HELEN MUSA’s weekly arts column features opening concerts and shows in Canberra
NEWS circulating around the Canberra theatre world is that Julian Hobba has been appointed as executive director of The Blue Room Theatre in Perth.The Blue Room is dedicated to the development of new Australian plays and Hobba says: “Watching new works of Australian theatre is a joyful and profound experience.”
“Supporting the artists who make that work, and who speak to the diversity of our experience of the world today, is important,” he says.
“To lead a team dedicated to doing that throughout the year in Perth feels like an honour.”
Hobba came to note in the ACT when he was appointed by Robyn Archer as a program manager for the Centenary of Canberra. He later worked with the Tuggeranong Arts Centre on its “silver” anniversary Moon Festival project.
With a background as company manager at Malthouse Theatre in Melbourne under artistic directors Michael Kantor and Marion Potts, Hobba quickly established himself here on the theatre scene, with The Street Theatre staging his adaptation of Herman Melville’s story “Bartleby” in 2014.
Together with several other creative collaborators he established and became artistic director of Aspen Island Theatre Company with the purpose of staging contemporary Australian theatre in Canberra.
An ideas man, Hobba was behind the establishment of a pop-up Classical Greek theatre designed by Ronan Moss of Cox Architecture during late November 2015, in which a short season of musical on theatrical events was staged in Civic Square, not least I moved reading of Sophocles’ “Oedipus”.
In 2016 he wrote and directed a play set in Gungahlin, “The Slip Lane”, praised by “CityNews” reviewer Simone Penkethman as for its “warmth, wry humour and compassion” and described as “a farcical, romantic comedy with metaphysical overtones”.
Most recently, returning to a subject dear to the hearts of Centenary staffers, Hobba drafted a short play called “The Skywhale – A Play for Ten Children”, staged as a reading at Canberra Youth Theatre’s recent festival “I’m me”.