An Interview with Josephine Were
By Alex Morris @Nemiwai
In late June, performance maker Josephine Were (28) came from Adelaide to Newcastle and hung out on Hunter Street and the CBD. During her visit she would stop people and ask them what their wish would be for the future of Australia in 10 years.
“I finished school 10 years ago and started thinking about how things can really change in 10 years even though it doesn’t seem like a long time,” Josephine said.
She debated using the word “wishes”, “hopes” or “dreams”, but she said there’s something really special about a wish; it pulls you into having responsibility.
At first she thought people would want to make wishes but quickly learned that making a wish is sometimes a private action. She held the microphone out for one man’s wish, but he just closed his eyes and said it in his head.
Different areas of Hunter Street had more people willing to make wishes, and she ended up with nearly 100 wishes from different people. She said Rowie’s Bottle Shop was a particularly good place to find and record wishes.
She’ll be incorporating the different wishes with her audio storytelling performance, Three Wishes, for Crack Theatre Festival at TiNA. Josephine represents South Australia’s Setting the Stages Artist this year, and she’ll be collaborating with Matthew Gregan.
During Crack Theatre Fest, headphones will be available for up to 12 people to take a guided walk along Hunter Street leading to the beach. The headphones will play wishes curated by Josephine and music by Matthew. They will run Friday, Saturday and Sunday every half hour between 12 and 6 pm.
“Matthew’s been listening to the script and thinking about making the music for it. A lot of it is strictly timed because you need to incorporate [for example] crossing the road; how many seconds it takes on average,” Josephine said.
The audio walks will be guided by an usher, and Josephine and Matthew will be waiting for the participants at the end.
“It’s more interesting if you’re not there; if you’re there, people look to you to interpret the work,” she said.
She added that there will be a surprise at the end.
She hopes to combine what’s in front of participants in the present with the wishes that were made in the past and the ideas of what might be in the future.
“I hope people think about their role in the future of Australia. Ten years is achievable; it’s in our life time. I’m going to be 38. We are responsible for this next span of time whether we are passive or active,” she said.