How Australian theatre is failing its sound designers and composers

A white middle-aged man in a theatre, with a guitar and headphones, frowning

“In the last couple of years, I’ve seen a lot of my colleagues drop out of the industry; a lot of them burn out and suffer serious mental health crises,” Edmondson told the ABC.

“David White’s letter resonated with me. We’re not far off that situation happening in Australia and I’ve seen people come uncomfortably close to that kind of point in their life because of the pressure in the job, and lack of understanding and support.”

Two jobs for the price of one

“Sound and composition … has the ability to truly creep its way into the back of the minds of the audience and help shape their engagement with the play, without being particularly overt. I think that’s a lot of the reason why it’s often overlooked,” Edmondson says.

Sound designers are responsible for all the sound elements in a production, from sound effects and mic-ing up performers to setting up speaker systems.

Edmondson, whose recent credits include Sydney Theatre Company’s award-winning six-hour epic The Harp In The South (sound designer, working with composer The Sweats) and Blackie Blackie Brown(assistant sound designer, to designer/composer Steve Toulmin), says sound designers often resort to unexpected sounds to achieve the desired effect.

In Blackie Blackie Brown, for example, Edmondson had to ask himself: “What is the sound of a giant pair of testicles exploding? … You’ve got to get creative.”

One solution? The “mating cry of foxes” — which when slowed-down sounds “low and haunting”.

A grey-haired middle-aged man with headphones around his neck gazes moodily into the cameraPHOTO: Stefan Gregory is a composer and sound designer who has been working in Australian theatre for 15 years. (ABC Arts: Teresa Tan)

Composers, meanwhile, write and arrange music for a production — but in today’s theatre, the roles of composer and sound designer are often combined.

Stefan Gregory, who won Best Sound Design at this year’s Sydney Theatre Awards for his work on The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui (STC), is a composer and sound designer who has been working in Australian theatre for 15 years.

Gregory says the trend towards combining the two roles emerged within the last 10 years, as composers increasingly began to work electronically.

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“The composition/sound design is expected to be fed actively into the room right through the rehearsal process,” Edmondson says.

After the day’s rehearsal, the sound designer/composer writes and mixes the music before programming it into the software. Then (hopefully) the director approves — or they’re forced to go back to the drawing board.

“Once you hit the theatre [for tech week] … you tend to come in for a 9am start and you’ll tend to work through till the theatre closes, which is generally 11pm. But larger productions you might not be out the door until midnight,” says Edmondson.

“If you’re a composer, you go home and sometimes rewrite a whole piece of music and you might be up to 3 or 4am and then back into the theatre early again.”

Gregory concurs, saying that in the final weeks of rehearsals he often works between 90 to 100-hour weeks.

And it’s not just the hours that are taxing.

“You’ve got to put your soul into this music — with the knowledge that someone’s going to listen to it for about three seconds and go ‘Nup, that’s not right’,” he says.

He estimates the ratio of music abandoned as opposed to used in the production as 10:1.

“The sound designers and composers I know all work extraordinarily hard and kill themselves, pretty much.”

Living ‘hand-to-mouth’

J David Franzke is a Melbourne-based Green Room Award-winning sound designer and composer who has worked in the industry for 25 years. Last year, he worked on Melbourne Theatre Company’s production of The Architect; currently he is working on Malthouse’s forthcoming production of Cloudstreet.

“If you’re working as a sound designer in live theatre you’re doing it as a passion. It’s not a sensible career choice,” Franzke says.

A middle-aged white man sits at a desk working on his computer, a dog in his lapPHOTO: Franzke describes his financial circumstances as “hand-to-mouth”. (ABC RN: Hannah Reich)

“I feel like I’ve spent the best part of 25 years with my nose down, tail up, just boring along working. I’ve popped out the other side and gone: ‘Oh! Where are all the things you’re meant to have when you’re almost 50?’ Like a house or a car, I don’t have any of that.”

Franzke works for 6-week blocks at a time on shows.

He describes his financial circumstances as “hand-to-mouth”.

Edmondson says he’s able to make a living wage but that he puts his “hourly rate for theatre work at between $15 and $18 per hour”. In his Facebook post, he said: “The janitors make more money out of my shows than I do (no shade to janitors, of course).”

