This November, Erskineville’s emerging artist extravaganza, Tiny Stadiums, is set to return for its sixth year running. And for the first time, the community art project will be carrying on after dark. “We’ve decided to extend the hours a little bit into the evening, so it’s kind of our first twilight Tiny Stadiums,” says Amelia Wallian, one third of curatorial collective, Groundwork. “We’re trying to capitalise on that summer-evening, just turning into dusk kind of atmosphere, and our artists are engaging with those themes.”
Works that form this year’s festival participate in the life of the suburb as much as they occur in it: Jennifer Hamilton and Craig Johnson were inspired by Woolworths suburb-specific branding to explore public space and privatisation; Bennett Miller investigates the local greyhound racing culture, and Imogen Semmler tracks the cats of Erskineville with GPS and night-vision cameras. “We were trying to think about ways we could engage all the different kinds of communities that exist within Erskineville,” explains Wallian.
And if a newly-commissioned performance work by Nick Coyle is anything to go by, Tiny Stadiums is as concerned with being entertaining as it is with being arty: in Blue Wizard, Coyle plays ‘an intergalactic gay wizard on the side of a mountain, stranded on earth, casting spells and dancing magic dances in an attempt to return to his comet.’ “Definitely, we wanted entertaining,” says Wallian. “Because it is in the public sphere, and because it’s for a huge range of audiences, not just artists speaking to artists, I think you do need to balance entertaining works and ones with a critical edge.”
Tiny Stadiums runs from November 13-23 at the PACT Centre for Emerging Artists at 107 Railway Parade, Erskineville, with two ‘Live Art Saturdays’ showcasing a series of emerging artists from 3pm. For more details check out pact.net.au