News

Force Majeure Defunded by Australia Council

Posted at Friday, May 13, 2016

Unstoppable Force In Australia’s Arts Landscape
Force Majeure Defunded by Newly Shrunk Australia Council

“Is this really contemporary dance? Is it really theatre?
Does it matter? It’s Force Majeure and it’s brilliant”

– Stage Noise

Australia’s leading dance theatre company, Force Majeure, has had its federal funding completely cut in the latest round of Australia Council for the Arts’ four year funding for organisations.

This announcement comes at the height of the company’s productivity since its inception 14 years ago, and after the recent increase of support by Arts NSW for the company’s renewed triennial funding, delivering Force Majeure the highest grant in its art form. Dedicated to the creation of new, devised work that reflects on contemporary Australian life, the organisation has continually delivered extraordinary returns on investment. Senior arts leader Michael Lynch CBE AM says “This is an outrageous decision to defund Force Majeure. The Australia Council is in an invidious situation that lies directly at the Government’s door. Malcolm Turnbull has seriously let down the arts community. I am incredibly disappointed.”

News of this complete funding cut comes as the company moves into its busiest period. Never Did Me Any Harm, its co-production with Sydney Theatre Company, will embark on a national tour to 10 regional venues across four states; Jump First, Ask Later will tour to Arts Centre Melbourne and Sydney Opera House; and Off The Record will have its world premiere at Carriageworks in August, where Force Majeure is a resident company. Carriageworks’ Director Lisa Havilah says: “Force Majeure consistently makes extraordinary Australian dance theatre.”

Force Majeure is just one of many small-to-medium companies that have been defunded by the newly shrunk Australia Council. These companies are the life-blood of the country’s cultural sector. Sydney Festival Artistic Director Wesley Enoch says: “The decision not to fund Force Majeure is a blow for the company and also Festivals like ours. These cuts run the risk of restricting the national flow of high quality, adventurous and future-focussed work in the arts ecology.”

Funding cuts to companies like KAGE and Legs On The Wall also means that the future of the dance theatre artform in Australia is in jeopardy. In 2015, 63 artists were employed by Force Majeure for a total of 191 weeks, an incredible feat for a company of its size. Without companies like Force Majeure, reliable employment for Australia’s leading artists will disappear.

“By any criteria, Force Majeure has been an incredibly successful company. We have been in constant demand from audiences and presenters across Australia and the world for our unique capacity to reflect on our humanity in ways that are both profound and accessible. The Artists, Management and Board of Force Majeure have spent 14 years building an artistically ambitious yet fiscally responsible institution. It is devastating that overnight this has all been put at risk as a result of incoherent policies from a Government that seemingly neither understands nor cares about our sector”, said Chair of the Board of Directors, Jo Dyer.

Force Majeure has collaborated with some of Australia’s leading artists and organisations including Sydney Festival, Australian Theatre for Young People, Sydney Theatre Company, Belvoir, Performance Space and Accessible Arts. The company has also continued its commitment to nurturing and championing the next generation of dance theatre makers and leaders in the country including independent artists Byron Perry, Kristina Chan, Timothy Ohl and Ghenoa Gela, recent recipient of the 2016 Keir Choreographic Award. Since its inception the company has supported the development of more than 350 Australian artists. Australian Director Neil Armfield AO says “Force Majeure is one of Australia’s crucial laboratory companies – the health of our creative ecology depends on the work done there. It seeds our future.”

In 2015 alone Force Majeure world premiered two new Australian works — the sell-out Nothing to Lose at Carriageworks for Sydney Festival and Malthouse Theatre for Dance Massive; and Jump First, Ask Later, a co-production with Powerhouse Youth Theatre in Western Sydney. In 2016, the company has two new works in development including Off The Record, a collaboration with Carriageworks and Dance Integrated Australia that sees artists with and without disability working to create a unique, fully accessible dance theatre production as part of the Carriageworks New Normal Disability Program.

