Alethea Beetson (Artistic Director of Digi Youth Arts and Indigenous Engagement Coordinator at Queensland Museum) is an Aboriginal artist who has worked extensively with Indigenous communities and youth across multiple art forms to inspire new works responding to collections, cultural heritage and the impact of colonisation.
We sat down to chat with Alethea about Brisbane Writers Festival, and the upcoming performance of Carpentaria, taking place inside Angel's Palace. Follow Alethea on Twitter here.
Book now to see Carpentaria: A Performance.
What has been the most enjoyable part of making the show?
Reading Carpentaria and seeing Gordon Hookey’s dome artwork for the first time. Both artists are truly masters at what they do so it is no wonder the work created for Angel’s Palace is as monumental and beautiful as it is.
What is the biggest challenge in bringing Carpentaria to life?
It is a big story with lots of little stories. There are so many sentences that nail my people’s history pre and post contact. I remember sharing many quotes from the book with a friend as I was reading it and we both fell in love with the way Alexis could detonate a bomb in our hearts with just one sentence...but over and over and over again.
Who are some of the characters the audience will meet as part of the performance?
Angel Day - it is her palace after all. Normal Phantom. Mozzie Fishman. Will Phantom. And our ancestors will be there with us.
Who would enjoy seeing Carpentaria?
The performance is inspired by many parts of the book so there is something for everyone. If you love epic stories of any kind this is a must see.
What can audiences expect when they attend a performance of Carpentaria?
Awe and appreciation for Carpentaria by Alexis Wright. We only show the audience a small snippet of a cleverly crafted, epic story that is full of wonder and admiration for this country’s deep history.
Carpentaria... of course!
been listening to…
I create a play list for every show to help me think it through. The Carpentaria one includes some Lional Richie, Hank Williams, AC DC, Bob Marley, Sonny & Cher, Creedence Clearwater Revival.
Book I most often recommend…
Lately it has been Carpentaria. I had to read it very quickly and intensely. But would advise others to take their time with it. Let it sink in and change/affirm who you are in relation to where we are standing - depending on your heritage.
Last live performance I attended….
Bennelong by Bangarra.
Last moment of professional or creative envy…
Not so much envy but audible sigh like awe when it comes to Jacob Nash’s sets (from Bangarra). Every time I see one of their shows. The first time I ever felt envious of a piece of writing was The Elders series in Black Comedy. It was gold.
I wish I knew more about…
Some of the deep history connected to stories like Carpentaria. You don’t always get to learn about this in education or the arts. I have felt privilege to learn what I have been able to working on this show.