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Brown's Mart Reimagined

FOR OVER 50 years, Brown’s Mart Theatre has supported emerging and established artists through a varied mix of artforms and opportunities. Last month, the team officially launched the 2024 season, with a bit of a spin.

By Tierney Seccull

Under the creative direction of Artistic Associates, Cj Fraser-Bell, James Mangohig and Nadine Lee, the program takes a different shape to previous years, with less complete theatre performances than in the past, but more frequent opportunities to engage with work in its early stages. Fraser-Bell says the new format gives artists a beat to reflect on the creative process.

“By deconstructing our model and adding short, smaller works alongside our larger productions, we’re able to act more quickly – giving Northern Territory artists more room to shape the why, the how, and the when of their work.”

Mangohig says it provides a space for deeper relationships to be formed.

“In the spirit of connection, we’re coming together and leaving changed with more intimate performances and experiments, with a belief that art should be nourishing.”

Regular faves return to the creative hub in 2024, including the perfect way to unwind from the working week with local live music at Live on Fridays. There’s also the flagship production of the year, Song Spirals, a dance work by Rosealee Pearson that world premieres at Darwin Festival. It was a work supported by Brown’s Mart’s BuildUp Program, which also makes a return this year to support the development of new works from four local artists.

New in 2024 is Playfull, a series of stripped-back playreadings accompanied by a talks and workshops program. Studio Sounds presents Territory musicians and musical storytellers in an intimate concert series, giving audiences the chance to learn the stories behind the sounds.

There’s the chance for all to be part of the Brown’s Mart experience, and Lee says engaging with new ideas expands horizons.

“Our program this year has multiple moments to listen and learn, from those similar or very different from ourselves, so we can grow, tell truths, and heal each other.”

Brown’s Mart was one of 16 Territory organisations to receive four-year funding from Creative Australia from 2025, and this year’s reimagined program has the ability to feed into robust programming moving forwards. CEO Sophia Hall says this welcome news, paired with the artistic leadership, places Brown’s Mart in an exciting space.

“I think it’s really exciting to have the artistic leadership we have in place at the moment. They are a really strong combination of artists … which is evident in the program they have created. Looking forward as well – it’s a watch-this-space too,” she says.

“With Creative Australia funding coming through from next year and the resources that we’ll have moving forward, we also continue to invest in the development of work.

"James Mangohig’s Hymns for the Witching Hour, Ciella Williams’ Hush and Rosealee Pearson’s Song Spirals all came through BUILD UP – so many works we end up seeing in the Brown’s Mart Theatre come through those development programs, and I think that’s such an important part of what we do.”


Photo: The Brown's Mart creative team celebrates the 2024 Program Launch. By Paz Tassone.

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