Citizen Jayde

“Citizen” Jayde Kirchert would love nothing more than her CBD neighbours to come out and enjoy her two plays being performed in Little Bourke St from February 4 to 14.

Ms Kirchert is first among equals within Citizen Theatre, a polished and independent group of (mostly) women determined to define their own theatrical voice.

In an industry that struggles for attention, fringe players like Jayde and co need bucket loads of self-belief and dedication to keep coming back to rattle the cage. But when you love subverting the artistic status quo, creating theatre becomes its own reward.

She loves living at Temple Court in Collins St and feels safer among the hubbub and the noise than she ever did living in the suburbs.

“There’s a real sense of community here too,” she said.  “You may not know everyone’s name but you feel that everyone is looking out for each other.”

Ms Kirchert started the troupe about three years ago to satisfy her desire to direct.

“I just wanted to direct something,” she said. “I had no idea where it might end up.”

The Victoria College of the Arts (VCA) graduate says she likes to lead but understands successful leaders have the humility to welcome better ideas from collaborators.

“If you have a clear and definite idea of how it all going to pan out, then you probably didn’t need to do the play in the first place,” she said.

Her current project is a double bill being produced in association with similarly fledgling players 5pound Theatre and Attic Erratic.

Inferno: A Double Bill features Crestfall by Mark O’Rowe and Purgatorio by Ariel Dorfman and will play every night at L1 Studios in the Hardware Lane precinct.

Ms Kirchert has written and produced a number of plays now but is, nonetheless, “thrilled and terrified” to present her latest offering as artistic director.

The thrill is obvious.  The terror is from the fear that the production won’t cover its costs.

Though modest in scale, the quality of the productions should not be underestimated.

“I’ve been shocked by some of the comments in the past from people who were surprised that we were so good,” she said.  “We’re not putting on some amateur production.”

But while “professional” covers the performance, no one is getting rich.  Ms Kirchert would be satisfied to break even.  Should profits emerge, they will be shared equally among every one involved.

The name Citizen Theatre was inspired by the German model, where theatrical arts are ingrained as an important part of functioning society.

Playing at L1 Studios 1/377 Little Bourke St. Visit: www.citizentheatre.com.au/inferno/

“Going to the theatre is about learning something of the society in which you live.  It’s about participating in that society.”

“So, the name stems from my sense of duty – my responsibility to, and my involvement within, my community,” she said.

One of Ms Kirchert’s frustrations is that theatre is typically expensive and, therefore, elitist.

Citizen Theatre, on the other hand, is lean enough to offer very reasonable prices.  Both Inferno shows can be seen for $42 ($38 concession).

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