Speak Local – Initiative of Critical Path

Speak Local – Budding Ideas


Speak Local produced by Critical Path and co curated by Annalouise Paul and Margie Medlin provided a much needed forum for artists to express their emerging ideas and works through the now fast intermingling worlds of dramaturgy, theatre and choreographed works of dance on the 15 November 2015 at the Drill Hall NSW Critical Path.

Alan Schacher’s production with WeiZen called Shoes and Spices made for a site specific presentation in the outdoor spaces of the Drill Hall. Depicting the history of Dutch East India Company trading through the Straits of Melaka, it showcased the dominance of Dutch colonisation.

With a black shoe tied on his head, Alan walked into the outdoor verandah of the Drill Hall as some bemused walkers with their dogs stopped to watch.

Alan successfully creating a vision of white dominance. As WeiZen through her dance movements in a white t-shirt with down cast eyes and expressionless features displayed bonded labour.

Her contorted introspective movements showed restriction, control yet in her flexibility displayed a powerlessness as she dipped shirts in different spices only to wear them in layers.

Heightening the experience of the audience with the smell and feel of spices under feet, the audience was invited to walk on spices bare feet.


Forge and Self Portrait by Annalouise Paul was a compelling performance bordering on a questioning dialogue with the audience. Why dance? Why Flamenco ? What is its essential rhythm? Does rhythm have emotion? and so on.

Expressing her passion at times through her feet, at other times through Siguiriyas (the flamenco music set to 12 counts)  she successfully merged worlds with her audience as she conveyed her own journey and need to dance flamenco.

In the second segment, Annalouise had her audience turn around to face the other section of the theatre where she danced with mirrors behind her. The mirrors permitted the audience to see themselves as the performer herself, in effect creating an experience that the audience is as much a part of the performance as the performance itself.


Paschal Daantos Berry, Performance Curator for Blacktown Arts Centre,  has been working in intercultural interdisciplinary areas for many years. ‘This sense of multiplicity is what keeps me immersed in intercultural works’ says Paschal Berry. Paschal Daantos Berry is performance maker, writer, curator and dramaturg whose practice is focused on interdisciplinary, cross cultural and collaborative processes. He has worked for Urban Theatre Projects (UTP), Radio National (ABC), Griffin Theatre, the Australian Choreographic Centre and Quantum Leap Youth Choreographic Ensemble, Belvoir Asian Theatre Festival, Performance Space, Blacktown Arts Centre, ATYP, Canberra Youth Theatre and NORPA.


Aruna Gandhi dancer and choreographer and Anisha Thomas pianist, composer and musician brought to life Naayika, the story of a woman in love. In a dialogue between movements in dance and piano keys, the two artists successfully explored the world of the Naayika as she experiences the emotions of longing, distress, hope and disappointment to finally conclude together in strength and self-dependence.


Thomas Kelly’s explored the worlds of indigenous Aboriginal Australia and that of the connection with land in an interesting energetic performance. Raghav Handa concept of shape shifting or transformation explored the change in form, shape and character from person to animal. Anna Kuroda in Window by Murasaki Penguin explored the meaning of ‘What is Home ?


Liz Lea gave a short presentation of Ruth St Denis solo from 1906 followed by a showing of a work in progress in a new cross cultural work that looked to inspiration guidance and permission.


The round sit down discussion after the performances created a space for a healthy dialogue to be held between audiences from differing backgrounds many who came from financial and non-creative worlds to ex production and creative directors. Audience feedback demonstrated that they responded better when acts explained and articulated its stories. They also preferred to interact with the performing artist in ways  and manners that enhanced their own experiences.