Kathryn Kelly and David Burton – ‘This house is full of ghosts!’… Understanding how the quiet and unexamined rituals of hospitality and accommodation foster collaboration in transcultural and regional performance-making

Presentation

Kathryn Kelly and David Burton

QUT

‘This house is full of ghosts!’… Understanding how the quiet and unexamined rituals of hospitality and accommodation foster collaboration in transcultural and regional performance-making

Organising hospitality for visiting artists is an intuitively understood but rarely interrogated aspect of any collaboration between artists from different geographic or cultural regions. There is a temptation to frame this ‘pre-work’ of performance as logistical, lacking impact and influence on the relational or aesthetic robustness of the collaboration to come. In both of these case studies of collaboration, the rituals of hospitality and accommodation were defining and liminal pre-cursors, demonstrating the quiet binding and unbinding that occurs as artists of different cultures and geographies encounter one another. Both projects are anchored in regional Australia – the SAND project, hosted by NORPA in Lismore, involved artists and companies from First Nations Australian, non-First Nations Australia, Japan and Pakeha New Zealand; the second is the Queensland Music Festival, where regional communities ‘host’ metro based artists for extended periods to build a shared collaborative community production outcome. Drawing on Bourdieu’s notions of habitus, and his privileging of the small moments of everyday life and consumption, both case studies seek to demonstrate the impact of seemingly minor choices of accommodation, the sharing of food and the organisation of shared ‘social time’ at the beginning of each collaboration to explore deeper notions of authentic and effective transcultural process and community cultural development. The case studies illuminate moments and processes of genuine cultural encounter, but also the ways in which the performed ‘rituals of hospitality’ were ‘misfires’ detrimental to the establishment of mutual trust and effective collaboration.

Dr Kathryn Kelly is a dramaturg and theatre historian and is currently a Lecturer at Queensland University of Technology (QUT) in Drama in the Faculty of Creative Industries. She completed her PhD on the Pedagogy of Dramaturgy in 2017 at the University of Queensland. Her publications include a history of Australian dramaturgy 2000-2010 in Catching Australian Theatre in the 2000s (Australian Theatre Series, Bril) as well as with the Australasian Drama Studies journal, Social Alternatives, Fusion and various industry journals. She is currently company dramaturg with award-winning, all-female theatre company, Belloo Creative, who are the Company in Residence at Queensland Theatre. 

David Burton is a playwright and author and a candidate soon to submit his Doctorate of Creative Industries at Queensland University of Technology (QUT). He is the writer of over thirty professionally produced plays, including popular youth-in-education work such as April’s Fool. His celebrated books for young adults include The Man In The Water and the award-winning How to Be Happy. His large-scale community-based work with Queensland Music Festival is the focus of his doctoral research.