16/07/2008 - 22:00

Culture Corner: Chrissie Parrott

16/07/2008 - 22:00

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Chrissie Parrott

Artistic director of Jambird Multimedia Performance Company (30 years), Pica Performance program manager (8 months)



WABN: Describe a day at work.

CP: "At Pica it's a mix of creative decision making in administration, communicating directly with artists, programming the performance space as well as introducing artists to other opportunities. On the other hand, writing funding applications and continuing to create new ideas for artistic works with Jambird in film or dance production."

WABN: What is the best piece of advice you can give someone to motivate a team?

CP: "Be fair, keep a sense of humour, have a global view to stay inspired; it's also important to view the work of other people you admire and not be afraid of great aspirations."

WABN: What has been the most challenging event in your career?

CP: "I am in one of the most challenging and most exciting places in my career right now. I am transitioning into a role that requires me to maintain my creative style as well as working in an administrative capacity.

"Another challenge was in 1996, when my dance company closed down because of financial issues and I had to find ways of surviving; surviving financially and creatively."

WABN: What's best measurement of your performance, and can you name a highlight in your career?

CP: "I toured around some of the most important festivals in Australia, including the Sydney Festival, the Adelaide Festival, the Queensland Biennale, the Melbourne Arts Festival, and the North German Summer Dance Festival, where I was a guest artistic director. The Kawaguchi festival in Japan was one of the big highlights for Jambird, too."

WABN: Is there an organisational model that you strive to achieve?

CP: "Pica is an organisation and a place of vision. Amy Barrett-Lennard has a very high standard for all of us and a fresh vision that is quite unique, which also inspires me for my own company.

"I also want my company to be in a situation where the creative and artistic work is promoted broadly, so that the community and general public have an opportunity to see the work, through touring and the electronic media, television.

"In the 80s and 90s, arts had much more coverage than what we have at the moment; we have a lot of newspaper and magazine coverage, but not as much TV coverage. The emphasis on sport doesn't leave a lot of space for the arts at that level. I would like to see more of that space dedicated to culture and the arts. We need more space in the electronic media, than we can reach out to the general public."

WABN: What frustrates you the most about your sector and what would you do to change it?

CP: "Hearing people complaining about the lack of work in the arts industry. I would encourage artists to demand that we see more performance work brought here, work that can inspire and be used in a positive way and as a springboard to make their own work. Don't sit down and wait! They should just go ahead and make the work, if it's good enough, people would want to see it."

WABN: Who is someone that you dream to work with?

CP: "Romero Castellucci is an Italian theatre director but works all over the world. He came to Perth and I have seen a lot of his works; he takes big risks on stage, it's a very visual and dynamic work. Those are large-scale works that we don't get the opportunity. I also follow closely the work of French director Ariane Mouchkine, it's also a grand scale work that inspires me."

WABN: What were you doing before your current position?

CP: "I was working as a freelance choreographer and director and I was also running Jambird, which I still do, creating digital artwork and multimedia installation."

WABN: What is your education background?

CP: "I studied full-time performance and dance since the age of 15 and held position as senior research fellow at ECU, and adjoint professor at the Queensland University of Technology."

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