WORDS OF A BUTTERFLY: Ben Mitchell encounters Crack Theatre Festival 2015
A Day Exploring Crack Theatre Festival at TiNA 2015
Today was my first day at Crack Theatre Festival – it stretched from the early morning to the late evening. Above anything, all day I was reminded of what it meant to be an artist – to share a sizeable part of your soul with the world and hope the world accepts it. The appropriateness of my volunteer job title, the “social butterfly”, was commented on a few times today. Meeting new people puts me in my element, especially when they’re artists.
The works that resonated most with me had a clear personal connection to their creators. Being able to meet and discuss the work with them only enhanced the experience. Poking through a stranger’s bedroom in NEVERLAND (well, this is embarrassing) was surreal. My encounter began with dissecting themes of sexual confusion through diary entries and letters, but later involved uncovering a very unexpected scrapbook following a series of local murders and disappearances. I found myself curled up on someone else’s bed, totally engrossed in a story that I had forgotten was actually real. I made a bit of a fool of myself discussing it afterwards with artist M’ck, making broad conspiracy connections between the different ‘characters’ I was presented with. Through nervous laughter I realised these weren’t characters in a story – these were someone’s friends, in someone’s life, and I was standing in someone’s room. This was a piece of M’ck’s life, and I was living in it.
Through experiencing different people’s art today, I feel like I’ve learnt far more about them personally than a day’s worth of formal introductions and conversations would ever get me. Whether it was watching the artists of Creative Pen Pals slip so naturally in and out of ‘character’ as they played themselves, or noticing the discernible human element Scott-Patrick Mitchell’s improvised interactions with the audience during his gargantuan 24-hour Performance Poem, I left the Festival not feeling as though I’ve taken in a lot of art, but that I’d made a lot of new friends.
Ben Mitchell was a volunteer for Crack Theatre Festival 2015, joining us as one of our team of Social Butterflies to tweet, Instagram and write about the Festival. If you are interested in working with us at Crack Theatre Festival 2016, keep an eye on our Facebook page for opportunities like this one throughout the year. We would love to hear from you!