Ama-Zing: Gold Coast launches historic culture, arts programme for 2021

The Gold Coast’s Home of the Arts (HOTA) programme to launch into 2021 has captured a “one time in history” opportunity to pull world-renowned artists together to treat local audiences.

Collider by Circa (Photo: Amy-Jo Stalinescu)

Collider by Circa (Photo: Amy-Jo Stalinescu)

The new programme, Zing, that will run from January to April, shows just how HOTA has been at the forefront of the arts and culture sector response to the pandemic and been able to get the scoop on programming throughout COVID-19.

Since reopening in July, HOTA has presented 63 bands made up of 191 artists.

Over just 20 weeks, this has included live performances from state companies like the Queensland Symphony Orchestra, to national treasures like Dami Im and grassroots local bands like Electrik Lemonade, Hannah Campbell and Benny D Williams.

“Reflecting back on the year, I’m proud to say that HOTA has led the way nationally in the arts and culture sector in response to the global pandemic,” HOTA chief Criena Gehrke said.

“As soon as we were able, we welcomed back our artists and community to HOTA.”

Gehrke said this also included intimate lakeside performances by the Queensland Ballet as well legendary singer-songwriter Russell Morris for the Fireside program.

Company 2 (Photo: Liquidity Marketing)

Over 15,000 visitors attended the east coast premiere of the major earth installation Gaia during Wonder, while HOTA also fast-tracked a $100,000 commission for artists to be involved in the inaugural HOTA Gallery exhibition Solid Gold.

In what has been a difficult time for the sector struggling in an environment of pandemic-induced lockdowns, restrictions and the months-long collapse of live shows, HOTA has been able to create “unique opportunities,” Gehrke said.

HOTA has been one organisation able to capitalise on a rich seam of world-renowned and in-demand artistic talent who have been prevented from touring.

By creating events and stacking its COVID-compliant programming with these artists, HOTA has been able to showcase a wealth of talent who would rarely be available to local audiences.

A prime example is Scoop!, the three-day event combining ice cream, arts and acrobatics that will be a first-of-its-kind festival on the Gold Coast, which kicks off the 2021 Zing programme.

Scoop! will showcase two world-renowned ensembles – Circa and Company 2 – each performing bespoke programmes.

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Company 2 will tightrope walk across HOTA’s Evandale Lake in a never-before-seen acrobatic performance of The Wired Moon and the Ice Cream Floor set to live music.

Artistic director Chelsea McGuffin’s production draws from circus, dance and music to create the high-wire spectacle.

Queensland’s cutting-edge contemporary circus, Circa, will present its new work Collider.

In Collider, choreographer Elise May spins Circa’s acrobats within a large plastic sphere called ‘Torus’, where the acrobats speed up, creating energy and near misses mimicking particles in a Hadron Collider.

Acrobatic Archer (Photo: Liquidity Marketing)

As well as the major international touring companies, Scoop! will pull together renowned individual artists including Australia’s holder of 55 Guinness World Records, The Space Cowboy, presenting the after-dark Voodoo Revue featuring Zoe L’amore as the Pain Proof Pin Up, Phoebe Blue as the Sizzling Siren of Sideshow, and Lolly Pop the Acrobatic Archer.

“2020 has been a very difficult year for our industry and I’m incredibly proud that HOTA has led the way by supporting a huge number of artists since we reopened,” Gehrke said.

“Through the challenges, we’ve found unique opportunities and we kick-start the year presenting Scoop! with world renowned Queensland circus companies like Circa and Company 2,”

“Typically these companies would be performing throughout the world, so to have them both performing in their own backyard at the same festival, full of ice cream and other great artists, is a real privilege and a huge coup for the Gold Coast.”

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