Renée Newman – Escape Velocity Walks the City: listening to the transgender and gender non-conforming teen experience

Presentation

Renée Newman

WAAPA at ECU

Escape Velocity Walks the City: listening to the transgender and gender non-conforming teen experience 

Escape Velocity Walks the City took place 23 -26 October 2019 as part of the Future Echoes Festival in Melbourne, Australia. Created by Rosana Cade with Ivor MacAskill, Laurie Brown and St Martins Youth Theatre and based on the internationally acclaimed participatory solo walking performance Walking Holding by Cade, audience and performer walk and talk together through the inner city of Melbourne. Hand in hand with a group of transgender and gender non- conforming teens, the performance was still, often silent, generative and kind. The work was fragile and powerful, gently prodding the audience to listen deeper and harder, and with an open heart. Drawing on the notion of empathy as an “affective demand of care” (Caswell & Cifor, 2016, p. 30) this paper explores how this micro-performance was an exercise in intimacy and empathy; of listening, speaking, caring and truth-telling. Raising critical issues of visibility, safety and hope Escape Velocity Walks the City marked out the performativity of a city and its citizens. 

Renée Newman has been an educator, actor, writer, director and producer for nearly twenty years. She is a lecturer/researcher for WAAPA at ECU in Western Australia with research interests in arts and social justice, environmental and political arts based commentary/intervention and performance praxis/research nexus. She has published with Educational Philosophy Theory, Sustainability, Platform and Performance Research and has a chapter in the 2019 Routledge Companion to Theatre and Politics.