Ignite Collective – Scratch Night: Lisa chats with Loredana Cross

Ignite Collective – Scratch Night

7Pm Wednesday 10 July

The Bordello Room, KXT. Find out more about Ignite Collective here. 

As a writer of fiction myself, it has long been my contention we should be writing ‘for’ those around us. What I mean by that is, for writing to reach a universal it should seek to interpret, examine, and find the language of consensus for the issues our peers wrestle with. Grand narratives come from the universe in a sunflower therefore where better to find that universe than in the flowers on our front porch? I work in the area of criticism and fiction novels, but the playwrights and theatre companies that resonate most with me (and the Australian cannon) are those seeking to work with our local language and what it means for Australians. This is something women can learn from the men who have written before us. Men found such a compelling narrative for their own perspective; they were able to convince all humans they speak for them. While this has inherent problems we recognise today, the question of narrative and of gaining consensus should drive women to learn how to tell the story of what it is to be human. This is superior to ‘outsourcing’ the question of what it is to be human to men who often struggle legitimising alternate perspectives. Just as they have to learn to accept other positions, we have to learn to question existing assumptions. I sense this is the very issue at the core of the Ignite Collective. A group of female theatre makers in Australia coming together to make work for each other. This includes seeking to reach deeper into a collective psyche to make roles and plays that showcase experience, talent and that unique perspective that somehow manages to reach everyone.

It seemed to me one of the most difficult roles in working with such a project, was the work of a producer. I rarely interview (or highlight) the work of producers, so I approached Loredana Cross to ask her a few questions about Ignite Collective and the powerhouse project they are about to launch. Ignite collective have a fundraiser tonight in the Bordello Room at KXT and I was thrilled to get the opportunity to ask Loredana about the work of the collective and what it hopes to achieve.



LT: What is the primary purpose of The Ignite Collective?

LC: I think this collective is so ground-breaking as its purpose is to give female creatives and actors a platform to come together, collaborate, and create new and ambitious work. We’ve brought together 32 incredibly talented women and by creating 4 new works a year, we’ll be showcasing unique voices and stories and we’ll be creating a new canon of work for future generations.

LT: How does The Ignite Collective seek to achieve this purpose?

LC: The playwrights will be writing the works specifically for the female actors of the collective, and we’ve engaged female creatives to bring those stories to life. We’re also providing a very supportive environment for our playwrights who with the script submissions to date, are really showing that they want to push the boundaries, and give these women unique roles, roles that they may not normally be cast in, and tell stories that are definitely needed and wanted.

LT: What excites you about being a producer associated with this group?

LC: So many things! The talent, the shared vision and drive for change. There has definitely been a change both in the discourse and action taken to address systemic imbalances in our industry over the last couple of years and this initiative I think is contributing to changing the theatre landscape. We’re also an independent theatre company and are essentially funding these works ourselves. We’re operating on a profit share model, and many of our actors are consistently getting paid and main stage work. They’re equally as passionate about this project and that makes us think we’re doing something special and that’s needed.

LT: Most theatre spaces are consciously adding more female writers to their annual programs. What more needs to be done in this area?

LC: We’re definitely moving in the right direction and it’s important that we’re also showcasing diversity. And not showcasing diversity just because it means we’re ticking a box. But because we want our stages to reflect the diversity of our country and unique individuals and stories.

We also need more opportunities for creatives and greater access to space. This is something in Sydney that can be really difficult. There are so many talented independent theatre companies that are making fantastic work, and we’re all vying for the limited slots in programming. I also see a trend across a few companies both in independent and professional theatre, that are continuously using the same pool of talent. I would love to see opportunities being extended to a larger pool and being shared.

LT: What do female performers need more than anything else? How does this differ from the needs of male performers?

LC: I think there are too many variables and every performer is different regardless of gender. And we really do our best to make sure that each performer and creative is being heard and supported. What we expect from those that we work with is mutual kindness, professionalism, and respect and these have become non-negotiables for us. I think these are needs of most performers and what everyone deserves, and should be honoured.

LT: What are the most notable differences between being a female theatre creative in Sydney 2019 and being a male creative in Sydney in 2019?

LC: I can only speak to my own experiences. With the change we’ve seen in the industry so far, it definitely feels as though the timing is right for this initiative in terms of being supported and receiving recognition. There’s a definite movement towards female creatives receiving a greater number of opportunities and their talent and tenacity being recognised. More work definitely needs to be done and we’re really proud to be contributing to this change.

LT: Is there anything else you’d like to add?

LC: Our Scratch Night is just around the corner! It kicks off at 7pm on Wednesday 10th July, at KXT’s Bordello Room. KXT have been an incredible support for us and we’re really grateful to them for investing in this collective in giving us both time and space. So come to KXT on Wednesday and see what our incredible playwrights have been working on for 2020 and have a drink with us afterwards and meet the team!