Gregory says the hourly rate for being both composer and sound designer is “not good”, and says he chooses to work for companies that pay on the higher end of the industry’s spectrum.

“I will be going back to finding work as computer programmer this year — despite being one of the most in-demand in my field and having plenty of shows offered to me in Australia and overseas — because I want more free time to work on projects that are meaningful to me.”

The changing scope of sound design

A hand with wedding ring and watch adjusting knobs on a sound deskPHOTO: Sound design has changed significantly in the last 10 years. (ABC Arts: Teresa Tan)

“Sound designers/composers are paid a flat fee and that hasn’t really changed much at all in the last 10 years,” Edmonson says.

“It’s been fairly static — as have most of the fees of other creative departments — but unlike other departments, sound design has changed a lot in its scope in that time.”

With the rise of prestige TV, theatre audiences have come to expect more complex and immersive sound design, and technology has emerged that can realise that.

These developments have meant that delivery time for work has been cut down while tech costs have gone up. Edmondson says sound professionals need between $10-20,000 worth of equipment to start out in the industry.

Inequity in the industry

In order to remedy “the significant gender inequity” in the industry, Theatre Networks Australia has compiled a list of female, non-binary, and trans designers.

But one woman who has been working regularly in Australian theatre as a sound designer and composer is Kim “Busty Beatz” Bowers, with recent credits including cabaret show Hot Brown Honey and The Longest Minute (a co-production by Queensland Theatre and JUTE Theatre Company).

A black woman with a mic singing in front of a laptop on stage.PHOTO: Sound designer and composer Kim “Busty Beatz” Bowers says the theatre industry is not conducive to being a mother. (Supplied: Sean Young)

“I’m a mother and the theatre is not very conducive to that — especially [the role] of a sound artist. It’s a lot of late nights, and I wouldn’t say that I’m treated that great,” Bowers says.

“The last project I did seven drafts … a lot of that is hours that aren’t paid for,” she adds.

And it’s not just late nights that Bowers has to contend with.

“[I deal with] attitudes, ideas that because you’re a black woman, a woman of colour, that you’re only going to have a certain skill base, that you only work in a certain way … insidious stuff that is full-on.”

Better pay, recognition and education

While other designers in theatre are represented by the Australian Production Design Guild, Edmondson says sound designers are lacking specific union representation to advocate for change.

Yet, the time might be ripe for change.

“With all the cultural shift that we’re seeing in theatre at the moment surrounding safe spaces, mental health, appropriate behaviour and inclusion … I think that’s really opened the door for more honest, frank conversations,” says Edmonson.

“I’m seeing people really suffering from being overwhelmed and burnt out by this workload and … there’s such a small pool already in the industry to begin with, we just can’t afford to lose these people.”

The answer for Edmondson is better pay, improved mental health support, and bringing composers and sound designers on board earlier in the production process.

All of the practitioners interviewed for this piece feel that raising awareness is a crucial part of effecting change.

“It is about actually recognising the workload and recognising the number of hours [involved],” says Bowers.

Gregory says: “I think what’s really happening for the role is that it’s just become a lot more work than it used to be 10 years ago, and I think theatre companies haven’t really caught up … I find that I have to explain my role to pretty much every theatre company I work for.”

 

 

[“source=abc.net.au”]

Bebe Rexha can’t find a designer to dress her for the red carpet: ‘My size 8 ass is still going to the Grammys’

Bebe Rexha can’t find a designer to dress her for the Grammy Awards next month — because she is “too big.”

The singer, who is nominated in the Best New Artist and Best Country Duo/Group Performance categories, took to social media on Monday to explain her predicament three weeks before music’s big night, revealing she’s struggling to find an outfit.

“A lot of times artists will go and talk to designers, and they’ll make them custom dresses to walk the red carpet…” the Meant to Be star says in a video posted to Instagram. “I had my team hit out a lot of designers, and a lot of them do not want to dress me because I’m too big.

Bebe Rexha attends the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show at Pier 94 on November 8, 2018 in New York City. Theo Wargo/Getty Images

“If a size 6/8 is too big then I don’t know what to tell you. Then I don’t want to wear your fking dresses… To all the people that said that I’m thick… fk you, I don’t want to wear your fking dresses.”

