Brisbane City Council supports creative sector to reach a national audience
Ratu Lewis | On 05, Nov 2018
Little Match Productions The Owl and the Pussycat is an enchanting and intimate opera for children, based on Edward Lear’s beloved poem.
With four festivals under the show’s belt including Brisbane Festival 2018, Alicia Cush, Creative Producer, took time out to reflect on how funding can make or break a project.
The Owl and the Pussycat was created for children 4-10 years and provides an interactive journey to help the lovable couple reach their destination. This charming children’s work melds live performance, operatic vocals, music and experiential theatre inside a giant pea-green boat.
The Creative Issue: How did The Owl and the Pussycat come about?
Alicia Cush: Really, it came from nowhere two and half years ago. It all started in a café in Brisbane’s inner-city suburb of West End when I was having a coffee with my collaborator and designer Penny Challon. We don’t really have time to come up with new projects as we are always delivering, but there was an owl and the pussycat image on the front of the menu and I’ve wanted to do an opera for young audiences, so it went from there.
TCI: Who worked on this project and how did it kick off?
Alicia Cush: The project would not have happened if it wasn’t for Brisbane City Council’s Creative Sparks Grant, which is a joint initiative of the Queensland Government through Arts Queensland.
I applied for the grant with the hope to work with four amazing women. We had never worked together but admired each other’s work. It was important to me to work with women with young children who had some shared experience and understanding of the audience.
Five women worked together to create The Owl and the Pussycat, including Kathryn Marquet (Librettist), Lisa Cheney (Composer), Penny Challen (Designer), Bridget Boyle (Director) and me Alicia Cush (Creative Producer).
TCI: What did the funding mean for the project?
Alicia Cush: The Creative Sparks Grant provided the funds to develop the The Owl and the Pussycat. It meant that I was able to get everyone together and develop a very solid project. Without the grant the project would not have happened.
The support from Council and Arts Queensland also meant that other funding avenues opened up to us. We crowd funded and with additional support, were able to take the project out to market.
TCI: What advice would you have for other creative people thinking about applying for a grant?
Alicia Cush: I really recommend making sure that your project is the right fit for the grant. I tend to work backwards so see the end goal and find the funds to support it along the way.
If you don’t know if your project is a good fit, visit the information sessions or pick up the phone and talk to someone in the team. They are very insightful and can provide hints and tips to ensure your application is on the right path. Make sure you tick off all the eligibility too! This means the right location, age or whatever.
TCI: What next for The Owl and the Pussycat? Is it all smooth sailing?
Alicia Cush: We have had a very busy year with the production being featured at four major festivals, including Festival 2018 (Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games) and Brisbane Festival, and is now in preparation to take on a national tour in 2020.
Open on 5 November 2018, Brisbane City Council offers a range of Creative and History Grants providing more to see and do in our clean, green Brisbane.