Feral Campers, Cameron and Chris, in conversation about feral learning outside of institutions.


Cameron: Normally during festivals, I get caught up working on my own productions and then desperately try to see all my friends’ shows. FQC provided a structure that allowed me to see an incredible mix of productions that exposed me to new creatives, venues and styles.

Chris: I think I found that, too. Not that I would be going to shows but I wouldn’t be seeing any shows at all.

Cameron: You see a friends social media post or they’re on the poster and so that’s naturally what you’re attracted to.

Chris: I actually thought Feral Queer Camp was going to be a bunch of drama kids trying to out-do each other and it has been the opposite of that. Everyone has been really thoughtful.

Cameron: Yeah everyone has been really caring.

Chris: And at the end of it, now, it it feels like a curated team and everyone has their own perspectives. It’s like what you said yesterday about finding your role in the group. I think figuring out when I could speak was helpful.

Cameron: Even just from the first session, hearing about what you do creatively, I was so excited. I‘m so used to be surrounded by the same kind of voices and perspectives, maybe with different approaches, but having some many different people all under the umbrella of the arts industry was so exciting.

Chris: I found it really exciting to think about different ways of approaching visual art and seeing how much overlap there is between disciplines. It think that everyone has different tools, but we are looking for the same outcome. Different mediums but still heading towards the same thing. Maybe that speaks to the strength of Feral Queer Camp specifically – of it being a queer, and trying to take learning outside of straight hetero-normative academia – makes this is a really strong connection point for different disciplines. At least, for me, it has been. I wasn’t sure if Feral Queer Camp was something that I was meant to be doing or not, because I’m not in theatre.

Cameron: I felt the same. I’ve gone through tertiary education for performance and I felt like my education let me down. It was about cookie-cutter performers and making us into what the lectures thought ‘the industry’ would want, to be of use. I thought, “Oh, I’ve had my shot,” so am I allowed to engage with Feral Queer Camp? How am I allowed to interact with this when I’m taking another opportunity? So it is amazing we have people here who have experienced completely different pathways here.

Chris: Can you tell me more about that?

Cameron: I loved the opportunities, the exposure that my formal education provided me with performers, because I learned by proximity to others. I was able to see what really worked for them, what failed them, when communication is actually what set them up to fail or allowed them to succeed. The actual core content, the curriculum wasn’t engaging. It was all music theatre, strict song and dance, from 20 years ago. They were detached from the industry and what we are moving towards. And Australia, specifically in musical theatre, is detached as well – we look to Broadway. For the most part, we’re getting shows that played 10 years ago that producers are finally happy to give it a go in Australia. They think, maybe people will come out, or they made a film version so now they can be confident to do it here. We are so far behind, so then the education is even further behind because it’s geared towards dated shows. And I was always wanting to push against the boundaries trying new things, using the spaces in unconventional ways and so the reaction to me was essentially, “Ugh, you have to be doing the most don’t you”.

Chris: That has been really different with this space, hasn’t it? They didn’t say “This is the curriculum and [emphasis] that’s it and you have to do it this particular way” I find that formal education can be really confining sometimes in that it says, “These are the methods that we are doing” and “it is true”, and, “that’s it”.

Cameron: “This is the rule”, and “it is black and white”.

Chris: Versus Feral Queer Camp, which has been reciprocal and they said that we are setting our own curriculum.

Cameron: And anytime it wasn’t working, we’d move on and start something new.

Chris: There is openness to experience.