- ENDS -

For further enquiries, images and interview requests please contact:
Colm O’Callaghan, Executive Producer
E: colm@forcemajeure.com.au
P: +61 2 8571 9086
M: +61 431 742 560


Force Majeure appoints new Executive Producer

Posted at Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Force Majeure appoints new Executive Producer

The Board of Force Majeure is pleased to announce the appointment of Colm O’Callaghan as Executive Producer.

Jo Dyer, Chair said, "We are very pleased to have Colm join the Force Majeure family. He comes to us at a very exciting time as we forge ahead with the next stage of the Company’s growth under Artistic Director Danielle Micich. Danielle and Colm will make an impressive team.”

O’Callaghan has most recently been Company Manager at Sydney Theatre Company and brings to the role a wealth of experience both here in Australia and overseas.

Prior to Sydney Theatre Company, O’Callaghan has had various management and production roles with Druid Theatre Company, Landmark Productions and as a freelance producer in Ireland.

Artistic Director and CEO Danielle Micich said, “I am thrilled to welcome Colm into the company. He brings a passion for mixed discipline in contemporary theatre and his background strongly suits the growing direction of Force Majeure.”

O’Callaghan said, “I am very excited to build on the achievements of previous Executive Producer, Bec Allen. Force Majeure has a world-class reputation, and I look forward to working with Danielle as we champion Australian dance theatre here and overseas.”


UNTITLED: in 24 Frames Per Second

Posted at Monday, June 22, 2015

UNTITLED: in 24 Frames Per Second

We are thrilled to be producing Byron Perry and Antony Hamilton’s work UNTITLED alongside a suite of diverse and exciting new works in Carriageworks’ 24 Frames Per Second – a major exhibition of 24 commissioned screen-based works by 18 Australian and six international artists.

UNTITLED appropriates the absurd, spontaneous facial choreography videos that Byron Perry and Antony Hamilton have been filming on their mobile phone cameras and sending each other over the past decade. Filming the responses of viewers to these low-fi exchanges, Perry and Hamilton present the resulting footage as a dual-channel projection. Keyboards positioned in front of each projection effectively hand the editing process over to the audience. As they play the keyboard, each tone influences the part of the footage from which the playback begins, crafting rhythmic, hyper-edited facial choreography with its own musical score. The installation is an attempt to place the participants in a situation where they can be swept up in the ridiculousness and sublime joy of unbridled creativity.
24 Frames Per Second is on now at Carriageworks 10am – 6pm daily until 2 August

UNTITLED
BYRON PERRY b. 1974 Noosa Heads, QLD, lives and works in Melbourne
ANTONY HAMILTON b. 1978 Sydney, lives and works in Melbourne

INTERVIEWEES Antony Balmain, Simon Obarzanek
PRODUCER Bec Allen (Force Majeure)
VIDEOGRAPHER James Wright
SOFTWARE DEVELOPMENT Alisdair Macindoe
PRODUCTION MANAGER Nick Roux With thanks to Force Majeure.


Be a Force Majeure Champion

Posted at Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Be a Force Majeure Champion

As the 2016 financial year draws to a close, we’ve been reflecting on one of the busiest and most successful periods in Force Majeure’s history. With the generous support of passionate arts lovers like you, we employed 80 artists over eight projects across Australia, championing dance theatre artform development.

My first work as Artistic Director of Force Majeure, Off The Record, was commissioned by and presented at Carriageworks. We toured two productions: Never Did Me Any Harm (co-produced with Sydney Theatre Company) and Jump First, Ask Later (co-produced with Powerhouse Youth Theatre). Our new work, You Animal, You, was presented at Sydney Festival 2017 as a development showing. Alongside our own work, Force Majeure supported new work by independent artists, including premiering A Faint Existence by Kristina Chan at Performance Space’s Liveworks Festival.

Looking ahead in 2017, we continue to develop our Australian-Singapore collaboration, The Chan Project, which explores contemporary Asian-Australian female and cultural identity and asks the question: ‘what if there was another you out there?’.

