By Arne Sjostedt
Imagine that a love child between Rove McManus and Samuel Beckett devised and starred in a weekly, web based variety show. Then take that image, and consider what devoting a show to getting to know the Broadway musical performer and sister of tennis star Nick Kyrgios would look like.
Sound like an unusual recipe for attention pulling, unique content? If your answer is yes, then imagine no longer – and watch Episode 7 of The World From Here with Chris Endrey.
Commissioned by the Canberra Theatre Centre for CTC@Home, providing crazy cool local content during the pandemic shutdown - The World from Here is a highly effective platform for mercurial comic and musician Chris Endrey to take viewers into some intelligent comedic and sociological territory.
The man behind local song contest Canbeurovision, “People are generally hungry for the reward of content that is created through our own shared experience. And I think we are pretty under represented for that sort of stuff,” Endrey says.
With the format proving highly successful, drawing in over 16,000 streams across seven episodes, this is yet another example of how creativity and technology has triumphed to provide highly effective content for people in the COVID-19 environment.
And the best thing is, if you missed a show – all of them are available on the Canberra Theatre Centre’s Facebook page.
Giving airtime to the unique perspectives of people scattered about our humble town – the moments of gold that Endrey and his team have created with this series are many, and well worth taking the time to sift through.
“So much of entertainment can be about the performer themselves or about celebrity culture or just pure entertainment. Which are all completely valid things to have but I think I’m personally more interested in the opportunity that performers or artistic exchange has to be nourishing and have those transformative elements that I hope to draw out for people,” says Endrey.
However he is well aware of the risks this brings.
“I was exploring the idea that if something was interesting to me, that it would be at least interesting to some other people. But that’s a risk because I’m exploring things that I think are explicitly not in the public sphere typically,” he explains.
“The thing with doing content that is not just entertainment first is that sometimes it’s not entertaining. But as a result I get a lot of surprising feedback where people tell me that something is really interesting or significant to them.”
Take, for example, Episode 6, where Endrey lifts walkabout Indigenous didgeridoo player Roy Peterson out of Civic Square and puts him on the Canberra Theatre stage.
Watch and listen as Endrey allows Peterson to completely take over the viewer’s attention. A counter point to contemporary media’s often short attention span, it is entertaining, but goes beyond that into a profoundly engaging and personal study of connected, Indigenous spirituality.
With the creative fluidity offered Endrey by the Canberra Theatre Centre and the digital format he is creating in, he is also able to move from this kind of serious work, and shift gears into presenting more light-hearted, but in no way less captivating content.
Like having Halimah Kyrgios interview him while he played her brother Nick, in a mock post-game press conference.
Bracketed with performances by local musicians, it all makes for some must see viewing, and pushes forward a commitment to an intelligent investigation of culture, offered back as work that people actually want to consume.
Which the show’s popularity appears to have validated.
In a sold out opportunity for fans to see the show live, the Canberra Theatre Centre will open up its doors for the first time since lockdown, hosting The World from Here, with Chris Endrey in its Link Bar tonight, Friday 7 August. The show will also, of course, be live streamed from 8pm.
"We can’t wait to welcome Canberrans back to see their favourite local bands and are looking forward to announcing more in the Link Bar and in our theatre spaces in the coming weeks,” said Canberra Theatre Centre Director Alex Budd.
CTC@Home is supported by the Australian Capital Territory Government, who contributed $10,400 to support local arts in Canberra.