Marion Potts new Malthouse AD ~ theatre notes

Friday, February 05, 2010

Marion Potts new Malthouse AD

After months of fevered speculation, the Malthouse Theatre announced today that Marion Potts, currently Bell Shakespeare's associate artistic director, will be its new artistic director. She replaces Michael Kantor, who leaves at the end of this year.

With last year's appointment of Ralph Myers as the successor to Neil Armfield at Company B, this completes the picture of what the theatre culture will look like in Sydney and Melbourne over the next few years. It's a cheering view: both bring to their posts diverse experience in mainstage and independent theatre, and both are responsible themselves for some of its liveliness.

Potts brings to the Malthouse a keen theatrical intelligence and formal curiosity, qualities that are aligned to a substantial history of directing plays, from classics to new work. She is less well known in Melbourne than she is in Sydney, where she has been active on main stages for the past few years, and one of her immediate tasks will be to forge relationships with Melbourne's indie theatre scene.

As part of her position as Bell Shakespeare’s associate artistic director, Potts is artistic director of its development arm, Mind’s Eye. For Bell she has directed Hamlet, Othello and Venus & Adonis (a co-production with Malthouse Theatre) as well as the Actors At Work programme, and this year will be directing John Bell in Lear. She was resident director for the STC from 1995-1999, and has also directed for the State Theatre Company of South Australia, the Queensland Theatre Company, the Melbourne Theatre Company, Company B, HotHouse Theatre, Sydney Opera House and Griffin Theatre Company.

She will have to endure speculation that her appointment is, at least in part, a response to the controversy last year about the lack of women in key creative positions in Australian theatre. I shall point out here that no man with Potts' CV would face any such speculation. But let's face it, the fact that a woman has been appointed to one of the nexus positions in Australian theatre is worth a quiet cheer or three.


Matthew said...

That last point reminds me: five of this year's six Griffin Independent shows are being directed by women, which isn't bad at all.

As for Ms Potts' appointment, I'm all for it.

Alison Croggon said...

And all of Red Stitch's current season. Socks are being pulled up.

Anonymous said...

And won't it be even better when the women are being paid well for their work!

Paul K said...

Paid well? In theatre?

Alison Croggon said...

Poor or no pay is an equal-opportunity gig in the arts, I fear.

Anonymous said...

I think the true sign that things are equal will be when everyone stops talking about it and just gets on with the work.

Anonymous said...

Even if Marion's appointment is a response to last year's controversy, I really don't think that should be anything to be "endured". Marion would not have been appointed if the selection committee didn't believe she had the chops for the job, and - even if the committee were conscious of her gender while selecting her for the role - then I think that she should give herself a very big pat on the back for pioneering change in our industry.

I really do believe that, with people like Marion, Ralph Myers, David Berthold, Cate Blanchett and Andrew Upton, etc. etc. etc. being appointed to their respective companies, we're entering a very exciting era of change in Australian theatre.

Matthew said...

I didn't know about Red Stitch, Alison. That's good news, too.

And I'm with that last anon: the eastern mainstage companies' current line-up of head honchos isn't half bad. (I certainly have my criticisms of Cate and Andrew's approach, but I have plenty of compliments for it, too.) And there are some exciting announcements to be made yet at least one of those companies...

Alison Croggon said...

I'm not suggesting that Marion's appointment should not be celebrated: it's quite rightly been welcomed, and for all sorts of reasons. Perhaps I was projecting on the "endured" bit. I would endure it, because at least some speculation about gender suggests that it is not your achievements, but your sex, that matters most. This cuts all ways, of course. As Anon No. Something suggests, it's actually the work - past and future - that counts here.

Anonymous said...

just a quiet observation...most of your reviews of Potts' work have been luke warm save Othello...thoughts?

friend of croggon said...

What about Venus and Adonis?

Alison Croggon said...

