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WAAPA students gain momentum with New York director

Monday, 07 August 2017

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Thanks to the continued generosity of the Minderoo Foundation, WAAPA is able to bring some of the world's leading performing arts practitioners to Edith Cowan University to enrich the education of its students.

One of WAAPA’s current visiting artists is actor/writer/director Andy Paris, a founding member of New York’s Tectonic Theatre Project.

Since 1991, Paris’s work with Tectonic has created some of the most thrilling and important American theatre of our age, based on a unique methodology for developing, analysing and re-imagining theatre called Moment WorkTM. Moment Work has been used to create all of Tectonic’s pieces including The Laramie Project, a confronting and controversial play that has been translated into dozens of languages around the world as a powerful tool in combating homophobia.

This is Paris’ second visit to WAAPA, following a two-week residency with WAAPA’s Acting students last year. Now Paris is back in Perth to put the finishing directorial touches on Momentum before its world premiere in August.

Momentum will be performed by WAAPA’s 2nd Year Acting students in WAAPA’s Enright Theatre from Friday, 25 through to Thursday, 31 August at 7.30pm, with a matinee on Saturday, 26 August at 2.00pm. On Tuesday, 29 August there will be a post-show discussion, allowing the audience members to discover more about the process involved in creating the piece.

“The themes, text and narratives in the show are student-generated, culled from their own lives and their imaginations,” says Paris. “The themes we centred around mostly were those of identity and loss.”

“So the piece is a deep dive into what is important to the students: their needs, their history and how it feeds their desires. Momentum weaves these narratives together, and the result is a group of young men and women telling their collective story, a story of passion, of familial and racial conflict, of longing, of loss, of love.”

Paris describes how Moment Work’s inherently interdisciplinary process encourages participants to collaborate to combine the different theatrical elements into a compelling piece of theatrical storytelling. “So while the students have utilised their talents in acting, they have also been lighting, sound and set designers,” he explains.

“I hope the audience leaves with the sense they have born witness to something truthful and meaningful. And if we do our jobs well, perhaps conversations might be sparked and the community more unified.”

While Paris is in Perth, Minderoo and WAAPA have facilitated a professional development workshop for members of The Blue Room Theatre and The Last Great Hunt, extending the opportunity to work with one of America’s most exciting contemporary theatre makers to WA’s professional theatre makers.

WAAPA is extremely grateful to the Minderoo Foundation for its generosity in making this opportunity available to both its students and the wider Perth theatre community.

For all venue and performance details, please visit the Momentum performance web page.

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