Celebrating roller-skating culture at RINK

21 Nov 2019

Celebrating roller-skating culture at RINK

R.I.N.K, a celebration of roller-skating culture by local dance collective Everybody Now, in collaboration with performing artist and author Nadia Suunde, is one of the 12 projects that are receiving funding and support from our Creative Development Program.

Nadia shared with us her thoughts about RINK, the inspiration for the project and how the Creative Development Program has helped develop their ideas:

‘We’ve just finished an incredible four days of creative development at HOTA where we sunk ourselves into the Artlab and shared stories from our skate days, spun our wheels  across the Outdoor Stage and went hard at the Tweed Heads roller rink amongst a throng of pre-adolescent party goers, trick-skaters, newbies, Mums, Dads and sweaty teens. All of these experiences underpinned with the music that is the RINK.

‘Our inspiration for this show took its first form in the shape of a Gold Coast and Tweed Valley woman called Simone Ruhan – or Monie Bones. Monie is a powerhouse creative, a master of all things roller skating and the one time president of the Tweed Valley Rollers derby league. Her energy, flare and passion for the RINK really got things rolling and once we started…we couldn’t stop. Even the name for this show is inspired by her. She is our Yoda of the rink and we’re thrilled and honoured to have her working with us on this project.

‘It’s easy to let your imagination go crazy when considering what story could be told about roller skating. It’s a multi-coloured feast of community, movement and music and it was always my intention that the perfect team to bring this to its theatrical form was the Australian company Everybody NOW! I’m so incredibly happy that this is what’s happening.

‘RINK will be a large scale musical theatre work and our first stage of creative development was to really dig in and explore the deeper stories, characters, motivations and revelations that have played out on the rink – most particularly through women’s roller derby. This process of sharing stories was incredibly emotional and powerful. Flying ten centimetres off the ground can have a profound effect on a person’s sense of self, confidence and life direction. There are big and important stories here to tell. I can’t wait for this show to happen.

‘Ahhhh….and then there’s the music. We’re absolutely thrilled to have the legendary Luke McDonald working with us as a songwriter and musical director. Exploring and finding inspiration in the classic songs of roller skating is a never-ending rabbit warren of potent power and joy. I listened to our working playlist through my headphones as I did the groceries on Monday night…it took ALL of my willpower not to dance down the cereal aisle when Blondie broke loose with ‘One Way or Another’.  We will be taking inspiration from these classics and writing brand new songs for RINK, teaming them alongside the greats. Seriously….the music. So good.

‘The Creative Development Program allowed us to take our rough diamond of inspiration for RINK, shine it under a light and really begin to explore its facets. To do this at HOTA (a true home of the arts) was a complete joy. Our team were welcomed, encouraged and surrounded throughout the experience by other awesome Gold Coast artists and arts workers making magic happen.

‘RINK is a big project with huge national and international potential. Each stage of its development is critical, and we’re thrilled with the results of our first four days at HOTA. We’re well on the journey towards creating a musical theatre experience that moves and inspires its audiences through the stories of the RINK….one way…or another.’

Image: Nadia Suunde, Simone Ruhan, Luke McDonald and Ian Pidd

This project has been supported by HOTA Home of Arts and City of Gold Coast through HOTA’s Creative Development Program.