It all started over a beer. Having finished their studies, a group of young acting school and creative graduates were looking for a new project. Among them were Kathryn and Scott Parker, who would go on to found Matriark Theatre, the new arts company taking up residency at the new Creative Live/Work space above Waterloo Library.
Some of the artists were trained in ‘Commedia dell’Arte’, a form of theatre that began in 16th century Italy and is famous for using masks, character tropes and improvisation. They pulled together a short theatrical piece and entered festivals. This style of theatre, with a ‘touch of puppetry’, as Scott says, still informs Matriark’s work.
Now, a multi-arts theatre company, Matriark is the latest independent artist group to take advantage of one of our creative spaces. The theatre will use the self-contained apartment as their accommodation and working studio. They will also collaborate with the library during their 12-month tenancy, bringing childrens’ books to life through puppetry and character comedy.
Kathryn says, “We take a lot of inspiration from mythology because myths are very often connected to the familiar and domestic. Our designer Aleisa Jelbart creates all of our puppets and characters from easily recognisable materials and textures.”
As well as their project with the Waterloo Library, in the next year, Matriark will partner with Shopfront Youth Co-op in the St George area as well as The Arts Centre in Cootamundra on a show called Rat Symphony. The show is about two children hiding in the sewers below their town after a monster chases their families away, and uses shadow puppetry and live music.
“The Waterloo space means more resources to develop new work and the subsidised rent allows breathing space as we grow our organisation,” says Scott. “Kathryn will be using the first of the rooms as a music studio and I will use the other as an office space. We’ll be working on puppets in the living space and will have lots of room to spread out during busy rehearsal seasons. It’s going to be a big year!”