Ken Longworth | This is Not Art Festival bigger than ever

THIS is Not Art, the cultural festival that brings performers to Newcastle from all parts of Australia, is bigger than ever this year.

The 19th festival features more than 190 events presented in 22 CBD venues from Thursday, September 29, to Sunday, October 2.

The Crack Theatre Festival, one of the key elements of This is Not Art, will include 66 performances of more than 40 theatre works, several of which will be further developed over the four days with the participation of audience members.

And as 80 per cent of applications for inclusion in Crack came from female artists, that festival will be dedicated on Saturday, October 1, to women-led teams.

REHEARSALS: Big One Little One will premiere their new show ‘We always wanted to be professional dancers’ at the Crack Theatre Festival.

REHEARSALS: Big One Little One will premiere their new show ‘We always wanted to be professional dancers’ at the Crack Theatre Festival.

The Crack program includes a new show, We always wanted to be professional dancers, that was put together by members of Big One Little One, a performance collective created by people who began their theatre work in Newcastle and are now spread across Australia, with one founder working in New York.

We always wanted to be professional dancers, which features Big One Little One’s Penelope Kentish and Sarah Coffee, along with Newcastle guest artist Nola Wallace, looks at childhood dreams about being performers and if it’s ever too late to become a ballerina or learn to sing.

The show features a Newcastle choir and dancers, as well as performers from Tantrum Youth Arts. 

There will be performances of the 90-minute show at The Jungle, 1/151 Hunter Street, on Friday, September 30, at 1.30pm, and Pivot Dance, 22 Newcomen Street, on Saturday, October 1, at 1.30pm.

Tantrum members can also be seen in two shows that feature individual works developed as part of the company’s Trajectory program under the guidance of performance artist Lottie Consalvo. The first show, Trajectory: Solo Works, is at Pivot Dance on Friday, September 30, at 1.30pm, with performers Gillian Adamson, Jamee Campbell, Caitlin Dempsey, Zana Kobayashi, Chris Le Page, Johanna Lynch and Mel O’Dell. The second, Trajectory: Residency – The Youngest I Am Ever Going to Be, at Pivot Dance on Sunday, October 2, at 2.30pm, features emerging artist Ethan Andrews exploring his life, including growing up in a small town with Australia’s highest ratio of men to women.

The other Crack Theatre shows look at subjects including fly in, fly out workers, a tough and glittery women bikie gang, a dance performer with Down’s syndrome who celebrates her late sister’s life through dance. Entry to most shows is free.

Go to for program details of all This is Not Art events that also include the National Young Writers Festival and Critical Animals.

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