It's good to know you followed the links, Anon. I sometimes wonder whether people do! But I'm kind of puzzled, actually - I adored Venus & Adonis, and liked Hamlet too, aside from having a problem with the central performance. It is more true to say that I had strong reservations about one aspect of one production of the three I've linked to, rather than that I was "lukewarm" about "most". I was also very taken with her production of The Wonderful World of Dissocia, but I only wrote a short note about that.

Anonymous said...

1. To raise the issue of gender in association with the appointment of ANYONE to a position with an incredibly important cog in the live performance scene in Australia demeans both that ANYONE and us all.
2. The veryn issue of raising this, is crap. It is crap and it demeans you alison.
3. That Red Stitch have all female directors? WTF? Is this a real point to crow about? Are there people out there who actually consider this has anything to do with anything? THE GENDER?
4. Pay? WTF? Are you serious?
5. OMFG. YOu people really need to take a good hard (cock) look at yourselves.

Here are the points:
- An artist is an artist.
- if you are hiring 'them' for some reason other than their credentials (including whether you can in fact "work with them") makes you a broken down nothing.
- that last point applies to anyone of any gender.
- At the end of the day I fail to see artists creating work out there in the industry using anything but their desire to make entirely AWESOME work!

Really. Get a FUCKIN LIFE!!! The point is: If you somehow 'succeed' as an artist in this countrym, or anywhere else on earth, that is 'generally' because you are partly talented, partly persistent, and partly resourced. PLUS, you can handle the put downs and all the useless and fake schmoozing you have to do.

Finally: Directors are one form of artist, but could I remind you that they are considered in certain parts of the world as 'interpreters' rather than primary/creating 'artists' (see Ireland in terms of tax law).
- playwrights, actors, directors, designers, the list of artists is in any field immense. To somehow bring them down to the level of somehow 'successful' because of their gender just is a pathetic fuckin argument.

Grow some ovaries, grow some balls, grow some hair on your chest and express milk of the gods. Whatever you do, whoever you are, I don't give two shits if I want to stick my dick in you, I would rather know that you are awesome.

Go eat my fecal matter you wankers on about this fuckin gender debate. Get it?

Anonymous said...

Lally Katz is successful because she is a female?

Jack Hibberd was a ground breaker because he is a man?

That play on at the MTC right now was programmed because it was written by a woman?

Julia Gillard is the deputy PM because she is a woman? (actually, this is one thing I might look more closely at)...

But, Julia Gillard isn't freakin grouse?

My mom is a legend because she is a woman?

My brother is a fuka because he is male?

My sister explained why using the word CUNT should be considered in all of its ramifications because she is a female, and also because she knows what men are like...

Men are what they are because they often confuse their cocks with their brains, their cocks with their hearts, their hearts with their cocks and often use most of their adolescence to explore the potential of the science of blood vessels and how this relates to almost all facets of life.

So answer the question:

The artists in this world who somehow are amazing artists are amazing artists because of their gender.

Agree or disagree.

Secondly, success for an artist is subject to their gender. Please discuss citing examples including the rise of Christos Tsolkias vs Germaine Greer, the rise of Kylie versus Nick Cave.

You get my point?

The point is, before you launch into a tirade about your FUCKING OPPORTUNITY is this:
- socio economic standing has far far more to do with success as an artist than gender.

Most of you are freakin rich kids with the resources to play with toys.

Most of you are not, also.

Replace that above para with the gender issue...just to see how freakin dumb your entire argument actually is.

Please discuss how gender affects career success versus how socio economic factors affect career success. Please include specific examples of cultural baqkground ( religion, sexuality/sexual freedom, race/colour, geographic location, family 'culture'/'history'), historical references and the like.

Word limit as much as you like, but if you start to get all freakin hot under the collar then I will simply know you to be a knob jockey and I would rather steer clear of your crap. You probably could have done the same with this whole comment at the start get it?

Assignments may be submitted online to eatmyshit@gogetfuckeddotcomdotpooporn

love,etc, happiest when eating pussy or cock, depending on which tastes better at the time.

Which of course is going to lead to US ALL making a legendary show.

Anonymous said...

it seems that anon above, and above that has trouble expressing (some) (otherwise) genuine ideas without the use of expletives.

