Cottonmouth is a Perth-based performance and publishing venture that held its first event in February 2008. Held monthly, the Cottonmouth performance project showcases spoken-word artists, poets, sound artists, playwrights, new media practitioners and other emerging and established performers in the field of narrative art.
In our first two nights, we've packed out the 459 Bar at the Rosemount and had the very surreal experience of throngs of folks from all over the city excited and ready to rock the narrative arts. The energy is really something special. We're not about cliques or existing networks of established performers -- Cottonmouth exists for all in the Perth creative community, and is a strictly not-for-profit venture (run by The Concrete Organisation Inc., an incorporated not-for-profit association).
Each showcase contains two featured performers, sound artists and a number of shorter sets from emerging performers. Audience participation is encouraged with the inclusion of an "open mic" segment at the end of each evening. Participants in the open mic may be invited back to participate in the programmed section as a promoted performer in future events.
Cottonmouth was born far far away on the other side of the country, at the National Young Writers Festival in Newcastle in 2007. The hostel room set aside for Western Australians (they like to keep us separate) became ground zero for discussion and inspiration about the possibilities of harnessing the energy of some of the amazing events and initiatives on the east coast, and bringing those possibilities back home. It became clear that a reliable, established and respected regular event could serve as a nucleus around which a strong community could form. It was also clear that no such event, with a strong curatorial vision, existed in Perth.
Upon return from Newcastle, we got our shit together and hit the ground running. The aim was to develop a world-class showcase and to proudly show off the best in Western Australian talent. The performance night is just the start of our plans -- we're working on developing our print zine, and we have grand ambitions for bringing together national performers in podcast form. But more on that later.
Cottonmouth is run by a volunteer committee of writers, performers, gadflys and loafers. They do it partly for the biscuits, but mostly for the love. They are Rebecca Giggs, Patrick Pittman, Scott-Patrick Mitchell, Tomás Ford, Jessyca Hutchens, Simon Mongey and Simon Cox. Sean Wilson was instrumental in making things happen and getting the first night together in a vaguely presentable form -- though he's decamped to distant shores and is no longer on the committee, he shall always live on in our hearts.
Our luscious print designs were fashioned by Michael Barlow Stringer, and channelled into the world wide web by Patrick Pittman.