Jane Howard

Artistic Projects

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Artistic Collaborations

2017 Performance Encyclopaedia – Public Recordings for the Australian Theatre Forum

2015 I Think I Can – Terrapin Puppet Theatre for Come Out Festival

2014 Man O Man – Mish Grigor for Vitalstatistix

2012 Mass Action: 137 Cakes in 90 Hours – Brown Council (now The Barbara Cleveland Project) and the CWA for Performance Space


The Exhaustion of Sadness

The Exhaustion of Sadness (working title) is a non-fiction book project, currently in development, exploring the intersection of art and grief. 

This project was supported by a 2017 Wheeler Centre Hot Desk Fellowship. 


Excess Thoughts

Excess Thoughts is currently on hiatus. Read the archive and subscribe here. 

If theatre critics were like musicians this email would be my banter before the song. Excess Thoughts is a monthly newsletter where I detail my thoughts that don't quite fit in reviews or my other pieces of writing because of length or tone or focus, or because they only pop up after publication, or because they're possibly only interesting to me. There are links to other things I'm reading; thoughts on shows I didn't have a commission to write on; and whatever else I feel like I need space to say but haven't found space to say it. 


2016 Digital Writers' Festival

View the festival here

The Digital Writers’ Festival, run by the Emerging Writers' Festival, is an online-first writers’ festival dedicated to celebrating the work of writers from Australia and across the world, and fostering new relationships through collaboration between writers, wherever they may be. I joined the festival in 2016 as Director. 

DWF allows EWF to expand their audience and reach, creating room for conversations we can’t have when bound to a place, and finding audiences who can’t join us here. 2016 marked the third DWF and as director I used the space to continue to ask: what does a writers’ festival look like when it takes place online? We streamed panels on YouTube Live, hosted workshops in Google Hangouts, published digital work on our website, found other spaces to lurk in the world wide web, and tweeted with a healthy dose of gifs

As part of the festival, with collaboration with fellow artists Kylie Maslen and Veronica Sullivan, we created and hosted My Brilliant Book Club – a collaborative reading and wriing project which encouraged audiences to (re)disocver Stella Miles Franklin's My Brilliant Career, and create a modern living review using genius.com which existed on-top of Franklin's text. 


Simple Art Transfer Protocol 

Read the Simple Art Transfer Protocol archive

Simple Art Transfer Protocol, commissioned by Performance & Art Development Agency, was a consideration of performance criticism as an internationally collaborative medium. Based at PADA's Near & Far exhibition, in Adelaide's Queen's Theatre, and communicating with critics in Sydney, London, and New York City, with subscribers from 29 cities on five continents, SATP tied a hyperlocal art form up in international conversation. In a collaborative and spirited discussion, it explored the shared and disparate social and cultural references held by writers; email and the internet as both work and leisure spaces; and international friendships. Beyond discussions on art, SATP turned inward, discussing criticism as an act that is exhilarating and personally gratifying, as well as physically exhausting and emotionally taxing.  It exploded criticism out from a stagnant piece of writing into a possibility where arts commentary could be ever expanding, ever reconsidering, and ever global. 

Over five days, conversation between myself, Cassie Tongue (Sydney), Megan Vaughan (London), and Nicole Serratore (NYC), along with our subscribers, generated 73 emails totalling over 33,000 words. Jumping off just four works in Near & Far, we weaved a conversation capturing 80 other performance, live art and theatre works we had seen or were seeing, along with references to dozens of books, films, television series, visual art works and festivals. This created a glance at the intricate web of references writers take with them to see performance, and the often complex and tangental thoughts that we carry with us as we begin to write. 


The Importance of Seeing Earnest: A Critical Experiment

Read The Importance of Seeing Earnest: A Critical Experiment 

The Importance of Seeing Earnest: A Critical Experiment was a documentation of how two different people approach a theatre work. Written in conjunction with my editor at the Lifted Brow, Simon Collinson, over five days we emailed each other about the State Theatre Company’s production of The Importance of Being Earnest, exploring the show and what it means to see a script on stage for the fourth time and for the first. The conversational review was subsequently published over email over five days, asking our readers to invest in the review rolling out in the same manner in which we wrote it. Written by two people, it highlighted the need for multiple critical voices and perspectives, with the emails from Simon highlighting the idea that someone doesn’t need to be a trained theatre critic to have an opinion on a work – and it is imperative that we broaden our platforms so more voices can be heard


Jane Has A Newsletter

Archive available by request

The Next Wave Festival, held bi-annually in Melbourne, is a festival of young artists pushing themselves to create their most ambitious work to date. The work is frequently political and cross-discipline, stretching the artists, the audience, and the art form itself. Jane Has A Newsletter was a criticism project in this spirit of the festival. Launched through a twine-based introduction that forced the potential audience to literally click through many html coded frames before they were able to subscribe, this introduction explored the way technology – often characterised as instantaneous - can force its audience to slow down and acknowledge text, asking people to be prepared to spend time with my mind and my narrative surrounding the project. Because they could not skip over the explanatory text, everyone who subsequently subscribed would read the emails in a prepared state of mind.

Jane Has A Newsletter was only published through email and is not archived online, and appeared throughout the festival in tandem with my traditional reviews written for Guardian Australia. Characterised as criticism ‘with all of the context and none of the opinion’, each email listed every work I saw the day before – encompassing dance, theatre, visual arts, etc, ultimately capturing over 80% of the work in the festival – and linked each piece to a series of essays, books, other art works, and podcasts to explore the way the knowledge we take with us into a theatre or gallery impacts the lens through which we see art. Not being archived online, the work also explored the uncomfortable relationship between the ephemeral art form of performance and the permanency of criticism as its record


Roman Tragedies: An Almost Live Review 

Read Roman Tragedies: An Almost Live Review

Roman Tragedies from Dutch company Toneelgroep Amsterdam played at the 2014 Adelaide Festival of Arts. A six-hour interval-less staging of Shakespeare’s trilogy of Roman tragedies, the audience were asked to commit to the whole six hours, but were able to move around the theatre and interact with the piece through social media. 

Working with Melbourne-based literary journal The Lifted Brow and editor Simon Collinson, Roman Tragedies: an almost live review was an attempt to use digital tools and the written word to capture the atmosphere of the work. A 3000-word time-stamped review, it followed the work from curtain to curtain, embedding tweets and intstagrams from audience members who shared the theatre with me on that night, and utilising white space and the scroll function for readers on both desktops and handheld devices to capture the intensity of the work when words would only fail.