We launch INCITE in November 2017, our new artist training program, offering practitioners the opportunity to grow their ability as makers. We continue an exciting youth partnership with Griffith Regional Theatre, Strong Girls, led by Company Artist, Ghenoa Gela, who is working with a group of young indigenous women.

At Force Majeure, we deliver a remarkable amount with remarkably little, and we are particularly proud of Force Majeure’s achievements in what has been a challenging funding environment.

We ask for your help to deliver another dynamic and ambitious program over the coming year. Your tax-deductible donations are critical to our success at the forefront of dance theatre in Australia.

If you would like to donate to the on-going development of the company, simply click here and follow the prompts.

We look forward to hearing from you, and seeing you at the theatre or in the studio throughout the year.

Danielle Micich,

Artistic Director / CEO

Image by Zan Wimberley


Not Who I Was

Posted at Monday, May 18, 2015

Not Who I Was

‘I want to be someone like somebody else was once’ – Peter Handke

Not Who I Was is a self-devised piece by Kate Champion featuring NIDA final year students.

Created in collaboration with the performers, it explores the ways that consciousness and self-identity are shaped by society and accepted conventions. NIDA are offering Force Majeure subscribers a special ticket price of $18 for Not Who I Was (normally $28). To access this offer simply quote promo code FORCE15 when booking online, tickets go on sale 25 May.

The season runs 16 – 24 June at the NIDA Theatres.


Nothing to Lose on 7.30

Posted at Wednesday, January 07, 2015

Nothing to Lose on 7.30

We were thrilled to welcome 7.30 Reports Monique Schafter into the Nothing to Lose rehearsal room for a behind the scenes look at this groundbreaking work. The report features interviews with Director Kate Champion, Artistic Associate Kelli Jean Drinkwater and performer Ally Garrett.

You can watch the feature online here.


Incoming Artistic Director Announced

Posted at Thursday, December 11, 2014

Jo Dyer, Chair of the Board of Force Majeure today announced the appointment of Danielle Micich as the incoming Artistic Director/CEO for the company, replacing founding Director Kate Champion.

Jo Dyer, Chair:

“The Board of Directors is delighted that Danielle has accepted the role of Artistic Director of Force Majeure. Danielle’s body of work demonstrates an immensely talented and rigorous artist who has thought passionately and deeply about dance theatre and the role it occupies in the Australian and international arts landscape. We can think of no-one better to build on the wonderful legacy being left by Kate Champion.

We believe that under Danielle’s leadership, Force Majeure will continue to flourish in the unique space Kate has carved out for us, a genuine cross-artform blend of theatre and dance, dedicated to exploring ideas and ourselves."

Danielle is currently a core artist with Performing Lines WA and recently premiered her new work Overexposed at the State Theatre Centre of WA. She is a graduate of the Victorian College of the Arts and was Artistic Director of STEPS Youth Dance Company in Perth for four years. Her choreography for Barking Gecko’s Driving Into Walls was nominated for a 2012 Helpmann Award.

Danielle Micich, incoming Artistic Director/CEO:

“Watching Force Majeure over many years define its unique place in Australian theatre drew me towards making dance theatre myself. If anyone told me that the last ten years was preparation for something much bigger, I should have listened earlier. The many people and companies I have worked with along the way have shaped the artist I am today.

Working with Kate Champion was a defining moment. I knew then I would pursue my practice in dance theatre. It’s a great honour to follow on from one of Australia’s finest Artistic Directors and continue her legacy.

Seeing the bigger picture is one thing, but knowing how to contribute and lead is another. I am very excited about my role in the future of Force Majeure."

Danielle will join Executive Producer Bec Allen, the staff, Board and artists of Force Majeure in the position of Artistic Director/CEO in mid-2015.

