SPOTLIGHT: Zack Lewin
We’re putting a spotlight on our super talented Playwave Creatives! Read about their highlights as part of the Creative team and the inspiring journeys they are on.
First up is our OG Playwave Creative, Zack!
When did you become a Playwaver and what drew you to become a Playwave Creative?
I was the first Playwave Creative! In 2016 the creators of Playwave approached me to trial the Playwave Creative program before it launched - like a beta tester. It was a production at Belvoir, and I made a little video about it. As Playwave continued to grow I stuck around and contributed to the growth of Playwave and the Creative program.
Your favourite memory as a Playwave Creative?
For a while, Nicole Pingon and I were the only Playwave Creatives. My favourite memories would be all the time we spent together as the youngest people in a room full of theatre-subscribers. A strange environment to be in but being there with a friend made it feel like we could make those spaces ours.
What is keeping you busy in 2023?
I’m in Berlin at the moment about to start a two-month Hospitanz at the Schaubühne. I’m studying my Master of Theatre (Dramaturgy) at VCA at the University of Melbourne. I also have an independent arts practice as a Dramaturg - I have started work as the Franchise Dramaturg on FlickFlickCity’s famous Slutnik™ series and as an assistant Dramaturg on projects such as The Heart of Melbourne Connect and Sacrifice by Robert Walton, a technological artist and the Dean’s Research Fellow in the Faculty of Fine Arts and Music at UniMelb.
Who or what inspires you creatively/inspires your creative practice?
How do I choose! I have to say my peers, the people who I surround myself with creatively, study with and see art with. I can’t possibly name them all, if I did I would effortlessly go on forever about these incredible friends and colleagues. But just a handful:
My friend and classmate Bryan Andy who is leading the Blak voice of mainstage theatre as the new First Nations Dramaturg of MTC. My collaborator Roshelle Fong, who’s signature blend of kitschy humour and feminist terror have earned her electric new play ‘红铅 The Red Lead’ the International Award from the Bruntwood Prize for Playwrighting. My friend Derrick Duan who uses their endless charisma to engage both peers and community in grass-roots arts experiences while sustaining a vibrant digital/dance practice. Or my long-term friend and collaborator Sophie Florence Ward who champions the (cheese alert!) power of friendship in an artist’s (my) life and work.
How has being a Playwaver impacted your experience of the arts in Sydney?
Finding yourself in this industry is not effortless, it’s a skill you cultivate with time and mistakes. Like spilling a drink on someone’s white suit in a foyer, admitting you don’t know who Chekhov is or complaining about the sh*t writing in a show… to the writer. All of these things happen, they’re supposed to happen. For me, Playwave helped open the guts of the Sydney arts scene/industry by exposing me to the complex organisational, social and political structures which govern it, and empowering me to just be a kid and make mistakes boldly in the face of it all.
TL/DR: It demystified it.
Your top 3 picks for the best places to experience the arts and live performance in Sydney.
3. This year’s Griffin season looks great! I’m especially excited for Re:Group’s UFO in April. Their work is always ambitious, eclectic and full of heart.
2. The Flying Nun by BrandX! The tickets are cheap, and the performances are always a little out there. It’s the perfect place to see a quick, conversation-starting show before getting a drink on Oxford Street (if you’re over 18 😉 )
1. Of course Shopfront is number one. At no other organisation have I seen such progressive co-creative artmaking with as diverse a member base. The shows at/by Shopfront are fearless, ambitious and joyful.
What would people be surprised to know about you?
Maybe not a surprise to those subjected to my presentations at uni… but I’m quite excited to be collaborating with Sophie Florence Ward on some new short Web Comics as we prepare to compete in Original Character Tournaments later this year.
What has been the best arts event you’ve been to this year?
For Lunar New Year my friend Derrick Duan and their collaborators celebrated with their community by hosting an incredible party which included a full program of live performance, art installations and live music by Asian creatives. Similarly, I recently collaborated with Marcus McKenzie on his performance “The Indifference Of The Machine Contiguous To The Syllables Of The Stomach” at a similar event called “CANTOS.” The occupiers of a home in Collingwood opened this space to artists to create a 3-hour afternoon event with four 20-minute performances, snacks and socialisation.
This year I’ve enjoyed experiencing events like these where an inspiring, elevating atmosphere is created just by activating a space as simple as a home into an arts venue
I would encourage go-getters to give it a go in their own homes!
What arts events are you most looking forward to this year?
Here in Berlin, I am excited to experience the FIND (Festival Internationale Neue Dramatik) some extremely influential international artists will all be showing work at the Schaubühne and I am excited to be involved.
Closer to home in Naarm Melbourne the second Rising Festival will occur mid-year. The city of Melbourne is culturally scarred by the pandemic and consequentially Rising has a backlog of extremely exciting work to showcase. Last year’s was amazing and this year’s will surely follow suit.
And in Sydney, of course, Shopfront is showcasing two entire ArtsLab seasons! We are spoiled to see so much emerging work in one year, all at 107 in Redfern.
Photos from above:
1. Zack on a train in Berlin
2. Zack with fellow collaborators of “Hivemind,” a site-responsive gamified experience at the Ian Potter Southbank Centre
3. Zack with Sophie Ward outside Hurstville Train Station. Photo by James Teng
4. Zack holding up a small robotic rock, surrounded by large robotic rocks, on the set of ‘Sacrifice’ by Robert Walton