In the lead up to TNN’s Beyond The Limits and Artlands Dubbo 2016, TNN has asked its presenters and panellists a few questions on their own theatre making and careers.

Here is Sarah Parsons, Creative Producer Outback Theatre for Young People

Sarah Parsons OTYP

Why do you work in regional performance?

I wouldn’t work anywhere else! Growing up regionally gave me such an appreciation for the landscape, people, opportunities and sunsets out here, that I think I’ve been heading towards regional art my entire career. Sometimes that was subconscious, and I did spend some time earning my stripes in the city, but regional is where I belong. I work here because of the unique storytelling voice only found outside the cities, the people I work with are generous, spirited, funny and kind, the lifestyle is relaxing and filled with nature, and I am proud of being able to facilitate opportunities for young artists living regionally.

Do you think a distinction should be made between performance made in regional areas and performance made in metro/urban areas?

I think there should be an acknowledgement of the environment the work was created in, yes. It adds a depth of understanding and perspective to what an audience is seeing. I’d like to see works that champion where they come from, and I think environment has a huge impact on the stories we share and how we share them. That said, a distinction doesn’t need to be made with regards to the quality of the work. Both regional areas and city/metro areas (and the artists that live there) have unique voices and experiences, and ways of presenting and facilitating work, and that is something that is wonderful and should be celebrated.

What would be the main advice you would give an emerging regional performance maker?

Explore every opportunity you can in your region. If the opportunity doesn’t exist yet, create it! I spent many years touring around the countryside in a company I co-founded, because I wanted to challenge myself and learn while doing. Leap, and the net will appear.

What can contemporary regional performance share with, or provide to, or national and international theatre industry?

There is a unique, genuine, earnest, practical and intelligent voice found in regional areas in our country, one that is connected to the land, cheeky and curious, resilient and proud. Performances developed from regional, remote or rural areas enable this voice to be shared widely.

Beyond the Limits – regional theatre in the national landscape is TNN’s major event for 2016.

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