Jo Dyer, Chair:

“Kate had no involvement in the recruitment of her successor, so the Board was thrilled – and not a little relieved – that upon being advised of our choice for the role and Danielle’s subsequent acceptance of the job, Kate has thoroughly endorsed Danielle’s appointment.”

Out-going Artistic Director/CEO Kate Champion:

“After thirteen years building Force Majeure’s reputation as a dance theatre company that is artistically adventurous and thematically contemporary, I am delighted with the Board’s decision to appoint Danielle Micich as the new Artistic Director.

Danielle is at a point in her career where her talent, passion and enthusiasm for the art form fits perfectly with the company’s creative legacy and vision for the future.

This represents an exciting new stage in Force Majeure’s direction and one I wholeheartedly support."

Force Majeure is currently in rehearsal for Kate’s final work with the company Nothing to Lose – commissioned by Sydney Festival and Carriageworks. It will premiere in January 2015 at the Sydney Festival and in March 2015 at Malthouse Theatre for the Dance Massive Festival.


Kate Champion Announces Resignation

Posted at Thursday, August 28, 2014

Kate Champion Announces Resignation

Kate Champion, Artistic Director and CEO of Force Majeure today announced her resignation from the company she founded in 2002.

“After 12 years at the helm of Force Majeure I will be resigning as Artistic Director at the completion of my pre-existing duties in 2015.”

“Force Majeure, the company I established together with my colleagues Roz Hervey and Geoff Cobham, has been the most important and meaningful manifestation of my career as a choreographer and director so far. The experiences I’ve had, working with the collaborating artists, producers, staff and crew, are amongst my most cherished and we’ve achieved a great deal since the premiere of our first major work – Same, same But Different in 2002.”

“Inching our way from life as a project based concern through to annual funding, then as an ‘emerging Key Organisation’ to finally becoming a Key Organisation in 2012.”

“I’m satisfied that I have fulfilled all I had hoped and dreamt of for the company during my tenure as founding director and I now wish to take the opportunity to explore new creative possibilities outside the framework of a company structure.”

“I look forward to seeing the company continue to flourish as a vehicle for original, new artistic vision.”

Prior to founding Force Majeure, Kate Champion had worked as a Director, Choreographer, Dancer, Teacher and rehearsal director for various companies including Australian Dance Theatre, Belvoir, Legs on the Wall, Dance North, English National Opera and the UK’s DV8 Physical Theatre. She had also created, performed and toured two critically acclaimed solo shows – Face Value and About Face.

As Artistic Director of Force Majeure, Kate has directed Same, same But Different, Tenebrae – Part 1 and 2, Already Elsewhere, the film series The Sense Of It, The Age I’m In, Not in a Million Years and Never Did Me Any Harm. In 2012, Kate co-directed Force Majeure and Belvoir’s co-production Food with Steve Rodgers.
Force Majeure Chair Jo Dyer stated;

“It will be a wrench for Force Majeure to say goodbye to our founding Artistic Director Kate Champion. Kate’s leadership of this company has seen it mature into one with a strong national presence and growing international reputation.”

“As an artist of great talent, curiosity and intellect, Kate’s creative contribution to Force Majeure has been immense, both as a creator of original works and a mentor of emerging talent. Over the past twelve years, Kate has created dynamic works of wit and profundity that have delighted and provoked audiences around Australia and the world. Her own artistic endeavours have been matched by her commitment to nurturing the work and artistic development of independent artists, both through the investment of her time and expertise and by sharing financial resources from Force Majeure’s hard-won funding.”

“As much as we will feel Kate’s departure, the Board of Force Majeure is also excited about welcoming a new artistic vision into the company. We look forward to going through a searching international recruitment process in the coming months to find the culture leader who can build on Kate’s legacy and join Executive Producer Bec Allen to take us into the next stage of our development as one of Australia’s leading dance theatre companies.”

Media Enquiries
For media enquiries and interview requests please contact:
Bec Allen, Executive Producer
E: bec@forcemajeure.com.au
P: +61 2 8571 9084
M: +61 402 136 650