Home' In The City : In the City Autumn 2012 Contents Meet
143 London Circuit, Civic
Cnr London Circuit and East Row (bus interchange)
Monday February 20, 2012
Imagine standing in front of a crowd of strangers and
telling them a story about your first time.
For a group of eight Canberrans, this is exactly
what will happen when they participate in Now
Hear This, a storytelling component of the You Are Here
Now Here This organiser Melanie Tait said people
within the community were invited to tell their real life
story with a twist -- they had to incorporate the "first
"It can be first-time anything," she said.
"It's any way you can apply that theme to a story.
"We hope the theme will get people thinking."
People from all walks of life nominate their story and if
chosen, participate in a workshop to help further develop
their storytelling skills, before presenting in the courtyard
at the National Film and Sound Archive on March 13.
Tait has already run four Now Hear This events
throughout Canberra in conjunction with ABC 666,
where she works as a radio presenter.
Like the theme of the program, it's the first time the
event has been included in the festival, which made its
debut in the capital last year.
You Are Here co-producer Yolande Norris approached
Tait to see if she would be interested in organising a
program for the festival, after she saw the event last
year and was impressed by the concept and the level of
enthusiasm from those involved.
"It was a no brainer for us to be involved," Tait said.
"I think it's got great energy.
"Canberra itself is a very safe base for artists -- they're
very free to experiment, to do what they like without the
judgment of big festivals.
"That gives a lot of freedom and that's what You Are
Here [is] really free at doing."
The festival emerged last year to showcase the raw,
underground culture and alternative art scene that
exists in the capital.
There was a mix of theatre, visual arts, music, and
spoken word and poetry performers from across
Canberra and beyond, who entertained crowds in
various vacant shop fronts and outdoor spaces in the
CBD for 10 days.
"It's not the sort of festival that has a few headline
names, because everyone's on the same level of
experience," Norris said.
"They might be older, they might be younger, but
they're all sort of working in that more DIY [creative]
scene in Canberra.
"We're trying to introduce the public to something
they haven't heard of, but would probably love to [see]."
This year the festival will follow a similar format to
2011, which Norris admitted had worked well, and a
new strategy to target a larger audience involved greater
advertisement through mainstream media.
"When we started the festival, when we were
marketing it, we weren't entirely sure who are our
target audience was," she said.
"What we really quickly discovered once the festival
started was that it was actually attracting a lot of interest
from the people who might not usually go these things,
people who used to go to these things maybe a couple of
decades ago, and were re-entering that scene.
"We're trying to make sure everyone can hear about
Performances during the week will begin in the
morning -- while people are on their way to work -- at
lunchtime, later in the afternoon and then during the
Some artists will be back again, but Norris said the
program of events for 2012 would be fresh, surprising
"It's about the unexpected and surprising yourself,
to see if you might love something you've never tried
before," she said.
Canberra Punk and Beyond is another new addition
to the program list for 2012.
The group is collecting an archive of images and
footage from the music scene in Canberra from the '70s
to early '90s, as well as hosting reunion gigs with bands
from the era.
Organiser Chris Shakallis, a former punk musician
from the band Young Docteurs, said there would be a
multimedia display from the era, as well as artwork,
posters and images on display at the festival.
The inspiration to document this particular period of
time and show it to Canberra has come from the fact
very little is actually known about it.
"When you look at the documentation of the music
history of that period, Canberra is overlooked,"
"It's almost as if it didn't exist, or something didn't
But Shakallis remembers a vibrant, diverse scene
that was full of great music, where punk rock was being
embraced and young musicians were at the forefront of
it as it all unfolded.
Many artists and bands left Canberra to live
and play interstate, having left their mark on the
"Canberra filled the fertile ground a lot of the music
grew out of," Shakallis said.
After a radio interview last year about the music from
the era, he decided to establish a Facebook site to help
reconnect and reunite some of the bands.
Within a month the site had received 70,000 visits
and it was around this time Norris approached
Shakallis to see if he was interested in being part of
"I'm really happy to be involved in it," Shakallis said.
"I've been talking to a few of the punks that I knew
from the original period.
"They were all really happy that there's people
interested to hear their stories.
"I'm still committed to wanting to help give a bit of a
voice [not just] to young people, but people of all ages,
so they can have an appreciation that out of sleepy old
Canberra came vital important contributions across
musical and artistic fields."
Norris encourages all Canberrans to get down to the
CBD from March 8 to 18 to see the festival.
"This festival I think is very much concerned about
showing Canberra to itself," she said.
"Open your eyes and notice that where we're living is
this hotbed of talent."
You are Here is sponsored by Canberra CBD Ltd.
For a list of events and locations visit
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