One might remind anon that expletives hold more power when used sparingly.

Unless of course the use of expletives in such a(n) (series of) argument(s) is a natural part of anon(s) dialectical discursive dilemma.

One might for instance refer to that landmark judgement where Justice (insert name of the judge here) came to the conclusion that what we once may have considered 'offensive' words, can in fact be considered in certain contexts as completely acceptable - given their use in wider society.

In this judgement, the learned judge concluded in favour of the defendant when he stated that the word "fuck" was in fact listed in The English Dictionary. Thus, could be considered a 'normal' word - to the extent it was in common usage.

Interested parties might like to be reminded that the case in question concerned a defendant who was charged with using offensive language when questioned by police.

Rumour has it that the man told them to 'get fucked' or words to that effect.

Notwithstanding argument such as that presented above, personally speaking I find Anon's use of expletives offensive to me personally.

For now anon, I will accept your point of view. In the future though, it may serve your argument(s) better, if you could bring some level of clarity to your thoughts (I struggle to use the word arguments). This may allow us all (well, me) to understand what it is precisely you are trying to say.

But thank you all the same. I have always enjoyed listening to myself in the morning.

Thank you

Anonymous said...

Thank you Anon above, I think you might find the following links useful:

Speaking personally, I would much rather work with a non male than a non white or a non heterosexual.

That's just me though. Thank you.

Anonymous said...

Whoa. This kettle of fish is certainly starting to resemble the great southern ocean!

Speaking personally, I would much rather work with whales than loud mouthed american shepherds.

I can't for the life of me see the sheep...

Anonymous said...

Do you really have to use that term 'japs'? That is offensive and racist. Could you please retract that?

Anonymous said...

Okay, I will, if you knock down the railway.

Anonymous said...

Dude, get over it.

Anonymous said...

yeah, like go see the swimming club or something.

Anonymous said...

Anons above might find medication is helpful in the treatment of what seems to be an episode of mania. I could refer him to some excellent professionals.

Anonymous said...

yeah, totally schizo man!

Anonymous said...

okay. One simple thing to remember.

Schizophrenia (or as you call it 'schizo') is not in fact so called 'split personality'.

The closest medical diagnosis for this 'condition' would be a choice between disassociative personality disorder, and bi polar disorder.

Bi Polar disorder is a contemporary term for what is most commonly thought of as 'manic depression'.

This is in line with the continual updating of how we consider, or come to understand matters in our world. Over time, this leads to a greater depth of understanding, and thus the evolution of the human race.

(one might like to know more on Darwins thoughts on GM however!)

The 'shakes' or 'shell shock' is now known as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.

(given the racist comments above).

The use of emotion in arguing matters of great sensitivity is of course to be expected, however one might wish that some respondents would consider the medications prescribed by a medical practitioner who will decide what is most suitable based on their relationship with the sales representative from Pharmaceutical Companies.

Disclaimer: It would be nice to know that mine have kicked in, but it appears they haven't.

Alison Croggon said...

My god, it's a bit early on a Saturday. Is this Trolls R Us? Is it an attack of the anon sockpuppets? Or is it just an outbreak of spade bashing in the sandpit?

Swearing doesn't offend me. (Although, on the legal question of obscenity, I suggest you google Myra Breckenridge and buy the book. That's how you do it with wit and intellect.)

On the other hand, some of you (if you are plural) have pretty much bingoed the board on homophobia, racism, sexism, ablism and so on. Well, bully for you. Go collect your $200. But frankly, that's offensive.

Can I suggest two things: one, that if you haven't the cojones to use your own name(s), how about using nom de plumes?; and two, please learn how to structure an argument. This includes knowing something about what you're supposedly arguing about.

Anon 1, you didn't read what I said about Marion's appointment, obviously. Did I do anything except argue that her work meant that she deserved it?

Yes, the gender debate is complicated. Some of its complexity has been argued right here and, yes, it includes class, sex and race. Please learn something about what the argument is before you bowdlerise it so grievously.