Event examines societal impact of the stage

Not everyone has the opportunity to present their research with piano accompaniment, but that’s exactly what Professor Melanie Oppenheimer will enjoy as part of a colourful symposium bringing together an eclectic mix of performers, writers and academics for a theatrical two-day voyage to explore how the creative arts have shaped the understanding of history and South Australian society, circa World War One.

Flinders University is partnering on the event, which is the first time that the Adelaide Symphony Orchestra, the State Opera of SA, the State Theatre Company of SA and the Adelaide Cabaret Festival have all worked together on a single project.

A diverse program features Flinders’ history and theatre experts, with Professor Melanie Oppenheimer enlightening the audience (accompanied by her pianist) about unique fundraising tactics of the time – including two Adelaide women who were performers of war-era patriotic funds and a Red Cross women-only Mock Wedding event.

The closing keynote will be provided by Professor Julian Meyrick, discussing ‘The theatre of war: Australian drama and the portrayal of military conflict’.

John Schumann, an accomplished Flinders Alumnus and musician well known for his leadership of the band ‘Redgum’, will also present.

The event forms part of a larger research initiative funded by the State Library of South Australia and the Federal Government’s Australian Research Council Linkage Grant Scheme.

Symposium convenor, Professor Mark Carroll from the Elder Conservatorium of Music, says “Experts from academic institutions and key figures from the creative arts, including Elder Conservatorium lecturer and acclaimed musician Dr Anna Goldsworthy, TV personality Steve Vizard, and Australian singer, songwriter and guitarist John Schumann, will share their insights on the creative process and what role the creative arts play in society.”

The symposium culminates in a stage reading by the State Theatre Company of a work commissioned by the project, which celebrates the life of one of the state’s most colourful eccentrics, Paris Nesbit (1852-1927).

“Anyone who is interested in the influence that the performing arts has had on society is welcome to attend. The symposium is a real mixture of presentations and, much like the early variety show performances, there is something in it for everyone,” says Professor Carroll.

Event details:

Beyond the Stage: A creative arts symposium

When:              Thursday 15 and Friday 16 June 2018

Where:             Hetzel Lecture Theatre, State Library of South Australia

Register:          Online

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