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Ryk

Ryk GODDARD

Year of Award: 2005 Award State: Tasmania Arts - Performing > Theatre And Stage
To research the methods, management and programming of schools of performance with the aim of establishing a Centre for Professional Development for mid-career and emerging theatre artists - USA, U.K., France, Netherlands
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In 2005 I was Artistic Director of Tasmania’s only professional contemporary performance company. We were making cutting-edge new cross-artform works for festivals, training about 25 young theatre makers and hosting an improvisation festival (Boiler Room) which brought people from all over Australia. Think of it as like MONA but driven by performance. Our plan as a company at that time was to establish a self-funding school of performance-making in Hobart that was world-leading and would attract people here.

I applied for a Churchill Fellowship to learn from the best in improvisation (Ruth Zaporah in Santa Fe), to perform and train with colleagues in London, and to explore schools in New York and Amsterdam. It was in London, through friends, that I ended up in a room with Yoshi Oida, a world-leading theatre and film actor. He told me he had improvised with Peter Brook for six hours every day for several years, and in the end it was not enough. They needed the story to become greater than themselves.

After that watershed moment I went on to combine our contemporary performance practice with great storytelling, and made the most successful works of my career – Passport to Happiness for the Ten Days Festival (‘Every Australian should see this’ – The Australian) and 10 Wonderful Years – a dinner cabaret tribute to John Howard that sold out before it opened.

The Theatre Company didn’t end up starting a school, as no-one believed enough people would come to Hobart for any kind of high-quality artistic experience. In 2007 I moved on, working in theatre and standup comedy, and trained in film pitching with AFTRS. I have since made a comedy series for Radio National (Blogdaddy), a video comedy series for The Australian Script Centre and DIY FATHER.COM, and created three TV series pilots.

While I did that I developed a career in another form of storytelling: radio. For the last five years I have presented the breakfast show for 936 ABC Hobart; oddly, it is very like the improvised performances I did right back in the beginning – but dedicated to helping others tell their story in the most clear, concise, spontaneous and powerful way. I also train academics and business people in presentation skills, using many of the teaching skills I learned overseas. So what I learned on the Fellowship continues to enrich my life and my work.

But the biggest delight is the ongoing contact with new and old Fellows – hearing their stories and learning from them. 

Excerpt from “Bringing Knowledge Home” published by the Churchill Fellows Association of Tasmania (2016) 

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