Bebe captioned the video: “Im sorry, I had to get this off my chest. If you don’t like my fashion style or my music that’s one thing. But don’t say you can’t dress someone that isn’t a runway size. We are beautiful any size! Small or large! Anddddd My size 8 a is still going to the Grammys.”

She isn’t the first real-size celebrity to speak out about the red carpet snobbery surrounding designers refusing to dress certain body types — comedian Leslie Jones took aim at the fashionistas when she couldn’t find anyone to dress her for the Ghostbusters premiere in 2016 — she took to Twitter to voice her disdain, writing: “It’s so funny how there are no designers wanting to help me with a premiere dress for movie. Hmmm that will change and I remember everything.”

She refused to name the designers she reached out to, but Christian Siriano stepped forward and offered to dress her, stating: “I love Leslie and can’t wait to make her something fabulous to wear. I dress and support women of all ages and sizes.”

Embedded video

Bebe Rexha

@BebeRexha

Im sorry, I had to get this off my chest. If you don’t like my fashion style or my music that’s one thing. But don’t say you can’t dress someone that isn’t a runway size. We are beautiful any size! Small or large! Anddddd My size 8 ass is still going to the Grammys. #LOVEYOURBODY

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The Lake MX237 Endurance Is the Only Mountain Bike Shoe You Need

Lake MX237

Price: $320
Weight: 415g (size 45)
Sizes: 37 – 50; half sizes 39.5 – 46.5
The right shoe for: racers or riders who go hard and want good protection

BUY NOW MORE IMAGES

Lake’s MX237 Endurance is a versatile shoe that excels for the schralpiest of rides and most aggressive riders. The incredibly tough, durable (real) leather upper offers excellent protection from rock strikes and the elements while the stiff carbon sole is ideal for riders who like to ride fast. The mid-volume last puts the foot into a position to maximize power transfer and still provides excellent on and off the bike comfort. While off the bike, grippy rubber lugs on the sole do a great job of providing traction. And even through the shoes have an inflexible sole, the rider’s heel remains firmly in place thanks to the cat’s tongue texture on the sockliner. The dual Boa closure dials can be adjusted quickly in either direction to make sure you have your ideal fit across the entire foot. They are great for a multi-hour adventure and a quick shred, plus the camo look (one of three color options) is badass.

Lake MX237
The carbon sole has grippy rubber lugs to keep you on your feet while running

Trevor Raab

100% Carbon Mid-Sole and Specific Last Sizing

The MX237 has a 100% carbon fiber outsole. It is plenty stiff enough for XC riding and racing even though it has a little more flex than than Lake’s top-end MX332 . I occasionally get hotspots and discomfort with hyper-stiff soles, but I found the MX237 comfortable with excellent power transfer.

Lake places great emphasis on getting fit right, so the company uses different lasts intended for specific uses to ensure that you get the ideal size and fit based on your type of riding. The “competition last” of the MX237 is designed for performance riding and racing, and has increased toe and heel pitch that a Lake representative told me puts the foot in position to maximize power transfer. For comparison, Lake’s less-expensive MX105 shoe uses the company’s “comfort last” which is flatter for improved comfort when standing and walking.

Off the bike, the MX237’s rubber sole lugs provide excellent grip and keep the cleat from jutting beyond the lugs, so there’s less chance of slipping on the metal cleat. Even in wet weather, I had no problems walking through steep and greasy rock gardens.

Lake MX237
Abrasion resistant leather keeps your toes and heel well protected from rock strike

Trevor Raab

Roomy Toe Box and Tight Non-Slip Heel

The upper is ideal for riders who like to ride in all conditions. The full-grain leather is tough and will handle just about anything you will encounter while riding while offering excellent protection from the mud, rocks, roots, and the elements. You can certainly get shoes that weigh less for this price, but for riders who prize protection, these are a great choice. Helcor abrasion-resistant patches is also added to toe and heel area for some extra protection.

Finding a great fit is easy with dual Boa dials. The L5 dial system turns in both directions so you can quickly tighten or loosen the fit in one-millimeter increments and even when they do get wet and muddy, they are still reliable. Boa offers a lifetime guarantee so any parts that do break are replaced for free.

