All posts in Writing

21 Posts
Don’t worry about definitions, dressing up or whether you will understand it “correctly”. Just go!

The Festival of Live Art has arrived … but what is live art?

New article published today in The Conversation

By Robert Walton, University of Melbourne

The inaugural Festival of Live Art (FOLA), which begins today in Melbourne, celebrates some of the most exciting artists working in performance today and yet, the exact meaning of the term “live art” is difficult to pin down, given everyone who uses it has their own working definition. But this is far from a problem. Diversity of form and practice is what makes live art so stimulating for audiences and artists alike.

It’s time to get climate change onto the stage.

Acting up – climate change cause needs performers’ help

By Robert Walton, University of Melbourne, written for The Conversation 

Republishing of my article for The Conversation (8 July 2013). It received an amazing response from readers with 80+ comments and many shares and retweets.  To see them visit the original article.  Thank you to The Vacuum Cleaner for the image.

Preventing catastrophic climate change is the greatest challenge humankind has ever faced. Instead of being overwhelmed, the performing arts community has a leading part to play in imagining a sustainable future of rich and meaningful experiences.

Let’s not deny it, for many of us (myself included) climate change has slipped into the background over the last few years. It just seems too big for individuals to tackle. Media coverage of climate change news has fallen despite an increase in urgent stories and the extraordinary rise of social networking.

The performing arts is a tough sector to survive in, even at the best of times. Who has time for inconvenient truths when the wolf is at the door? But Bill McKibben’s recent visit to Australia, the stalling of international climate change talks in Bonn, the Australia 2050 Report and the Tipping Point Australia Forum might all be enough to rekindle our sector’s awareness of the big challenges.

Andrew Carolane, Annabel Marshall-Roth, Article One devised by Bagryana Popov in collaboration with Acting Company 2012, School of Performing Arts, VCA, University of Melbourne
photo Jeff Busby

RealTime Interview – Arts Education: Utopia and Horrors

Melanie Beddie and I appear in Keith Gallasch’s RealTime feature on Arts Education (RealTime 116).

We outline our ‘utopian’ vision for the BFA Theatre Practice at VCA and University of Melbourne.  Please ask if you would like to see our (fuller) original response.

Glad that Keith used an image of our graduates Andrew Carolane and Annabel Marshall-Roth from Bagryana Popov’s great devised work Article One at VCA Theatre.

Read on for excerpts or click here for the full article at RealTime which includes interesting responses from Rosalba Clemente, Helen Trenos, Cath McKinnon, Peta Tait and Julian Meyrick.

Acting up – climate change cause needs performers’ help

New article published on The Conversation.

Please read, comment, and share with your networks.

Transdisciplinary Wordle

Transdisciplinary Form and Production: Reflections on Translation, Embodiment and Mobility (through Alma Mater, 2011)

by Robert Walton and James Oliver

A collaboratively authored paper available in 2012 Transdisciplinary Imaging Conference Proceedings.  The paper responds to the conference theme of ‘Interference as a strategy for art’.

An earlier draft is available here, read on for more.


The Perfect (Performance) Gift

When speaking with students about how to make a performance for the rest of the class I seem to talk a lot about gifts and giving.  When you can create anything, how do you choose what to say or do?  What do you do with your creative freedom?  After 27 tutorials this week the following seems to have coalesced, a short list of ideas for making solo performance thoughtfully, as a gift.

Survival Techniques: Advice for Day 1

Today, the first day of the academic year, is a good moment to share with everyone some of the things I seemed to say a lot to individuals last year.  We rarely share these thoughts as a group, so I thought to make the most of the meeting with all the students and all the staff.  What follows is a list of ideas/techniques that might help you survive better, make the most of and thrive in an intensive, collaborative and creative environment.  People often have false starts and can take a while to hit their stride, so I wanted to foreground advice which might help people get going more quickly and easefully.

Read on for the list.  Please send me anything I’ve missed as this is by no means complete.  Leave a comment!

Glasgow Traffic Wardens huddle in frozen Queens Park

City Guide to Glasgow for RealTime Traveller

I really enjoyed writing this guide to Glasgow, just wish there was a longer word limit as there is so much to say.

To see the whole article on RealTime visit or read this blog post.

Around Coastal Miyagi Prefecture, Japan Monday 4 June 2012

This video documents a brief visit to Miyagi Prefecture a year after the devastating 2011 Tōhoku Earthquake and Tsunami. Like everyone else I was moved by the images of the tsunami on the news, yet I never imagined that a year later I would be visiting the region. I made this video to share a little of what I saw that day.

This was the first day of my first trip to Japan. I was a guest of Kaori Nakayama and the Theatre Planning Network. We started early in Tokyo taking the Shinkansen to Sendai to meet Takako Ofuji. In the afternoon Takako drove Kaori and I around Ojika Peninsula’s coastal towns, before visiting Ishinomaki on the way back to Sendai. Monday 4 June 2012 was a long, emotionally draining yet extraordinary day on my trip to Japan, and one that I will never forget. I am grateful to my hosts and the people of Miyagi who made me feel so welcome that day.


3 days in Japan as a guest of the Theatre Planning Network

This article was published in Theatre & Policy by the Theatre Planning Network, Japan, 20 August 2012.  Published in Japanese, translated by Kaori Nakayama.

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