Emily McKnight

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Emily McKnight is an emerging performance artist committed to working and developing her skills in children’s entertainment. She graduated from the three-year acting course at the Actors’ Centre in Sydney in 2015. Since her studies, she has worked in a myriad of forms of children’s entertainment and performance and is committed to developing her skills and craft in this area. Emily will be supported to attend the 2020 Visioni di futuro International Children’s Festival held in Bologna, Italy.

Tell us about your current practice?

I regularly appear in the children’s television show Jay’s Jungle on channel 7Two. I currently write and present children’s classical music shows for the Ku-ring-gai Philharmonic Orchestra Kids Proms concerts, the Acacia Quartet and present children’s activities at Sydney Symphony family concerts. In 2017 I toured with the performance-based education group Poetry In Action, travelling to schools across Australia, New Zealand and Hong Kong, performing works based around poetry and speeches. I regularly work with theatre companies around Sydney.

I have just released my debut album as the children’s singer Emily Who, which is now available on iTunes, Spotify and Google music and is currently being played on ABC Kids radio and Kinderling radio. I intend to tour a live show to libraries, preschools and Christmas carol events at the end of 2019.

What is the professional development opportunity you will embark on? 

I will be attending the Visioni di futuro International Children's Festival in Bologna for ten days. I have been selected as the only Australian delegate to be part of the Artists Meet Early Years program. Visioni is a festival of theatre and culture dedicated to early years, which will become part of the new EU project, Mapping: A map on the aesthetics of performing arts for early years.

The Artists Meet Early Years program offers 10 young artists from around the world the chance to meet children in an educational setting, such as crèches and kindergartens. I will have the opportunity to present a small performance or workshop in order to collect suggestions and images for the development of artistic research and work. I will visit educational services belonging to The Institution for Schools and Education of the Municipality of Bologna, dedicated to children 0–3 and 3–6 years old.

Then, in order to tell a fragment of my experience, there will be a set in the festival program dedicated to the Artists Meet Early Years delegates, in which we will share observations and the performance or workshop that we presented in the school. I will have the chance to take part in the events over the ten-day festival (such as shows, conferences, workshops, meetings), but also to exchange my experiences with other artists. Australia does not have any festival that would allow me to have this experience, to work with young children and other children's performers from all around the world.

How will this advance your art practice?

I am focusing my career on children's performance. At this stage, I am mostly working on independent and self-funded projects, but I am striving to advance my career in whatever way I can. I believe I have a lot to offer to the children's entertainment sector and by participating in this program at the festival in Bologna I will learn new skills and meet people to give me new ideas. I think it is also significant that I am the only Australian delegate for this program. This means that I will be carefully annotating my experience, so as to bring back new knowledge to the Australian children's entertainment sector. It will also aid my practice as I continue to work with children through my theatre shows and my Emily Who songs.

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