The heel is lined with cats’s tongue Lycra to prevent slipping. Tiny teeth grab your sock, helping to hold your foot in place as you put in a hard effort or walk through rock gardens. Since the shoe doesn’t flex like it would with a soft sole, it adds some extra grip to keep the heel in place.

Lake MX237
Hook Lycra keeps your heel in place during hard efforts on and off the bike

Trevor Raab

Riding in the MX237

Though I usually prefer riding in softer-soled shoes like the Five Ten Maltese Falcon, I felt comfortable in the MX237 from the first ride. The leather upper is initially stiff and takes a few rides to break in, but after I had accumulated a few hours on the trail, they broke in and the stiffness went away. . Once they conformed to my foot, the MX237 quickly became my go-to shoes for rides that required a lot of pedaling. They are tough and comfortable enough for riding park laps, but they are best at hammering on long flat sections and steep inclines.

I started testing the MX237 mostly during fall, but even on warmer rides they kept my feet cool and remained comfortable throughout the ride it was a three-hour adventure or a 45-minute shred. I haven’t had the chance to test them in the hottest conditions, so I can’t yet say how they will feel during the summer months.

The MX237 Endurance has a stiff-enough sole to maximize your power output during hard efforts, and the fit doesn’t allow your foot to slip when scrambling up a scree field. The rubber lugs will keep you on your feet and moving quickly. With an superlative combination of performance, comfort, protection and durability, this is a shoe that excels at almost any mountain bike ride.

Trevor Raab
Lake

MX 237 Endurance
$319.95
SHOP NOW
[“source=bicycling”]

IS RIHANNA LAUNCHING HER OWN LUXURY FASHION HOUSE?

BY MAHALIA CHANG
Rihanna.

She’s already thoroughly conquered the world of beauty and lingerie, now it seems Rihanna has set her sights on the fashion world.

Rumour has it—buoyed by a report by WWD—that the singer and designer is preparing to launch her own luxury fashion house under her own name.

The report alleges that the 30-year-old is teaming up with luxury titan LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton to launch the project. If it goes ahead, Rihanna’s label will be the first new brand the company has launched since Christian Lacroix in 1987.

The wheels, it seems, are already in motion.

“LVMH has already handpicked a clutch of employees from within, including some from Louis Vuitton and Celine,” WWD writes.

Not much else is known about the launch—including a house name or timing.

Rihanna has previously designed collections for British retailer River Island, collaboration Fenty x Puma, and for her own Savage x Fenty.

Kate Bosworth is flawless in floral frock as she celebrates designer Jason Wu’s spring collection

She’s a famous fashionista.

And on Thursday, Kate Bosworth led the stylish stars that showed up for a luncheon celebrating designer Jason Wu.

The Beverly Hills event was hosted by Saks 5th Avenue and also included Alyssa Milano, Camilla Belle and Linda Cardellini.

Muse: She's a famous fashionista. And on Thursday, Kate Bosworth led the stylish stars that showed up for a luncheon in Beverly Hills celebrating designer Jason Wu

Muse: She’s a famous fashionista. And on Thursday, Kate Bosworth led the stylish stars that showed up for a luncheon in Beverly Hills celebrating designer Jason Wu

Bosworth, 36, looked lovely in a white frock with blue and orange floral motifs.

She went bare-legged in black pumps and wore her golden locks loose with a center parting.

The actress was made up with black mascara, a touch of rosy blush and red lip color.

Stylish: Bosworth, 36, looked lovely in a white frock with blue and orange floral motifs. She went bare-legged in black pumps and wore her golden locks loose with a center parting

Stylish: Bosworth, 36, looked lovely in a white frock with blue and orange floral motifs. She went bare-legged in black pumps and wore her golden locks loose with a center parting

The event celebrated Jason Wu's spring collection - the designer is pictured with Bosworth
The event was hosted by Saks Fifth Avenue - company president Marc Metrick posed with Bosworth

VIPs: The event celebrated Wu’s spring collection – he’s pictured left with Bosworth – and was hosted by Saks Fifth Avenue – company president Marc Metrick posed with Bosworth right

Gaggle of beauties: On hand, too, for the luncheon were actresses - from l-r - Alyssa Milano, Camilla Belle and Linda Cardellini who also wore dresses from Wu's collection

Gaggle of beauties: On hand, too, for the luncheon were actresses – from l-r – Alyssa Milano, Camilla Belle and Linda Cardellini who also wore dresses from Wu’s collection

Like Bosworth, the other celebrities in attendance also wore dresses from Wu’s spring collection.

