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The Farm enters the cage at APAM

A typical day at the office turns into a cage-fight style battleground as The Farm presents Cockfight, a new dance theatre work that sees two men from different age groups embroiled in a power struggle. The performance explores frailty and tension as these men challenge each other's self worth, resulting in an escalating game of one-upmanship. The Farm is the Gold Coast’s first professional dance theatre company and is comprised of choreographers, independent dancers, and a light and sound designer. Over the past eight years the company has collaborated with other creatives to stage shows that have been seen nationally and internationally. We talk to The Farm's Artistic Director, Gavin Webber, about his love for adventure and his thoughts on the Gold Coast art scene.


What would you be doing if you weren’t making art?

Probably still hitch-hiking my way around the country. I started early and jumped my first and only freight train at 15 years old. I maybe thought I was Jack Kerouac, but without the writing skill. Or a travel photographer perhaps. Or a male model? 


What keeps you enthused in the arts industry, and what really gets your creative juices bubbling?

I love to solve a problem, in the room, on the floor, or more often these days on a sandbar on the Gold Coast. I love the teamwork and the sense of being in the trenches together when it gets tough. In the end it’s not knowing what will happen next that keeps me interested.

When did you first consider yourself a full-time artist?

I remember being on tour in Sydney with Meryl Tankard when we were making a show with the Australian Opera. We were on per diems for two months, and I remember catching a taxi home and then ordering takeaway food from a restaurant! That was a moment.


Cockfight by The Farm. Photography by Kate Holmes


What’s the best thing about being an artist in Australia?

The response to landscape does it for me. I have always been an Australian artist, even when I lived in Belgium or Germany. It never left me.


Are you a collector? If so, what do you collect?

I’m definitely not a hoarder, I’ve moved country too many times to really do that, but I am proudly developing a vinyl collection. The record player was one of the most impractical and cool things I brought back from Germany.


What’s the coolest art tip you’ve ever received?

'Set your own agenda'. Still a hard thing to do and I tend to suffer from doubt, but I keep reminding myself to do it. Your fascinations are what drive you, not someone else’s.


How would you describe the Gold Coast arts scene?

It’s growing rapidly. When we first moved here everyone in the arts world was saying, “What are you doing, going there?”. Now everyone is interested in what we do and wants to do stuff with us! It’s fresh and free from preconceptions, which I love. Every place I’ve been – whether in Australia or overseas – suffers from a set of standards and fashionable trends that is not often recognised. There are sets of values which often inform, and sometime constrict, what gets made. On the Gold Coast, however, there is a sense that anything goes.


What are you most looking forward to at APAM 2016? 

Being in the arts community, bumping into people I know and like, and performing Cockfight. We are really proud of this work; it has heart, imagination, and goes far in a lot of different ways. I just want to show it off!



COCKFIGHT short from Gavin Webber on Vimeo.


Cockfight is presented by The Farm with guest artist Julian Louis, and is co-produced by Performing Lines and and NORPA. 
In 2014 The Farm recieved support from Arts Queensland to develop Cockfight. Read more in our case study on The Farm.

APAM delegates can catch The Farm on Thurs 25 February, 12:45pm – 2:00pm (Performance: 60 mins) at Cremorne Theatre, QPAC. 
Join the conversation via #APAM2016. Connect with The Farm via FacebookInstagram, and Twitter or visit The Farm website.

Check out our other Q&A Profiles with the Queensland artists/companies showcasing at APAM in 2016: Kate McDonaldLiesel Zink, Luke Jaaniste, Circa.