I often hear Tasmania derided by people who, for the most part, don’t live here. It gets labelled a mendicant state, an economic basket case, as though we are somehow to blame for our size and population and the constraints on growth that these apparently important parameters might define.
Mostly, I think such arguments are bullshit.
As I write this, a group of actors, writers, musicians, directors and theatre technicians are preparing a series of short plays that will be written, rehearsed and performed within 24 hours. An initiative of Mudlark Theatre, this is the ninth such iteration of One Day. Similar projects may well run in other states, but that’s not really the point: it happens here, on The Island, and it’s exhilarating.
If this state lacks anything in economic credibility (and of course there are all sorts of reasons why this might be so), I think we more than compensate for it with our cultural commodity. We punch above our weight as the home to a dynamic community of poets, novelists, artists, choreographers, composers, actors, singers, sculptors, and on it goes. I know well that there pockets of the political landscape where such things are not valued; however, I can’t help but think about how much might be gained by the ongoing recognition of The Island as a centre for cultural excellence.
Perhaps this something we need to consider, in light of how recent downturns in the forestry industry have placed some pretty clear writing on the wall.
In the meantime, creating brand new theatre in 24 hours is pretty good advertisement for what we can offer to creative practitioners. It also helps to remind me why, even when I might have had the choice, I’m not really sure I could live anywhere else.