Bunbury Regional Entertainment Centre is thrilled to announce THE SMALLEST STAGE, written by Kim Crotty, Produced by BREC and Co-commissioned by Perth Festival, won the coveted award category of BEST MAINSTAGE PRODUCTION at this year’s Performing Arts WA Awards (PAWA Awards) held at the Heath Ledger Theatre in Perth.
Hosted each year by Artist Relief Fund WA, The Performing Arts WA Awards Ceremony celebrates professional live performance in Western Australia, with awards covering theatre, dance, musicals, opera and cabaret.
Born out of the 2019 BREC Artist Retreat at Donnelly River Village, THE SMALLEST STAGE was nominated in five award categories, taking out the top prize for theatre with the BEST MAINSTAGE PRODUCTION Award an unexpected but very welcome surprise for the team behind it.
“What an astonishing achievement for Kim Crotty and BREC. The show was nominated for multiple awards, a major win in itself for a regionally produced play. But never for one moment did I expect to win in the Best Mainstage Production category – that usually goes to our State Theatre Company or the likes of Barking Gecko Theatre!” said THE SMALLEST STAGE Producer and BREC Executive Director, Fiona de Garis.
“We have been running the BREC Artist Retreat biennially since that first one in 2019. Using a residency model borrowed from Tasmania, it offers South West artists a turbocharged opportunity to kick-start new projects. The runaway success of THE SMALLEST STAGE, evidenced by receiving this major Award, demonstrates both the depth of talent in the region and the demand of audiences for quality locally-made performances.”
“There are many barriers for regional artists to overcome in building and maintaining sustainable professional careers. One third of practicing Australian artists earn an income below the poverty line, limiting the art that gets made and reaches our local and national stages. At BREC we are committed to shifting that paradigm through a range of creative capacity building opportunities; with the BREC Artist Retreat central to our efforts.”
“THE SMALLEST STAGE represents the culmination of immense effort by BREC, Kim Crotty and the entire creative team assembled to make this show. The production was only made possible with the support of State and Federal arts funding and our wonderful partnership with Perth Festival. To then be recognised at this level with a PAWA Award is extremely rewarding for everyone involved. It acknowledges in the brilliance of the team and the layers of process and support required in bringing a work of this calibre to the stage. It’s the best possible proof that the system works and it’s important that it happens here in the South West.”
THE SMALLEST STAGE had its world premiere in The Cube at BREC in February 2022 and immediately afterwards transferred to the State Theatre Centre of WA for a week of performances presented by Perth Festival. Later that year, it was selected to pitch to venues around the country for national touring opportunities at the Australian Performing Arts Exchange in Sydney.
Acknowledged as experimental for its audience engagement, members of the audience who purchased an interactive ticket were able to step into Kim Crotty’s shoes and find themselves, and their child, centre stage. The parent and child pairs wore headphones and received audio-guided instructions from Director Matt Edgerton whilst on stage throughout the show, providing a truly unique theatre experience for them to share and for the audience.
BREC sends all the 2023 PAWA Award winners heartfelt congratulations and thanks the endless number of artists and people behind the scenes and stage that made this production so successful.
Following this year’s BREC Artist Retreat, held in September, there are more exciting artists and projects emerging and we look forward to sharing more information on these soon.