Wednesday, January 18 2017

The Tourists

Artistic Director's Notes
Images from Why Am I Here? by Constance Ørbeck-Nilssen and Akin Duzakin

I seldom end up where I wanted to go, but almost always end up where I need to be.

Douglas Adams

2017 is UNESCO’s International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development. It’s a provocative theme. It’s a bit of a mouthful. And it’s going to be enormous fun to explore in our Gecko Ensembles!

Australians are some of the world’s most prolific tourists, embracing the thrill and wonder of traipsing all over this big blue ball. In the words of one of our defacto anthems, I Still Call Australia Home, we are “always travelling” and “love being free”. So UNESCO’s theme raises a lot of big questions for children growing up here.

What is a country, a national identity, a home?

Which humans are allowed to travel beyond their own national borders and why?

How do you balance competing values of economics, culture and the environment to create sustainable tourism?

This term one of our inspirations for these questions will be an exquisite children’s book by Constance Ørbeck-Nilssen and Akin Duzakin. The equally inspiring Michelle Hall brought this book to our attention and we’re so glad she did. It’s called Why Am I Here?

The book goes beyond simple questions about tourism and travel to explore deeper ideas about the nature of the self. A child in a canoe travels through imagined countries, asking seemingly simple questions, inviting empathy and self reflection:

What if I lived where there was only desert?

What if there were a war where I lived?

Why am I me and not someone else? Why am I here?

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The quality of questions in this book, coupled with its exquisite artwork, make it a powerful inspiration for drama. Our Honorary Scholar Robyn Ewing has spent a lifetime articulating the power of high quality literature in the lives of children, and this philosophy is exemplified here on every page in word and image.

High quality literature is always full of great questions. Curly questions that drape themselves around your brain and won’t be shooed away, pointy questions that prickle and provoke and revealing questions that look at you with big unblinking eyes asking for honesty and self reflection.

What if I had to make my way with thousands of others to an unfamiliar place?

We are so excited to get Term 1 of the Gecko Ensembles underway with the theme of The Tourists. We are a little theatre company in Perth but we are also connected to the wider world. And we are committed to giving children the most meaningful experience of art that we possibly can.

Young people aged 5 – 17 are invited to join a Gecko Ensemble and come with us on a tour through our planet in all its mystery, complexity and wonder.

Want to enrol your child in a Gecko Ensemble? There’s a group for everyone aged 5 – 17, enrolment is easy just START HERE