Beginners’ Call Podcast

Beginners’ Call Podcast

Beginners’ Call takes you backstage and behind-the-scenes of Brisbane Festival, Queensland’s largest and much-loved celebration of arts and culture.

Meet the makers and hear from the artists; discover and critique new work; slip into the rehearsal room and stand in the wings as we give audiences unprecedented access to Queensland’s most anticipated event of the year.

Quiet on set, the show’s about to start…

#Episode 1 Louise Bezzina

Brisbane Festival Artistic Director

In this episode, Louise reveals how she draws on instinct, local knowledge, community and connection to program a Festival of and for its time and place. Exploring her formative tenure as Founder and Artistic Director of Bleach – The Gold Coast Festival, Louise explains the origins of her fascination with developing site-specific work and commissioning performances in non-traditional venues.

That’s the great gift of a Festival: to push ourselves, to push artists, to push companies to make work that they couldn’t make at any other time of the year.

You don’t want to be a cookie-cutter version of every other Festival or arts program. You need to find a way to give it a personality that feels distinctly of this place.

#Episode 2 Virginia Antonipillai

Mammalian Diving Reflex Creative Producer, Nightwalks with Teenagers

In this episode, Virginia explains why no two productions are never the same, how some nights the cast will play a game of basketball with the audience and other nights, they’ll tell a spooky ghost story. She reveals how the young stars of Nightwalks with Teenagers are not professional actors and how the experience seeks to bridge gaps between teenagers and adults by positioning teenagers in a place of influence.

It can start off very awkward, maybe a little bit uncomfortable but at the end of it you get this really beautiful experience.

We need these sorts of activities to reinvigorate the community and get youth involved and really listen to them because they often have great ideas and are left out of big decisions; we need to involve them in life.

#Episode 3 Alethea Beetson & Loki Liddle

Writer & Director/ Sound & Music Artist, Queen's City

In this episode, Alethea is joined by Queen’s City artist Loki Liddle to discuss the cultural and creative process of bringing the Queen’s City-verse to life, from engaging cultural dramaturgs to pondering what a “Black Bruce Springsteen” would sound like. While borne of this city, they explain how Brisbane, or Meanjin, served as a creative muse for the work, rather than its definitive source material. They also reveal the joy and enthusiasm that went into creating an original soundtrack of ‘80s-inspired rock, pop, glam and party songs.

Being able to tell First Nations stories through the modality of the ‘80s is really cool. Queen’s City is insanely fun!

#Episode 4 David Morton

Writer & Director of Holding Achilles

In this episode, Holding Achilles writer and director David Morton discusses modern storytellers' tendency to glorify the blood and violence in Homer's The Iliad, the oft-ignored human cost of major conflict, and his decision to never explicitly define the relationship between Achilles and Patroclus.

This is not another queer tragedy. It's a tragedy with queer characters.

#Episode 5 Anna Yen

Writer of Slow Boat

In this episode, Anna retraces the serendipitous chain of events that allowed her to piece together her family’s fascinating history, reflects on the power of brotherhood, and contemplates what her arts-loving father would have thought of this remarkable new Australian work.

This show is actually Australian history that we don’t really know. Even though this story has a particular setting – WWII, Chinese Heritage Men, Australia – it’s actually a universal story about, when times are really, really tough, how do we treat each other?

Ten years ago, I read in a book that 580 Chinese indentured labourers had been evacuated from Nauru during World War Two by the allies to Brisbane... They landed on 8 March 1942.

#Episode 6 Andrea James

Writer & Director of Sunshine Super Girl

In this episode, Andrea reveals a shared ancestral link with the seven-time grand slam winner, why it was critical to receive Evonne’s blessing in the making of this landmark play, and the challenge of recreating global tennis tournaments for the stage.

I remember very strongly as a young Aboriginal girl growing up in regional Victoria the sight of this Aboriginal woman on the screen… I had never seen that before.

I could not put the book down… I just thought, ‘Why hasn’t this story been told in this way before?"

#Episode 7 Kyle Page

Dancenorth Australia Artistic Director, Wayfinder

In this episode, Dancenorth Artistic Director Kyle Page dissects how the physicality and technical prowess of the company’s dancers are pushed to the limit. He reveals the inspiration behind Wayfinder’s innovative inflatable stage and how it creates a platform where fear is minimised and the dancers can lean into their senses of adventure, virtuosity and potentiality.

We wanted to remind people of the beautiful aspects of the body. When we stop thinking and we start feeling, truly wonderful things occur.

Every individual set of hands that touches and connects with that wool, they’re weaving their own stories, their weaving their own hearts into the project, into the work.

#Episode 8 Ella Ganza & Joshua Taliani

Director & Director of Choreography, The House

In this episode, House of Alexander “mother and father” Ella Ganza and Joshua Taliani share their motivation for founding the House in 2019 to create a family for Meanjin’s queer BIPOC community. They draw parallels between ballroom’s underground roots in Harlem, New York and the new culture the movement is creating locally; the sense of responsibility they feel to empower and nurture their young, queer BIPOC “children”; and how ballroom is bringing greater visibility to “the minority of the minorities”.

Ballroom was that one space where we could help young trans women gain confidence to even just walk out the door, something as simple as that.

We are talking as loud as possible and walking as proud as possible because there are communities that heavily rely on us.

#Episode 9 Neridah Waters, Amanda Dell and Bryony Walters

Co-Founder and Dancers of Common People Dance Eisteddfod

In this episode, Common People Dance Project co-founder, choreographer and theatre maker Neridah Waters is joined by dance devotees and sequinned warriors, Amanda Dell and Bryony Walters. They speak with humour and heart about the power of the dance project to boost body confidence, self-expression and personal empowerment and how making a conscious decision to be brave and try something new can prove life-changing.

There’s something really transcendent about dancing so badly that you break through that shell of having to take yourself seriously and you can just exist in your body in this really beautiful, joyful way.

I have seen people’s attitudes to their bodies change, I have seen what they wear in everyday life change because they are just proud of themselves and they are like, ‘look at me, I’m amazing’.

#Episode 10 Paul Taylor

Brisbane Festival Giving Committee

In this podcast, Paul discusses Australia’s unique culture of philanthropy, his personal ‘why’ for giving, and the reasons that Brisbane Festival is a sure-fire bet for an investor. Paul Taylor is the Head of Investments at global funds manager Fidelity International and a member of Brisbane Festival’s Giving Committee. His family’s patronage and passion for the arts runs deep, and they are motivated to support local artists to produce new works and assist Brisbane Festival to deliver significant works developed elsewhere – giving the people of Brisbane the opportunity to experience artistic works they may not see otherwise.

Beginners’ Call records on Turrbal and Yugerra country in Meanjin, Brisbane. Brisbane Festival recognises the integral role Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples play in our creative, artistic and celebration spaces and pays respect to Elders past, present and emerging.

Podcast Curator: Louise Bezzina  
Podcast Host: Adam Brunes  
Podcast Producer: Gilberto Castillo (The Podcast Boss)

Brisbane Festival expresses deep respect to and acknowledges the First People of this Country.