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MANIFESTO installation by the Waterloo Creative Ensemble, photo by Jessica Saras

Another stunning year for Milk Crate Theatre has been completed! So many projects and so many people accessing the vitality that only artistic practice can manifest. Through every single workshop, project, and show, people with lived experiences of homelessness, mental health conditions and disability are accessing powerful moments. Moments of joy, of connection, and of realisation - that we matter, that our ideas are important, that our inherent artistry deserves to be shared, expressed and seen.

It has been a tough year culturally and socio-politically, in Australia and beyond. Collectively and individually, we are still feeling our way through the waves of hope, despair, horror and outrage. Underneath it all, many of us have felt a sense of powerlessness, or that our small actions cannot possibly affect the big change we want for the world. And in these times, it can be hard to justify the importance of theatre. It may seem separate, maybe even trite, alongside the massiveness of everything else. But it is important to remember that since inception, theatre and the arts have been core facilities through which to protest, to grieve, to heal and to connect.

Cast of SOLACE, photo by Robert Catto

When we feel powerless, the arts offer us an immediate space in which to take small, first actions - right where we are. And I personally believe that in these times, that is one of the most powerful things we can do. Connecting where we can. Expressing where we can. Being present with the people in our immediate proximity, and offering respect, kindness and support right here - in honour of the people around the world who do not have that, who cannot reach that, for reasons beyond their control.

At Milk Crate Theatre, we take this approach in all of our work. For these 2 hours, or 3 hours, of a workshop or creative development, we gather together in artistic collaboration - to dream, to release, to investigate, and to share. It is only in spaces like these where we find time to ground ourselves and get to the heart of all matters, to find meaning, and open up to possibilities and solutions. We face ourselves, in an environment of shared respect, and we realise in real time just how strong we are. We realise that we are capable of growth, and we are worthy of that growth.

OLC Workshops, photo by Nick Vagne

Headway GENERATE Artist Georgina Wood, presenting her piece at our showing event

cast and crew of the short film "Let Him Out" at the SF3 Kids Gala, photo by SF3

Q+A Event as part of the 2023 EMERGENCE Exhibit, photo by Thomas Evans

We stay close to each other as we open our hearts to audiences, and collaborate with them, in a shared experience of pure presence - the presence that is born in us, that is true to us, and wants to share in that truth. It is not an exchange - it is a shared experience of expansion.

To every one of our Collaborative Artists, who have dared to open yourself to this terrifyingly awesome experience - thank you. To our audiences and peers who see and value our truth, and are so willing to share in it with us - thank you. To the staff and artists and everyone who is part of this work in one way or another - thank you. Because it is in these shared experiences that we can see possibility, believe that there is more that we can feel, do, express and affect - and moment by moment, take a slow, small, collaborative journey towards peace.

Margot Politis

Artistic Director MCT

December 2023


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