Growing up the youngest of eight children in Warwick, southwest of Brisbane, Brian Lucas learnt the power of resilience, connection and unity.
“We used to argue like hell among each other but if anyone else tried to weigh in, we became this solid block,” the performer and choreographer recalls.
“It’s similar with Brisbane’s arts community, we are keenly aware we can be critical of each other’s works but we will defend and support the artist and the industry until the cows come home.”
That unity is forged in the inter-disciplinary nature of Brisbane’s creative sector and follows decades of political conservatism and funding snubs.
“There’s a resilience to the arts community here, we keep getting knocked down and keep getting back up!”
Brian’s towering “six-and-a-half feet” frame put paid to his childhood ballet ambitions but he parlayed his love of performance into a contemporary dance and acting career after moving to Brisbane in the 1980s to study.
He put down roots, eschewing the then-traditional artist pathway of moving south to work.
“Brisbane, along with Adelaide and Perth, was considered out of the loop, away from the core cities of Sydney and Melbourne,” he says.
“While that had disadvantages in terms of our national profile, we also had this incredible freedom to develop work that kind of broke the rules in a lot of ways: circus, physical theatre and dance.
“No-one was going to tell us what to do or how to do it.”
Brian’s professional career parallels the various incarnations of Brisbane Festival, from satellite shows and fringe performances in the ‘90s, to performing in mainstage and mainstream productions more recently.
“Brisbane Festival really reminds Queenslanders that there’s more to us than sports and beaches. We need that rich culture to be a well-functioning society.”