‘Brute & Brut’ seeks to explore public sex through a contemporary lens

Local theatre company FUGUE are no strangers to telling queer stories on the local stage, and their upcoming work doesn’t stray from their mission.

Creator James McMillan is seeking members of the local community who are willing to discuss their experiences for an exploration of sexuality and public spaces in formulating their latest work Brute & Brut, as part of The Blue Room’s Winter Nights 2020 program.

The performance will take audiences through Perth’s inner suburbs (at an as-yet undisclosed location), for a 30-minute ‘sound walk’ with a specially curated audio track.

McMillan caught up with us for a chat about the work, how the Perth queer arts scene has weathered these difficult months, and says it was a notable gap in representation of cruising culture and beats in Australia that set him on a path to realising this work.

“The presentation of these narratives, rightly so, has been very much surrounded by the AIDS narrative and police brutality.”

McMillan says he has no intention of ignoring these aspects as part of queer history or reality, but wants to consider how the conversation surrounding public sex can be seen through a contemporary lens, highlighting contemporary voices and experiences.

“It’s about seeing how those conversations can positively affect people’s identity. Specifically with this project, in times of COVID, seeing the importance of queer spaces, and wanting to create a virtual queer space through interviews and research that we’ll be presenting online.”

McMillan and the team are seeking participants open to confidentially sharing their experiences with cruising culture, beats and sex on site premises through an online portal, to help inform the work and understand more about this world and those who live in it in 2020.

“We’re definitely wanting a diverse range… an assortment of perspectives, so there’s no clear ‘this is what we need’. Definitely within that, we are hoping to gain some positive perspectives on those subject areas that elevate that culture and hopefully open up a new realm of possibilities on how we perceive the public domain and public sex.”

The work is being developed in collaboration with local sound designer Alex Turner, bringing an extrasensory experience to the theatrical work.

“Sound is such a beautiful way to share stories, and while theatres and venues are closed around the country and around the world, we’re looking at new ways to innovate our practice and tell stories in new ways that really shed light on these experiences,” McMillan said.

“With this particular work, seeing how we’re able to give a full body experience to the audience, and it’s been something I’ve wanted to explore for a while and this work seemed like the perfect opportunity to do that.”

Though we are fortunate here in Western Australia to see our venues begin to reemerge from lockdown, Perth’s queer arts scene has shown exceptional resilience through the past few months, bringing works to online spaces and continuing to create with less support than other sectors of the wider community.

“I definitely think that we have an amazing community, both queer and arts communities, we’re able and creative in the way that we deal with, even pre-COVID, funding and wanting to share stories and I have great respect and hope in the community to be able to get through these difficult times.”

“Lately I’ve been trying to change how I see what’s going on as an opportunity to be creative and innovative, and it’s the perfect opportunity to do so. That’s why people in the queer community and the arts community are really succeeding.”

Brute and Brut will first appear with in-progress performances from Tuesday 18th August. For more information head to blueroom.org.au

If you would like to share your experiences with James McMillan and the team, head to brute.space for more details.

Leigh Andrew Hill

Image: Duncan Wright

Love OUTinPerth Campaign

Help support the publication of OUTinPerth by contributing to our
GoFundMe campaign.

Tags: , , , , , ,