With apologies to Shakespeare, every word is a stage. Let us tell you what we mean. With the launch of Perth Festival Writers Week 2018 – unofficial working title The Art of Story – comes a whole host of expectations and anxieties. But not in the way you might think, such as with those accompanying the arrival of any newborn child – a comparison we were hoping to avoid, but there it is.
No, we mean those crazy, jumbled microcosms of entire worlds we call words, and how they somehow get on well enough to form sometimes terrific, sometimes terrible, stories. So, they’re stages in the sense of being part of a process; they’re also stages in the sense of being tiny platforms on and through which we act out our wildest imaginings.
In that way they are – with apologies to Maggie Beer – true recipes for life, for what to do and what not to do. Is it too much to imagine, then, writers’ festivals as plays, with sessions as scenes played out in separate little venues, implicating the audience as much as the author and facilitator in a drama that brings the words on the page to life in new and unexpected ways?
That’s why this year’s Writers Week stretches beyond the luxurious confines of its new hub, The University Club of Western Australia, out into small bars and galleries and libraries and the streets themselves. That’s why it focuses primarily on storytelling, not just with words but with still and moving images, with music and even with architecture – because buildings have their hearts and their stories too.