Arts House set for a “colourful” return in 2022

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Kaylah Joelle Baker

After a tumultuous couple of years full of uncertainty, the Arts House is proud to announce its 2022 season one shows.

Confident that now is the time for performing arts to shine once again, Arts House artistic director Emily Sexton is looking forward to the shows with certainty in announcing a full program of shows between February and May 2022.

“It is an absolutely wonderful feeling to be back. I think we are all grateful to the Victorian community for getting out and getting vaccinated and making these events possible,” she said.

Reopening to the public with a fully sold-out season, the first couple of weeks in December has given the Arts House a glimpse of what is to come in the new year.

And Ms Sexton is in awe of artists’ “grit and determination” in such times.

“It’s really interesting to see just how powerful and urgent the work is that the artists are creating,” she said.

“It really matters and feels quite profound to be able to get together and do what you love. It is a very special time”.

YES by THE RABBLE is one of the productions that has battled the continuous tiring dilemma of being rescheduled due to lockdowns and restrictions.

Known for provocative performances, YES will explore complex dynamics of power, consent, truth and knowledge. Confronting unexpected moments in life through highlighting that there is not always one solution for every situation.

Partnering with their neighbours, the Arts House will also host leading Australian dance company Lucy Guerin Inc with their “evocative and poignant” dance and scripted word piece, Flux Job.

Among the shows affected by COVID and announced to be joining them in the first season are Make Your Life Count by Sarah Aiken and Collaborators, We Take Back Our Mother Tongues by FAMILI and Hercules by the Daniel Schlusser Ensemble.

“Everyone has shown remarkable resilience in adapting to the different kinds of conditions we have been working under. But [digital] has unfortunately not been the same as being in person,” Ms Sexton said.

Although celebrating the moments of live performances that digital cannot compare to, the Arts House will be continuing with its Makeshift Publics digital program in 2022, showcasing conversations with Melbourne’s most critical artists and cultural leaders throughout season one.

“It has been so rewarding to work online and to be able to have conversations across the country and internationally. We have all seen the potential that digital practices can offer, and we want to keep going and supporting artists in exploring that,” Ms Sexton said.

“There are now a lot of different ways we can connect, and it was always an interest of ours even before the pandemic.”

A much-anticipated work of the Arts House has also featured In The Time of Refuge publication. Working on it for six years, Ms Sexton said there were proud to be sharing it in person with a launch set for March.

“The work was a deep investigation into creativity and the climate crisis. And in terms of emergency disaster preparedness, we are all actually knowledgeable about what it means to live through that and live through multiple crises,” she said.

Excited to share with the public everything that has been worked on throughout the pandemic, Ms Sexton believes there “is something for everyone”.

“There’s a lot of reasons to step outside of your home and start experiencing life in colour, not grey,” she said.

“We are doing some exciting work inside the building to transform how it feels. It really is an enjoyable time and makes you feel like you are living again.” •

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