My first role as a performer was when I was eight. I was cast as the dog in a school production of The Woman who Swallowed a Fly. My audition consisted of me sitting on my haunches, waggling my imaginary tail and lolling my tongue deliriously. This, I felt, was the essence of what it meant to be a dog. From this intuitive approach to performance, I completed my BA in Drama Studies at Edith Cowan University and have participated in the performing arts community of Perth as a performer and contributed to its supporting networks in my various roles with several funding bodies, producers and peak bodies for screenwriters, performing artists and playwrights.
I work at Edith Cowan University Library (Mount Lawley campus) and at Stages WA, which is dedicated to the development of playwrights and their works by providing resources, programs and workshops for emerging and established playwrights for their professional development. I am currently undertaking post-graduate study in Information Science and Archives to develop my knowledge and skills in the cultural heritage sector; exploring the ideas of cultural memories and societal constructions of identity, and forming a nexus between the ephemera of performance and the permanence of the archive.
My writing about performance was another intuitive leap, where I felt I had an inside understanding of the creative process supported by my training in analysis of dramatic form from my studies. Perth’s independent theatre sector is going through an exciting period of growth and I find writing about performance to be an introspective and satisfying avenue to activate critical discussion amongst artists and audience alike.
The best thing about writing about performance is that it forces me to stay with the work for a much longer period than just the time of the show itself. It allows me to explore the concepts and cultural influences of a work, ruminate on the writer’s or director’s vision, as well as analyse my personal responses to the work. At the forefront of my writing, I am always conscious of the artists involved. It is a record of their efforts; it is a time-piece which will exist once the performance is over. Whilst not all work will please my sensibilities, I always aim to be respectful in my criticisms.
Astrid Francis: Proximity Festival 2013
RealTime issue #118 Dec-Jan 2013 p41
The schooled audience
Astrid Francis: James Berlyn, Crash Course
RealTime issue #118 Dec-Jan 2013 p40
Astrid Francis: Fringe World 2013
RealTime issue #114 April-May 2013 p48
Oedipus and the doomed choice
Astrid Francis: Lutton, Wright, Atkinson, on the Misconception of Oedipus
RealTime issue #112 Dec-Jan 2012 pg32
RealTime issue #118 Dec-Jan 2013 pg. web
© Astrid Francis; for permission to reproduce apply to email@example.com