It is the second year that the $5000 grants have been awarded, with fund chair Sam Haren saying the eight “daring and risky projects” chosen as recipients all embraced the experimentation at the heart of the Fringe.
South Australian Youth Theatre Arts Company’s Beautiful Words, written and directed by Sean Riley, is described as a heart-rending portrayal of the experience of refugees and was inspired partly by the 2001 sinking of a boat carrying asylum seekers in which 353 lives were lost.
SAYarts creative producer Bec Pannell says it is particularly topical given current debates about treatment of asylum seekers and children in detention centres.
“The overarching theme is that we all want to belong somewhere and when the ground is shaken beneath us, it’s amazing what we’ll do [to survive].”
SAYarts was formed following the closure last year of youth-theatre company Urban Myth, and Beautiful Words will be performed by a cast of 27 young actors aged from 10 to 27.
It weaves together three different stories, taking the audience from a concentration camp at the end of World War II, to Taliban-ruled Kabul in Afghanistan, and finally to present-day Australia, where an Afghani refugee boy named Ari washes up on a remote beach.
Pannell says the play explores themes of alienation and “otherness”, friendship and belonging.
Beautiful Words will be accompanied by an exhibition of artwork and poetry created by teenage recent arrivals in South Australia from places such as Iran, the Congo, Afghanistan and Nigeria. Is is being curated by Afghani refugee, poet and artist Elyas Alavi.
Adelaide-based Sacred Resonance has also received a $5000 grant towards its 2016 Fringe project – an interactive colour, light and sound show in the Adina Treasury Tunnels. Named Agartha, it will be presented over multiple spaces and include digital projections, soundscapes and live performance.
Other Cultural Fund grant recipients include the littlerundlestreetartproject, a group of artists who plan to create an “arts corridor” linking the CBD with the eastern suburbs; Pulpshow, a look at the 1970s “Ozploitation” film genre; and Post-Dining Experiments, a 10-course dining experience which plays on participants’ sensual perception.