FOLA Profile: Lovely Mess (48 Stories of Shame)

Melbourne-based independent theatre company Riot Stage and projection artist Yandell Walton are collaborating with ten young performers to present Lovely Mess (48 Stories of Shame) at Footscray Community Arts Centre as part of the upcoming Festival of Live Art (FOLA).

Lovely Mess invites audiences to witness a group of young people (ages 15-20) on the cusp of adulthood, shed the skin of childhood embarrassment so they can move on with their lives.

We spoke to Riot Stage Director Katrina Cornwell and Riot Stage Writer Morgan Rose about their creative process and what to expect from the show.

‘Riot Stage works with young people to develop our work, so the performances are always authentic and true to young people’s perspectives. As an ensemble we wanted to tackle mental health in a way that is relatable and invites the audience in, rather than alienating them with what is often seen as a difficult to discuss topic.’

The show is quite scientific – it’s a document over time of a feeling that is cumulative. We talked a lot during the process about the power of sharing one’s own story, but also about the vulnerabilities that come with that. Each performer in the ensemble has their own agency to share what they want to – and not share what they don’t want to,’ Katrina says.

Lovely Mess puts mental health at the forefront and examines the impact of childhood experiences to connect with adult audiences.

‘The work is an exploration of the difficult moments we all have as human beings – both small and large – and how these moments accumulate over the years to shape who we are.’

‘It is our hope as makers that listening to others share their stories will create a sense of empathy, but also provide a release for the audience in the realisation that we all have this in common. It’s inescapable. It’s part of being human,’ Morgan says.

Hosted by FCAC, Arts House and Theatre Works, FOLA brings an unmissable program of immersive and interactive art experiences to inner Melbourne from 13-25 March.

Lovely Mess is showing at FCAC’s Performance Space on Thursday 22 and Friday 23 March, as part of FOLA 2018. Click here for more information and bookings.

1- Image by Yandell Walton.

©2020 Footscray Community Arts Centre