Windmill’s Dream Run

A successful crowdfunding campaign would cap off an incredible year for Windmill Theatre.

A successful crowdfunding campaign would cap off an incredible year for Windmill Theatre. Currently in pre-production for its debut feature film Girl AsleepWindmill Theatre is heading to New York with its State Theatre co-production Pinocchio next year. Windmill and State Theatre have almost reached their $15,000 Pozible target for Pinocchio’s New York jaunt, as the general public has pledged nearly $14,000. With 12 days to go until the crowdfunding campaign finishes on July 23, it looks like the local theatre institutions will reach their initial target. The incredible run for one of this country’s premier youth theatre companies began with the staging of the entire Windmill Trilogy at the Adelaide Festival, which included the premiere of Girl Asleep, the trilogy’s final installment. Girl Asleep, like the trilogy’s previous works, Fugitive and School Dance, received rave notices. After the Adelaide Festival success, Pinocchio enjoyed a season at the Sydney Opera House. The musical, starring Nathan O’Keefe and Paul Capsis, is now booked for a season in New York, which follows a previous Windmill production, Grug, to the States. Windmill Director Rosemary Myers, who was in the process of casting for Girl Asleep when she spoke to The Adelaide Review, said the New York production would be a showcase for “some of the really bigger theatres to come and see our work”. “We’ve had interest from the UK, but it’s that much easier for potential presenters from that side of the world to fly into New York to see the show than it is for them to fly all the way here to watch one show,” Myers explains. “Hopefully it will have a further life, it is a show that has to sit on a big stage and have enough people to watch it to justify the expense of putting it on. It does have a lot of people in the cast. It’s a big musical, it’s not big for a commercial musical, but for a Windmill production it’s a big show.” A successful Pozible campaign would round off a dream 2014 run for Windmill and Myers. “I just want to enjoy every moment of it but it’s high pressure as well. We just had a month of Pinocchio in Sydney and that went incredibly well. That was our third chance to revisit that show. It premiered in Adelaide and then we took it to the Malthouse in Melbourne for a month and then Sydney. Each time we’ve tightened the screws of the show and the storytelling. We received feedback from the audience about where maybe it wasn’t clear and where it could be more dynamic. I think we’ve got the production tight and in really good shape. To take it to New York is really… I mean the Sydney Opera House was a brilliant season but to take it to New York is a dream. It’s going to be brilliant.”   Myers will direct the film version of Girl Asleep, her debut feature film, which will premiere at next year’s Adelaide Film Festival, as it was funded by the Festival’s Hive Fund, which commissions ambitious art projects for the Festival. The Fund experienced success with last year’s crop, which included Matthew Bate and Gideon Obarzanek’s I Want to Dance Better at Parties, which won the DENDY Award at the Sydney Film Festival, as well as Tender and the all-star musical cast (Tim Rogers, Megan Washington and Paul Capsis) of The Boy Castaways. Though Girl Asleep is Windmill’s first feature, film isn’t a giant leap for the company, as its theatre work is renowned for using screen on stage. When Windmill began planning the film, Myers said they were going for a traditional filming of the play. But the producers and funding partners told Windmill that they commissioned them due to the fact they love Windmill’s achievements in the theatre and they wanted to see how that would translate to film. The idea was then to be bold and make something that is either “amazing or a spectacular failure”. “They said the worst thing we could do is make something that looks like a low budget teen flick,” Myers explained. “One thing about our theatre is that it uses a lot of screen. Screen is the predominant art form of our time, and we have a lot of fun with the conventions of film in our theatre, we use a lot of slow-mo and montage, and part of the fun of our theatre shows is how we stage film live and people really enjoy that.” In November, Windmill will present its Grug sequel, Grug and the Rainbow, for local audiences, which will be directed by Sam Haren. “I think it looks better than the original Grug. I think it looks fantastic, as Grug goes out into the world. It’s a lot of fun. That will go on tour and our show Big Bad Wolf will tour America.” Despite the interstate and international tours, Myers says Windmill’s number one priority is South Australia. “They’re the kids and families that own the company in our minds. Touring is a great opportunity to create a profile for the company and generate work for the artists. If you’re an artist it’s hard to make a living and the more work we can generate for our great actors, and the more employment we can generate for them, the more we get to keep great talent in South Australia.” Are there plans to expand given that the 12-year-old company is constantly creating new work while touring interstate and overseas? “I think we’re at a bit of a point where there are so many opportunities coming our way but we do have to manage them in terms of our resources. Things such as making the film and getting Pinocchio over to New York, they’re dreams we’ve been working towards for several years. We often sit down and dream up what we want to do. We double the dreams and if half of them come true we’re doing really well, but the crazy thing about this year is that they’ve all come off.” Windmill’s Pozible campaign: pozible.com/project/182119 windmill.org.au

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