First Time Director Debuts in Hobart with the Beauty Project
by Stephanie Williams
Tasmania’s award-winning performance company Second Echo Ensemble (SEE) premieres a show this month, called The BEAUTY Project. Led by Elise Romaszko in her directorial debut, The BEAUTY Project is a pop-up catwalk performance that asks, ‘what is normal?’, ‘what is beautiful?’ Dedicated to reflecting the diverse world we live in, The BEAUTY Project celebrates difference, champions equity, and confronts our assumptions.
What is The BEAUTY Project and who is behind it? Elise: The ‘who’ is easy, that would be me. The idea of The BEAUTY Project came from watching the TV. I watch the news and entertainment, and something that intrigues me are lots of dresses that are really spectacular. Beautiful garments on the TV inspired me, and I wanted to do my version of clothes because every celebrity wears so many glamorous clothes. I wanted to do my version because I want to use recyclable fabric instead of the glamour and the bling. I think this challenges the idea of beauty – everything is always based on the appearance and not what’s inside, personality and what you feel, part of why I’m making the show is to reveal inner-beauty.
Why is the work significant? Elise: Beauty is a broad thing, why it is important is so I can show the clothes I want to show, and nature. Nature and beauty are together, the audience will learn about the environment and how to protect it more, it’s not just clothes, it’s about nature and the environment. I see some people throw rubbish out the car window. I see people throw rubbish in lakes, so that’s something I want to change. By getting the audience to interact they learn more and are more engaged. It’s about changing people’s perspectives and how they think about nature and seeing it in a new light.
This is your first work as director. How does it feel to have it out in the world this month? Elise: Empowered, confident, nervous. As the director and a performer, it is nerve wracking because I haven’t directed a project like this before.
I really want this to be out there in the public. Growing as a director has meant learning leadership, confidence, and independence. Kelly (Creative Director of Second Echo Ensemble) wanted me to be a director, that really helped me, the more she talked about it, the more I grew. It has affected me as a person as well as a creative.
What does the Second Echo Ensemble do? Elise: For me Second Echo Ensemble is collaboration. It’s good to hear others’ ideas and perspectives with Beauty. I have been a part of the ensemble for a long time and it’s more than socialising, it’s about performing and being professional with them as well.
From the SEE team: Second Echo Ensemble is an award winning, multi-arts organisation based in nipaluna/Hobart. We have created 16 major works, toured nationally and internationally. Our work celebrates the unheard stories of our artists, leading to meaningful societal change. We proudly employ and are led by people who have lived experience of disability, diversity and/or faced employment barriers. We challenge the status quo and unconscious bias. We are committed to reimagining how art is made, who can make it and where it happens.
How can our readers see The BEAUTY Project? The BEAUTY Project is being presented at Ten Days on the Island. You can view it at the Railway Roundabout in nipaluna/Hobart 9-11 March, or in Wynyard at Gutteridge Gardens 16-18 March. Tickets at www.tendays.org.au/program/the-beauty-project.