Ainslie + Gorman Arts Centres announces the Canberra season of Never Trust a Creative City, an Australian theatre work created and performed by Emma McManus and Maria White.
Never Trust a Creative City untangles the complex relationship between artists and gentrification. Audiences embark on a 50-minute comedic journey through rising rents, social dislocation, arts-led urban renewal, pop-up galleries and really dumb things on the internet. Co-creators and performers Emma McManus and Maria White describe the show as “a little bit TED talk, a little bit buddy comedy and a little bit dystopian science fiction”.
Never Trust a Creative City premiered at FOLA, Melbourne’s Festival of Live Art in March this year. McManus and White hope the season at the Gorman Arts Centre will encourage Canberrans to think about the kind of place we want to live in and to consider how gentrification not only changes our cities and urban environments but also our bodies and behaviours.
“Canberra is a very comfortable place to live.” Says White. “We want the audience to sit with things that potentially make them feel uncomfortable and to question where that feeling came from”. McManus and White’s work is inspired by the words of American playwright Sarah Schulman, “Being uncomfortable is required in order to be accountable”.
McManus grew up in Canberra, left when she was 18 and came back at 28. She believes that combination of familiarity and distance is a good position to view how Canberra has changed. “It’s an important moment in the city’s history in which to perform our show. It’s a good time to have a think about where we want it to go.”
McManus says, “We started developing this project when we were at an arts and activism conference in Brooklyn, New York. Gentrification was a big topic of conversation and it got us thinking about Australian cities and the role of artists in urban renewal. Can you resist a force as large as gentrification? Did we even want to? And what would we need to give up to create the environment we want to live in?”
Never Trust a Creative City is supported by Arts House through CultureLAB; the ACT Government through artsACT; and Crack Theatre Festival through the Setting Stages initiative funded through the Australia Council. Never Trust a Creative City undertook creative development as part of Vitalstatistix’s interdisciplinary hothouse, Adhocracy, in 2016;
Never Trust a Creative City is presented as a part of Ainslie + Gorman Arts Centres 2018 Ralph Indie Program, which supports artists to develop and present new performance works in the Ralph Wilson theatre at Gorman Arts Centre. By offering the time, space, and funds Ralph Indie encourages innovation, experimentation and cross-disciplinary investigations in the performing arts.