• Dr Margi Brown Ash

A year has gone a year will come

IMAGE OF THE 4change coaching YEAR

(thank you to the unknown photographer)

This photo reflects the most important things that have happened this year: The Belonging Trilogy, including the show HOME (directed by Leah Mercer), continues to grow and develop, with a two-part funded season in July, 2017 at Brisbane Powerhouse, directed by Ben Knapton. Many thanks to Australia Council and Brisbane City Council for their support and also a shoutout to Brisbane Powerhouse for programming it.

And most importantly, my first grandchild was born, Sybella Frances and this picture above is the bed that I will ask Aaron Barton of Backwoods Original to dream on when Sibi can climb:

Aaron makes exquisite furniture with enormous flare.


So, 2016. I think everyone I know has voiced "Where has the year gone?" This year has been a rich one for some, a poorer one for others, a sad one, a happy one, one of achievement and one of shattered dreams. We all come to it differently and we all exit it changed.

This year has held several stand out moments for 4change, Force of Circumstance Theatre Company and nest ensemble, the three companies I have helped create over the last decade or so.

4change coaching

1. 4change coaching has had another nurturing year as Company in Residence at Metro Arts on the third floor, where we meet with each other, share tea, chat and create new ways forward. Thank you Metro Arts ( for the opportunity to work within our community in Studio 3.9-10 as Company in Residence. Next year 4change will move up a floor. We have never been on Floor 4 of Metro Arts in the nearly fourteen years that we have inhabited the building and we look forward to the change: 4.09. A smaller space, and time to drill down deep rather than wide. 2017 will be a year of research, dreaming new work and performing the trilogy, so a smaller studio is more fitting.

My favourite things to do in the 4change studio, regardless of the floor:

  • Pots of T2 teas (some wonderful flavours)

  • Soothing jazz

  • Lavender oil

  • Comfortable chairs

  • Exchanging ideas in a nurturing environment: solutions seem to present themselves with ease

  • 'Homework': ways of bringing our discussions into our everyday habits of living

  • I not only suggest homework for my guest, but I like to incorporate it into my own daily living. That way we are all enriching each other

I think a new name for what we do at 4change could be mutual mentoring and coaching conversations, a sharing of skills so that we both return to the everyday feeling more capable and alive. At the moment I am very attracted to Mandalas: creating a Mandala each day is a way of slowing down, focusing and recording our internal landscape. See last month's post to find out more.

2. 4change coaching was invited to be part of several discussion panels at Metro Arts, including the latest festival: Deathfest, one of the most beautiful and boutique happenings I have been involved in. We talked about art and dying and how focusing on dying gives us the opportunity to focus on living. 4change was also part of Creative Recovery's Making Time workshop, an eight hour experiential gathering of a dozen artists, focusing on healthy ways forward: we created together, chatted together and ate together (CreativeRecovery

3. Gestalt Art Therapy Professional Development: This year 4change attended a three day intensive in northern NSW, working with Yaro Starak and Gemma Garcia, who run Brisbane Gestalt Arts Therapy. We engaged in a variety of activities including landscape art, book making and body work. I highly recommend this organisation: Brisbane's Gestalt Art Therapy Centre (

4. QUT facilitation of the RIC Method: RIC Method is a process that has evolved out of my extended research over the last decade: my inquiry focuses around the question: "How do we stay healthy in the theatre industry despite the pressures and limitations imposed on us?" RIC includes multi modal art processes, movement including impulsetraining that has grown out of Deborah Hay's and Margaret Cameron's practices; circle work; rituals and ways of engaging that are respectful, curious and open. Earlier this year 4change worked with the first year actors in the acting strand at QUT, offering new ways of being together and creating a culture of inclusiveness, awareness and a 'yes and' approach. 4change will be returning in 2017 to continue the practice of growing leaders in the arts.

Force of Circumstance

FOC won two terrific grants to rework and remount two of the trilogy plays: thank you Australia Council and Brisbane City Council for your generous belief in us: directed by Ben Knapton and co-written with Travis Ash, they include:

1. EVE, which had an award winning season in the Blue Room, Perth in 2012 as well as a very short season at Metro Arts in 2012.

2. He Dreamed a Train is also being reworked and remounted. We had a season as part of the SWEET program in 2014.

We are wanting to spend time refining the works so that they can tour either individually or as part of The Belonging Trilogy, which also includes HOME, which had several seasons in Brisbane including La Boite and Queensland Theatre (Company).

3. We went across to Denmark to become artists in residence at Sostrup Castle. A very old castle in the centre of Denmark, we spent weeks in an old library, built in 1600's, we walked through the woods of the castle, ate terrific food and researched Eve.

Women in Theatre Bridge Club


As part of Force of Circumstance WITBC is carefully building a strong foundation with a small group of dedicated workers: Margaret Mead's saying:

"Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it's the only thing that ever has".

We are focusing on gender equity within our industry and we have worked out that a strong way forward is to work as individuals within the sector constantly focusing on this important issue. As we grow we will work communally to elicit change. We celebrated our year last week listening to music and dancing in a beaut little bar off Eagle Street. Next year we will continue to grow ways of gently moving forward to create change.


We formed nest ensemble in 2004 as a response to the lack of women creatives and women stories within the industry. We have created many works now, working across the country between Perth, where Leah is based, and Brisbane. Our new show in utero is a delicious story initiated by writer/academic Marilyn Mette, presently called the Metis Project. Marilyn came over to Metro Arts in April for a few days of development and in November I flew to Perth to begin to work on it with my collaborator Leah Mercer, Marilyn Mette and our artistic collaborators. The show encompasses myth and stories that unpack what it is like to be in a relationship that is the opposite of nurturing. Domestic violence appears to be on the rise and Marilyn's aim is to help women and men change this story. When she discovered the myth of Metis, she knew she had found a very powerful way of restoring domestic violence. We had a terrific few days on the floor, writing and discussing this important area of exploration. Hopefully we will be able to continue to grow Metis Project in 2017-8.