Alyssa Milano, 46, opted for a floaty monochrome number with semi-sheer sleeves and belted at the waist.

Camilla Belle, 32, chose a sleeveless colorful frock with vertical black detailing and black waistband.

Meanwhile, Linda Cardellini, 43, was pretty in a sleeveless yellow slip with a patterned overlay.

Eye-catching: Belle, 32, chose a sleeveless colorful frock with vertical black detailing and black waistband and wore it with silvery heels 

Eye-catching: Belle, 32, chose a sleeveless colorful frock with vertical black detailing and black waistband and wore it with silvery heels

Man of the moment: Belle also posed for pictures with the designer

Man of the moment: Belle also posed for pictures with the designer

Pretty: Linda Cardellini, 43, was pretty in a sleeveless yellow slip with a patterned overlay and added shiny silver sandal heels

Pretty: Linda Cardellini, 43, was pretty in a sleeveless yellow slip with a patterned overlay and added shiny silver sandal heels

Bosworth is gearing up for another TV series hot after starring in National Geographic’s 2017 mini series The Long Road Home.

She’s set to play the main leading role in a sci-fi series for Netflix called The I-Land.

According to IMDb, the seven-parter is about ten people’s struggle to survive on a mysterious island after waking up there with no memory of how they got there and who they are.

She’s also wrapped the big screen drama The Devil Has A Name directed by Edward James Olmos and co-starring Martin Sheen and Haley Joel Osment, due for release this year.

Catching up: Bosworth posed with Stacy Martin during the luncheon held at the exclusive Hotel Bel-Air

Catching up: Bosworth posed with Stacy Martin during the luncheon held at the exclusive Hotel Bel-Air

Poised: The actress was made up with black mascara, a touch of rosy blush and red lip color

Poised: The actress was made up with black mascara, a touch of rosy blush and red lip color

Good company: Wu was sat between Belle and Bosworth

Good company: Wu was sat between Belle and Bosworth

Pals: The designer made sure to spend some time with Cardellini too

Pals: The designer made sure to spend some time with Cardellini too

In the spotlight: Mary Martin, second from left, joined the others for a group photo

In the spotlight: Mary Martin, second from left, joined the others for a group photo

[“source=dailymail.co.uk”]

Is Plus Size Fashion Finally Coming To Pakistan?

Fed up with looking for clothes that fit, two thirty-something best friends from Lahore, Zenab Ali and Maryam Yousaf, launched their plus size clothing brand, The Rack Couture, in April (this year), in a bid to introduce body positive fashion to Pakistan’s thriving fashion industry.

Maryam Yousaf and Zenab Ali, of The Rack Couture, hope to make body positive fashion popular in Pakistan.Xpressions Photography

From semi-formal, formal and casual apparel, The Rack Couture caters to all shapes and sizes, all the while adopting a fierce anti-body shaming policy.

“We’re brainwashed into thinking that wearing black or vertical lines will make us look slim,” mentions Ali, “But the aim of our brand is not that a woman looks thin, but that she looks and feels beautiful.”

[“source=forbes]

Maryam Yousaf (left) and Zenab Ali (right).Zahra Ali

Stating that she finds it surprising that some of the country’s biggest fashion brands haven’t yet tapped into the plus size market, Ali says; “Common sense dictates that if there’s a demand for a product, intelligent market leaders will try to capture that market. It’s baffling that body positive clothing hasn’t been given much thought in Pakistan when it has been embraced the world over! The Pakistani woman is curvy and bootylicious! Forget brands that have introduced sizes 14 and 16; those are average sizes. By plus size I mean 18, 20, 22 and even 24.”

“We’ve been inspired by women just like us; from our friends to our family,” Yousaf adds, “Every body is a good body – in our advertising campaigns we make it a point to feature average, curvy and slim physiques. We don’t use professional models; they’re ordinary women. It’s sad that local designers have this misconception that people don’t want to see curvy women modeling their clothes – they think it won’t sell. But they couldn’t be more wrong.”

[“source=forbes]