Presenter Profile

ActNow Theatre

About

ActNow is a South Australian theatre company that tailors socially conscious performance projects. We work with professional artists to engage diverse communities in conversations around challenging, contemporary issues.

Our work is innovative, informed, inspiring, and often confronting but never conventional. Our projects have been critically acclaimed, commended in South Australian Parliament, and highly praised by audiences, participants and community organisations.

Vision Statement
Theatre is a conduit for public discourse and a catalyst for social change.

Mission Statement
ActNow Theatre creates collaborative and socially conscious performance projects. We work in partnerships to engage diverse communities in conversations around challenging, contemporary issues.

Artistic Philosophy and Practice
“The voice of ActNow is the voice of our audience”
Edwin Kemp Attrill, Artistic Director

ActNow creates participatory theatre, not just to engage our audience but also to empower them to be agents of social change within a project and in their own lives. We don’t want our audience to sit quietly in the dark. We want them active as contributors and commentators. Our work finds new ways to engage with our audiences, through technology and a deep relationship between artists and audiences.The simple act of storytelling can engage audiences and create positive social change. As such, our aesthetic is typically paired back and raw, using everyday environments and technologies to create life changing experiences.

Company History

ActNow Theatre was founded in 2007 by Edwin Kemp Attrill, the company’s current Artistic Director. He and two high school friends wanted to create a street theatre performance about (then) Guantanamo Bay detainee David Hicks. Driven by an ambition to explore issues around injustice and oppression through theatre, Edwin formed the original ActNow ensemble with members of Urban Myth Theatre Company (where he was a member of the senior ensemble) and Amnesty International. This ActNow ensemble presented highly visual performances in public spaces, with a guerrilla approach to its unscheduled appearances and the agitprop content of the work.

In 2009 ActNow broadened its vision and began to create works for the stage, presenting a number of plays by established and emerging writers. At this time, ActNow also began to devise and present interactive, issues-based productions which have become the hallmark of its output.

Heavily informed by the work of Brazilian theatre director Augusto Boal (see Artistic Philosophy and Practice), the first of these issue-based productions was Expect Respect, a project designed to provide legal information about rape and sexual assault for young people. Developed in partnership with the Legal Services Commission of South Australia, Expect Respect also heralded a new model for ActNow’s activity.

Since then ActNow has committed to targeting specific need by collaborating with non-arts organisations to create artistically engaging work which illuminates current issues, outside the confines of conventional theatre forms and modes of presentation.

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