Milk Crate Theatre Year in Review 2020

2020 was a year of challenges!

Challenges for Milk Crate as a company, challenges for our community of artists and of course for the many community members who would usually come to us over the course of a year to be creative and connect.

However, in reflecting back on my first full year at the helm of Milk Crate, I have to say I'm incredibly proud of this year and how much we've managed to achieve in the face of what some would describe at times as an insurmountable test on our courage and resilience.

We kicked off our year with Devising Theatre workshops at the OLC and plans to jump back into the workshop spaces at Rev. Bill Crews Foundation (Exodus) in Ashfield, Evolve in Parramatta and to start creative development on a new work - "Tiny Universe". As you would all well remember, these plans came to a grounding halt in March as the world locked down and we had to suspend programming.

I'm so proud of the Artistic team, led by Margot, who quickly pivoted to offer the opportunity for the community to connect online through this period. First with weekly live social media sessions and then with a filmed/zoom devising theatre workshop series offered online. We realised that this was not ideal for everyone and believe us, it was hard to know that we weren't able to be there for all of the community who might have wanted to connect, but it was so wonderful to catch-up with those who we were able to reach.

Then in our Milk Crate way, amazing things started to happen. New characters and work started to develop through the online workshops. Beautiful work, not directly focusing on all the goings on in the outside world, but a truly creative piece sharing the unique perspective of our community. This new work, Bunan (Dust Storm) was performed online via Zoom to a small group of our community, and our Collaborative Artists really brought their performance level to new heights via this medium. It was truly a delight!

The cast and some online audience members for the ZOOM reading of "Bunan"

We engaged Facilitating Artist Dave Molloy to create a range of video classes showing you how to create and edit your own short films at home using simple technology such as your mobile phone and free editing software.

When September arrived, we were finally able to come back to the floor at Rev. Bill Crews Foundation (Exodus) and to kick off the creative development of "Tiny Universe" in partnership with Shopfront Arts Co-op in Carlton. What a joy it has been to start to connect in person again and to see the continued creativity flowing through our community.

The amazing Kay Armstrong and Aslam Abdus-Samad worked with the gang at Rev. Bill Crews in Ashfield and produced some amazing pieces of short film which you can see here.

Artist Facilitator Aslam Abdus-samad and Collaborative Artist Matthias Nudl in Matthias' short film, devised and created in The Rev. Bill Crews Foundation Creative Workshops.