk/about-us/our-staff/a/jane-arnfield/ 

 

To find out more about The Tin Ring, visit: 

https://www.thetinring.com/

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