One important thing Melburnians need right now is an injection of joy.
And the Brunswick East Entertainment Festival is doing exactly that.
The group of physical comedians who put on the festival all live together in Brunswick East, and have been taking to their front lawn to bring a bit of joy to drivers and pedestrians that walk past their outdoor theatre.
We recently caught up with Kimberley from the group to talk about it.
First things first, What is the Brunswick East Entertainment Festival All About?
The Brunswick East Entertainment Festival is a call to creative action. It is about making people happy. It is about making the gods of theatre happy. It is bringing lightness to the heaviness of the now. It is about play. It is about the very essence of a live events—shared moments, in shared physical time and space. It is about reclaiming the mood of the now.
This is what CAN we do now. We CAN bring joy to the street. It is about creative vitality. It is about art elevating us beyond banality. It is about humans engaging with other humans.
How Did The Festival Get Started?
We are a sharehouse of dear friends and award-winning physical comedians. We've been performing for years and years and years, we come together formally under the group name The Wholesome Hour.
We do feel good, funny performances for people of all ages. We are all a part of numerous comedy troupes, we've all trained under the same theatre teachers and our creative practice is fundamentally about getting in a room with other funny people and making up funny stuff. Obviously lockdown is very hard for people like us, we have a vitality for grouping and collective work.
We all reached a point of extreme creative depression and it dawned on us that going out to the front lawn of the house seemed the best and only way to keep performing, the best and only way to keep doing our job as live performers.
How Has The Response Been From The Local Community?
The community response has been incredible. Lockdown is a starvation. We, a sharehouse of five people, have been starved for contact.
People are happy to see us. People are freed from this tough moment when they see us. They wave back. They honk their horns. They applaud us. They laugh at us! Strangers thank us.
After living here for five years I am finally waving to our neighbours. We are finally engaging with our neighbourhood and our neighbourhood is engaging with us. We've had people say thank you. We've had people say we made their day. We've had strangers drop off gifts of thanks to us! I think we remind people why Melbourne is so special.
Melbourne is a melting pot of enormous creativity, imagination and radical artists. Melbourne is about arts and culture and 'going out'. And I think Melburnians want to SEE IT, and breathe it, it's not enough to engage in arts and culture online. Melburnians want to see and feel their arts community.
We all know our lives are richer for these interactions.
How Long Will The Festival Run?
The festival runs for as long as we keep coming up with ideas to put on the front lawn.
We have loads of ideas. It runs for as long as the theatres are shut. And you know, our festival might run even longer than that.
We have solid proof that interacting creatively in public space is part of the very fabric of human life. Who knows how long the festival will run? Who knows, we are independent artists, I look forward to a post COVID world where we make the rules.
You can follow the Brunswick East Entertainment Festival on Instagram.
Image credit: Brunswick East Entertainment Festival