LITTLE ANDROMEDA is a pop-up performing arts venue that opened last week and will be around until mid-Nov. It’s a bittersweet thing. Bitter cos it’s a fully fledged idea and concept for the exact site that it sits on, that got passed up by the powers-that-be in favour of a tired and tested alternative for our designated Performing Arts Precinct.
So in lieu of being able to make the full, permanent, dream a reality, we get a mini, short-lived version, for 5 weeks only. A wonderful lil taster of what could have been. Of what got passed up. Of what we lost, before we even got it. Which is a bit heartbreaking, really.
It would be a bit like sending me off to live with Jeff Goldblum, in L.A. In his mansion with all of his amazing Gucci towel robes, fancy coffee, his devoted, un-waivering love, and endless epic make-out sessions under the Hollywood sign, only for me to be told after 5 weeks, “oh yeah sorry you can’t have this EVER AGAIN” and then you send me back to Cracked City and the Tinder Cesspit Wasteland. Fucking devastating stuff, mates.
What I hope the goal is, is that everyone who gets a taste of what could have been, over the coming weeks, will see the full importance and potential of the LITTLE ANDROMEDA offering, and help champion the project so that it does one day become a reality.
But for now, the joy is in this space and atmosphere that has been created, that we get to enjoy, as fleeting as it may be. Just to live in the moment, for what it is, which we’ve become quite good at in Cracked City.
I went last night, on a last minute whim, cos I was in the mood to dress up, get amongst some noise and see where the night took me. Here’s 10 things about LITTLE ANDROMEDA that I adored:
This list is in no ranking order, it’s just how I jotted them down. But I did pay $14 for some slabs of deep fried halloumi, and chips, from a food truck. It was worth every cent. And now I can say that I have truly lived.
I went to two shows. One was $10. The other was $15. That is how live performance should be. There’s a reason I don’t go to much theatre in this place, and its the $50-$70 average price tag. This is how it should be. This is how you get people to live events!
Last night had the air of a fringe festival. Cheap. Loose. Casual. Luck of the draw. Not knowing what you’re gonna see, or what it’s gonna be like. But when tickets are that cheap, you’ve got a few beers in you, and you’ve caught the buzz of the place, you’re willing to just roll with it. There’s 5 shows on a day, every day, and every day is different. How bloody exciting is that?
The bar has a beer tap that is a saxophone and plays music when it pours. This is the a-lil-bit-tipsy adult equivalent of Baby Shark. A+. Please keep feeding me your beverage-based gimmicks.
I got so nostalgic, pals. And I hate that word. I think nostalgia can be a very dangerous thing. But I admit it. I got nostalgic for those pop up venues and events in those first 5 years post-Everything. The Pallet Pavilion. FESTA. Container malls. The original Smash Palace.
The rough and make shift things, plonked on top of gravel lots, never being quite sure how long it was going to last for. Out little treasures, amongst the bleakest of times, lurking behind Wilson car parks, the noise of construction and vast grey emptiness.
These flash-in-a-pan places with no weather proofing, air con, proper toilets or even walls. Just lots of people gathering together, happy to once again be out, to have something to do. There’s so much more energy and freedom when nothing is too pretty, or precious. It breaks down social barriers, prejudices, and makes these places accessible to all. I’m always worried we’re going to lose this spirit and these kinds of things as the city recovers and rebuilds with glass palaces. Like a version of post-recovery gentrification, so be reminded of those early days last night was weirdly comforting?
I mean look at it. You’d never guess what fabulous things this place held inside, and I love that.
Ray Shipley’s He & She. My first show of the night. This was sold out. Over 300 packed in, standing room only. They were a delight and I felt very, very lucky to be part of that moment. I think we all felt like we were part of something special for that hour, in this unique setting.
People everywhere. Eating. Drinking. At the shows. And different people I don’t usually see around, which for Chch that’s quite an accomplishment. Especially when it comes to the arts. It was a cold night, and there were lots of other things on elsewhere in town. Yet LITTLE ANDROMEDA had a pulse and atmosphere. Unless you live in Cracked City you have no idea what a feat that is.
All my favourite places have festoon lights strung overhead. They are the venue equivalent of putting glitter on your face and body in order to distract from lines and rough edges (hi there, I am the glitter queen). I think festoons are well swoony. Theirs are purple and give everything a very nice David Lynch quality. I dig it. Festoons = good place. That’s a life rule that I’ll declare safe to abide by.
I didn’t know what this show was. But after Ray Shipley, my friends who I ran into were staying on for this second show, Fully Sik, and so I did too (thanks to the beauty of cheap tickets, and stacked shows – what a shock right? It’s pretty simple – if you make things cheap people WILL go! We WANT to go! Just make it within reach!). Tessa Water’s show was a fast paced hour of feminist sketches, comedy and audience games/ participation (but not in a bad scary way). I’m not gonna lie, I was VERY in awe of her pink sequin blazer, which was so badass. Tessa said I had great earrings. She was so cool. I want to be her friend. I want to steal her jacket.
Accessible. Accessible. Accessible. THIS is what the arts should be. What it NEEDS to be. This is BETTER ARTS! That you can drop $10 and just go see something. You don’t need to over-plan or over-think it. You don’t need to analyse it. Or brag about how fancy, intellectual and cultured you are. Or for it to be a Special Occassion to have a reason to go.
Live performance just needs to be a case of being a thing we go to, that we can go to, on a whim, because the mood struck us and it’s there. Where you rock up, run into friends, grab a couple of cheap door sales, and suddenly you’ve got yourself a night – which is exactly what i did last night. I wish everyone would stop over complicating things. And just give accessible spaces and places for this to be a regular thing. For all people to use. It shouldn’t be that hard, right?
After all, we all win. Artists have a space to create and perform, test work and grow. The audience has somewhere to go, to be challenged, and be entertained. And it makes the city a more interesting, well-rounded, educated, diverse and attractive place to be.
Which I feel is the entire point and mission of LITTLE ANDROMEDA.
And just drives home why it is so important.
The Jumpsuit. New ridiculous earrings. 3kg of glitter on my eyes. I didn’t know where I was going or what my night was going to hold when I left the house. But I figured that in this ensemble I was ready for whatever came my way.
Turns our that those portable toilet units have really great light for selfies. Who knew?!
I really, really, recommend that you get along to LITTLE ANDROMEDA. It’ll be gone in a flash, and I truly get the feeling that in years to come, those who got to experience it, will hark back to, “Remember that purple performance tent with the festoons and the sax beer, and we saw ALL THOSE THINGS? That’s was a brilliant, fun, time”.
Great job, team.
– Bonjela x
Corner Gloucester & Colombo St
Shows daily until 15 Nov
Website for full programme details, bookings, etc.