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Centre Stage with… Jo Randerson

NAME: Jo Randerson // ROLE: Performer/Writer // SHOW: Banging Cymbal, Clanging Gong

What’s the best show you’ve ever seen?

The best show I have ever seen was called ‘Nuts Coconuts’. It was in the Edinburgh Festival. The actual show started half an hour before the doors opened for the audience, so the show ’finished’ about ten minutes after everyone had finally found their seats. Then they packed the whole lighting rig away in front of us and we had to help fold the curtains. We got sandwiches too and drinks at the end for helping. It was very funny, participatory, de-constructive. Some people hated it.

Why do you do what you do?

I couldn’t find what I wanted to do when I was leaving school. None of the suggestions offered connected with me, and no one mentioned ‘artist’ as a possibility. Every day, I try to be honest about the intentions and impulses that I have as a human, and then I try to hustle my way towards some sort of livelihood which can feed my family from these. ‘Artist’ is one of the most free roles that I know –since I am not working for ‘the man’ , I am essentially in control of my own time and energy. This tremendous freedom, never to have to tow a party line or follow corporate speak is why I stay in this precarious and liberating profession. It leaves me free like a guerrilla warrior to interact with any and all people/groups in society on my own terms.

What was the first ever performance you were in?

My first performance was in a school play at primary school. I had to play a widow, crying because her husband had died. I was so angry. I didn’t want to cry, I didn’t feel sad about losing some mythical male character, I wanted to play a part where I could fight someone or at least do something active. To this day I am still offered these passive, reactive female roles which I will never play. In some ways that is why I wrote ‘Banging Cymbal’.

What excites you about Perth?

I am excited about Perth because Australia and New Zealand have a lot in common, but also some very significant differences.,politically, geographically and socially. I would like to know more about my neighbours at this time of global change. I have found Australian audiences less conventional than New Zealand audiences (which is great) – in New Zealand our work is ‘out there’ but in Australia its considered ‘original and unique’. Perth in particular I have never been to and am curious to experience a Perth response to this pretty extreme and unusual character.

What item can’t you live without in the rehearsal room?



Find out more about Banging Cymbal, Clanging Gong by Jo Randerson.