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.
Margot Politis and Lucy Watson joined Natalie Rose at Shopfront to kick off the Tiny Universe Development which will be presented on stage in May 2021.
And this really brings us to what's happened behind the scenes at Milk Crate whilst we haven't been able to be on the floor as much this year. We took the opportunity to look at our strategic plan - going back to basics and asking what we are actually here for! And I'm delighted to say that whilst the basics haven't changed, we have made some big changes that provide a stronger and clearer direction for the future.
Promotional image for our new work "Tiny Universe" with Shopfront Co-Op, which will hit the stage in May 2021
We have also taken the opportunity to really engage with our funders. The many individuals and organisations that support Milk Crate have been incredible this year - not only offering additional support but showing faith and belief in our community and the value of our work as part of the cultural landscape of Sydney. To those who have offered their support - Create NSW, City of Sydney, Australia Council for the Arts, Office of the Arts, Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Communications, Parramatta Council, Robertson Foundation, James N Kirby Foundation, St George Foundation, Westpac Foundation, Macquarie Bank Foundation, Community Sector Banking Foundation, ATC Foundation, Matana Foundation for Youth, Mirvac, Edward C Dunn, Sally White and our many other donors - We are delighted to have you as part of the Milk Crate Family and can't thank you enough for your support through this period.
If you would like to join our Milk Crate family of awesome supporters and make a donation, please click here to donate online or drop us an email on firstname.lastname@example.org and we can organise a time to talk about our plans and opportunities to support.
Our supporters have really enabled us to look forward to 2021 and schedule a remarkable and exciting program of creative developments, presentations and workshops across Sydney. I don't want to give too much away as we will be properly launching our program in early 2021 but it's big, ambitious, exhilarating and we can't wait!
So as the year comes to a close, we just wanted to thank everyone for being part of Milk Crate this year. We wish you all a wonderful holiday season, and a spectacular New Year.
Jodie, Margot & Jess
P.S. If you need additional support over the holiday season Milk Crate Theatre has compiled a list of services that operate over this period for anyone that may need them.
If you are in a crisis situation the following services are available:
Lifeline: 13 11 14
Beyond Blue: 1300 22 4636
NSW Mental Health Line: 1800 011 511
Suicide Call Back Service: 1300 659 467