Kerensa Diball. Image: Melbourne Mouse.

The Ian Potter Cultural Trust 19 Sep 2019

Kerensa Diball

An Emerging Artist Grant supported Kerensa Diball in undertaking professional development opportunities in the UK, namely a mentorship with artist Bryony Kimmings.

Kerensa Diball is a Melbourne-based performance maker and performer working in experimental and contemporary theatre.

Kerensa was supported by a Cultural Trust grant in 2019 to undertake professional development opportunities in the UK, namely a mentorship with artist Bryony Kimmings. Kerensa is currently preparing to debut her show The Kick Inside at Melbourne Fringe. We caught up with her to find out about her Cultural Trust grant experience, the new show and what she has planned for the future.

What drew you to the performing arts?

I come from both a performing arts and community development background so I’m interested in work that speaks to the marginalised in our community. My work is often political but told through personal experience and story, whether it be my story or someone else’s.

The thing I love about performance is the live exchange, the person-to-person connection, and the powerful ripple effect that can have. I also love the surprise and joy that can be created through performance and how expansive that is.

How did your mentorship with Bryony Kimmings further your artistic practice?

Working with Bryony furthered my artistic practice in so many ways. Most importantly, I have a greater understanding of how the personal speaks to the universal and finding where our story connects to a larger narrative. Whether I’m looking at my own experience, or another's, it’s about finding that very human experience amongst a greater issue.

We experimented a lot with form and finding the best way to say what needed to be said. Working with her reminded me of how appealing individual human quirks and perspectives are and how they give us permission to shift our thinking patterns outside of the mainstream.

You are currently working on The Kick Inside, which will debut at Melbourne Fringe; what can audience members expect from this show?

A surreal and daring jaunt into one woman’s decision to be child-free, and how personal and societal expectations influence our decision-making. It’s playful and kooky at times and raw and honest at others.

I consider my mother’s desire for grandchildren, crack open the canon of capitalism, mourn the lack of female role models, and embark on a quest to become a childless goddess. Poignant and celebratory, The Kick Inside is an attempt to understand why being childfree is fundamentally challenging to us all, myself included.

Revel in the messiness of buggering off all that good and bad advice and making your own glorious path. You can expect absurd humour, psychedelic trips, a breeding aphid and a bit of bad dancing in an attempt to avoid those quiet moments where fear and loneliness creep in.

The work is being premiered at Melbourne Fringe 2019 in the Fringe Hub, 21-29 September. The work will then tour to Adelaide Fringe before travelling overseas for Edinburgh Fringe 2020.

What do you envisage for the next stage in your career, how has a Cultural Trust grant helped your career journey?

I’ll continue my (auto)biographical live-art collaboration with Yuhui Ng-Rodriguez.

We have two projects in the works:

The Courthouse residency. The final development of The Kick Inside and building and hosting an (auto)biographical workshop for Geelong-based artists.

Geelong Sweats. A socially engaged performance, created in collaboration with the community members from Waterworld gym in Corio and in partnership with the Geelong Performing Arts Centre.

Thanks to The Ian Potter Cultural Trust, I was able to spend time in the UK connecting with industry and building long-term relationships with presenters, venues and audience. I’ll continue to build a National and International career through touring The Kick Inside in 2020 in Australia and the UK.