Politics of Change is a multi-media presentation on the work of Australian performance artist Mike Mullins. Mullins was a radical artist who pushed the boundaries of how we thought about theatre and performance in Australia in the 1970’s and 80’s. He was also a controversial figure who challenged the Australian theatre establishment and fought against what he considered to be 'colonial thinking' at that time.
The presentation contains a chapter on the 1984 ‘Ceiling Funding Debate’ which became national news and divided the performing arts community across Australia.
The multi-media presentation is based on the extensive archives of the artist. It presents, for the first time, historical documents that have never been discussed in public until now. Mike’s journey as an artist starts in 1973 with the opening of the Sydney Opera House and his meetings with Jerzy Grotowski and finishes with the early years of the Performance Space, which he founded in 1983. It is a highly original presentation about historically significant events that laid the foundation for contemporary performance practice today.
Snapshot - Mike Mullins's background in performance as a practising artist:
1973 Trainee director, Old Tote Theatre, Sydney
1974-75 Teatr Laboratorium of Grotowski, 12-month residency, Wrocław, Poland, La Mama, New York City, 3-month residency
1976 Shadowline, large scale performance, St Marks Church Hall, Fitzroy, Melbourne & Village Church Hall, Paddington, Sydney
1978 Montage, an exhibition of living sculptures, Pilgrim Theatre, Sydney
1979 The No-One Performances, series of solo pieces performed in the streets of Sydney and in Exiles Bookshop windows, Darlinghurst, Sydney Shadowline II, large scale performance, Pilgrim Theatre & Seymour Centre, Sydney Kitsch or But Please Be Careful, DADA Cabaret piece, various cabaret venues & Nimrod Theatre, Sydney; New York City & St Martin's Theatre, Melbourne
1980 New Blood, a large-scale performative installation, Cleveland Street Performance Space, Sydney
Agent Orange, solo performance, Act 2, Canberra
1980-1985 Founding director of The Performance Space, Sydney
Today Mike Mullins is an accomplished creative director and executive producer. He has performed strategic roles in major international events such as Expo 88 (Brisbane), Expo 92 (Spain), Expo 96 (Hungary) and the Sydney 2000 Olympics. As a creative director and producer of design projects, entertainment programs, cultural projects and special events, he has achieved professional recognition at an international, national and local level. As the founding director of The Performance Space in Sydney, he established Australia's first national institution dedicated to the encouragement and promotion of innovation in the performing arts.
"Certainly, the Mullins presentation reveals with clarity and poignancy, something of what it means to pursue the fraught and insecure journey of the professional artist and creative visionary; it is a solitary vocation, more likely than most to suffer unrewarding critical oppositions, derision and penury. This archetypal journey of artists is suited only to warriors and believers, if not inspired madmen."
Ross Wolfe Former director of Samstag Program, University of South Australia
"Mr Mullins has documented an important era in Sydney's cultural life, and given analytical substance to his role in that era. Beyond the Master of Fine Arts degree, the DVD deserves to have a wider audience, through television and online access. It would be especially attractive as a teaching tool in visual and performing arts courses."
Professor Andrea Hull, former Director of the VCA
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