Live Darwin Hub, Darwin City
Tracks took over the Live Darwin Hub to bring to life a costume exhibition highlighting 3 costume designers from 5 major Tracks shows and was open throughout August 2019.
Following on from the success of the 2018 Tracktivation project and as part of the NT Government's Activate Darwin project to 'help Darwin City realise its potential as an attractive, bustling and connected capital city', in 2019 we wanted to tell our Tracks story through costumes.
The costume exhibition showcases five performances, Struck (2008), The Cook, the Queen and the Kelly (2010), Crocodile Man, Pineapple Woman (2011), 8 to 80: The Architecture of Age (2012) and In Your Blood (2018), which have incorporated original costume designs by Ann Gibb, Lynn Ferguson and Tim Newth.
It was a wonderful opportunity to highlight the work costume designers do behind the scenes working with choreographers, dancers and Artistic Directors to bring to life our major performances. We reached out to each of the designers to hear from them about their experience and memories working with Tracks.
Has costumed for Tracks the Opening of the Arafura games (2007), You Dance Funny (2007), Struck (2008), Crocodile Man Pineapple Women (2011), Eight to Eighty (2012) Zombies in the Banyan Tree (2013) and Global Positioning (2019) as well as many costumes for Tracks’ over 60 dance group, the Grey Panthers.
“Working with Tracks is always an exciting challenge. They have large casts I often need to make sets of costumes, like the 70s outfits for Crocodile Man or the nurses uniforms in Struck. Each show is so different. Crocodile Man Pineapple Woman was based on my parents story so that was an emotional ride that touched my heart. One of the most challenging was Eight to Eighty, each of the 34 dancers were costumed individually, it was like designing a fashion show. Tim and I worked closely, looking at not only the size and shape of the dancers but also the cultural and dance backgrounds of each. It was hard work but like with all the shows I have worked on the outcome is something I am very proud of. I am honoured to be part of the Tracks team, they see my worth and I feel totally valued”
Costumed Endurance (2009) and The Cook, The Queen & The Kelly (2010).
“The emphasise for the costume design for “The Cook, The Queen & The Kelly” was to establish a strong silhouette that would make the characters recognisable & support a clear narrative through the dance. Cook‘s costume comprised of the full naval uniform of the late 1700’s, a coat with gold braid and buttons, ivory waistcoat & breeches, powered wig & tricorn hat. The coat was particularly heavy being made from ‘Melton’ wool; with the wig & tricorn hat this was a challenging costume for Daniel to wear. The Queen’s costume was a 1960’s vintage find, the sleeveless shift dress a soft yellow worn with a floral turban style hat. Often an exciting costume find is as satisfying as a costume build & this one was for me, I loved how the colour sat so well within the car that Jessica performed in, allowing her arms to be focused on to form beautiful pictures. The Kelly costume was a mixture of made costume and finds, I loved the strong image Nick struck in the iconic helmet and ankle length duster coat. The Kelly gang boys all wore voluminous period shirts cinched in by high waisted trousers and a body-hugging waistcoat. At first the high waist fit was very alien to those break dancers; they were used to a low-slung crotch, but I believe they really liked them in the end."
"I established a work space under the elevated house I lived in, setting up tables to pattern draft, cut out on & sew on, open to the elements & surrounded by a tropical garden. Working in Darwin with Tracks Dance Company was a wonderful, unique experience.”
Artistic Co Director of Track, Tim has designed all the companies major works since 1988. The costuming of a performance is a balance between artistic vision, function, meaning and collaborating with performers and the artistic team.
“A costume adds meaning and context to both the performer and audience alike. For the majority of Tracks dancers this is not their profession. Often it can be someone's first performance experience. If you are asking someone to dance in front of their community, be that in remote Aboriginal Lajamanu or for Tracks major season within the Darwin Festival, they need to feel good about what you are doing and how they look. A costume can connect the performer their heritage, add to sense of self or take one beyond oneself, to be larger than life.”
Curators and Coordination: Jessica Mellor and Tim Newth
Production: Duane Preston
Styling Assistance: Ann Gibb
Display Design: Backslap Design & Don Whyte Framing
Cotton On Darwin and Casuarina, Bardot Casuarina and Big W Gateway.
Tracks Inc is assisted by the Australian Government through the Australia Council, its arts funding and advisory body; and is proudly sponsored by the Northern Territory Government.
Activate Darwin - NT Government
Artistic Co-Directors: David McMicken and Tim Newth
Company Director: Adelaide Wood
Administrator: Jessica Mellor
Production Manager: Duane Preston
Dance Animateur: Kelly Beneforti
Associate Artistic Director: Jess Devereux
Bookkeeper: It Figures
Committee Members: David Taylor (Chairperson), Mary Durack (Outgoing Chairperson), Glenn Bernardin (Treasurer), Michael Grant, Ken Conway, Venaska Cheliah, Sudha Coutinho, Max Dewa Stretton. David McMicken, Tim Newth, Adelaide Wood (Ex-Officio Members)
Public Fund Trustees: Dr Anita Toth
Patron: Her Honour the Honourable Vicki O’Halloran AM, Administrator of the Northern Territory
"It was nostalgic to walk through our past costumes and take ourselves back to that time and place" - Past Performer
1200 people visited and witnessed the exhibition throughout August 2019.