Getting on the same Le Page
Chris Le Page is a muti talented Sydney based artist who runs Occupytam, a multi media theatre company. He is the kind of artist who works under the understanding of; 'If you want to make it, no one but you will get you there.' His work ethic is inspiring and his projects take audiences to places of confrontation and self-awareness. He chatted to us about his plans and future in the creative industry.
What inspires you?
Yeah - what inspires me? What a great opening. I find inspiration through exploring the stories of queer identity, observing the world around me with social rules that don’t make sense. I get inspired by seeing Australian contemporary performative works, seeing today’s Australia on stage and film. That’s exciting and it’s something I want to do. I want to explore the human experience and what makes us all similar within our different lives.
What is that drew you to creating your company Occupytam (theatre, arts & multi media)? And please give us some insight into the group.
Someone once told me that within the creative industry you don't apply for the jobs, you create them. I really took that to heart and thought if I want to create work, I need to create work. In the beginning of my emerging practice, I didn’t want to choose one medium and I wanted to focus on the collaboration process of the creating process. From these two things, I decided to create a creative collective that focuses on Theatre, Arts and Multi-Media (Film). At the start, I was the only one within the collective but now we are a staff of three. Georgia Murray, the casting director and the resident director and Adele Masters, the production manager. It’s great to have a team that is committed to this collective.
Do you find it hard working on so many projects at once? I personally find taking on more than a few projects causes me to get half way with them all then stop. In what ways to you manage this?
To put it bluntly - its stressful and hard. But I love it! I love always having things to do and it makes me feel like I’m on the right track. I have learnt that I enjoy the process of creating the event or production as much as doing the event or production. I think thats the key really. The way I manage the multiple works process is by writing down things that need to be done and doing them… I know that sounds super simplistic but its the truth. The work often starts out really big and confronting but once you start at it and set goals/deadlines the work then becomes less then you first thought or more achievable. Also now that there’s a OCCUPT:TAM team, using them and understanding that as a team we can achieve a lot.
Your works often centre around relevant issues in society such as coming to terms with sexuality, coming of age and ambitions vs expectations. They are issue which some audiences can connect with and other can find rather confronting. What are you hopes for the audience when presenting these topics to them?
Within my main medium, theatre, there is a role to make people confront the topics they don’t want to see, listen or address. As an artist, I believe its my job to do that. My latest play UNKNOWING explored the way trauma from sexual assault doesn't just effect the person but everything in that person’s life. Sexual assault is something that is way too common in today’s society. As I said before, observing the social rules that don’t make sense. It doesn’t makes sense that the statistics on sexual assault today is that high. Similar to this I feel as a feminist who’s an artist there is no way to not include feminism within my practice. In UNKNOWING, I wanted to put two strong women on stage that weren’t competing against each other and that are supporting each other… because thats what actually happens! Lastly, a very close friend of mine once gave me some writing advice. She said “Write what you know.” It was some great advice. For me, my work centres around queerness and sexuality only because thats what I live and know. In the pieces I write, the characters don’t come out, they are past that and onto the stage of their life where they are just living as a person within the LGBTI community. I hope the audience takes from my work that these topic deserve to be heard and these experiences deserve the respect to be listened to.
Being someone who isn’t typically inclined to theatre can you recommend a good place for me to begin my journey into the world of performance art?
Yeah, I would say to go to productions/ events and say hi. There is so much independent theatre being created in Sydney. Also search for Facebook groups and other social media sites for performative hubs. As someone in the hospitality industry, I would just ask around my work place because I have found a lot of people that I am going to work with this year, through people within my social circle who create work. Another way, if you want to start creating work is starting short course through acting/ theatre school and then network that way. Lastly, I will repeat what I have already said. If you want to start to create performative works, make performative works. The first one isn't going to be great but your second piece will definitely to better than the first.
Or (shameless plug) like OCCUPY:TAM’s social media sites and the LGBTI Theatre Festival’s social media sites. Or come to the LGBTI Theatre Festival where 7 emerging artists will showcase their original work. I’m sure they would love to chat we passionate emerging artists.
LGBTI Theatre Festival on the 28th, 28th and 31st of March @ The Blood Moon Theatre in World Bar.
By Andrew Tudehope