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Specially Trained Monkeys


Address: Suite 5, Level 1, Commercial Centre, Hunter St Newcastle
Hours: By appointment
Property Donor: GPT/Urban Growth Group
Launched: 16 January 2009

Jane Shadbolt
e: [email protected]

Jane Shadbolt is an animator, filmmaker and designer. She makes stopmotion puppet animations and is currently in post-production for the 9 minute epic The Cartographer — a stopmotion and digital short about a sailor adrift in a lost world. She’s also gearing up for some short experimental pieces while recovering from spending 3 years making one short narrative film.

What inspired you to get involved in Renew Newcastle?

I’ve only recently moved to Newcastle. When I arrived here I thought “Wow, the centre of town here is so beautiful but why are all the shops boarded up?” When I heard about Renew Newcastle I thought “Yep, not only is that an excellent plan but I’m going to need a studio if I’m going to get some new projects up and running”. So I applied and now I’ve got simply the best space I’ve ever had, AND in the centre of town AND with the spin-off benefit of meeting lots of like-minded people.

What are you doing in your new space? Right now I’m dismantling a Gestetner No26 and looking at some short short short pieces based on reproducing and printing technology. No narrative! No talking! Just sweet sweet stopmotion doing what stopmotion does best, making weird moving stuff. Or moving weird stuff. Or weird stuff moving. Which ever way you look at it.

Tell us about your space? 

I’m above the old Fletcher Jones and I think I’m in the old staff tea room. Little bits of Fletcher Jones are everywhere. My shelves have shoe sizes written on them, scribbled notes about men’s suit racks are on the walls and I feel happy to add a footnote to Australia’s corporate history and report that Fletcher Jones had its own monogrammed carpet. Although my door also has a faded “Surgery” sign neatly painted on it, so at some point they were previously doctor’s rooms.

This leaves two options open to blame in regards to the original colour scheme. At what time in the late 60s or mid 70s it was decided to paint it orange and brown will remain forever a mystery. I don’t know if it was to make patients feel really depressed or to keep Fletcher Jones staff from spending too long on their tea break but my first creative decision was to get busy with some cheap flat white paint and spruce it up a little. That, and getting rid of the moldering decades-old carpet has left me with what feels like a maxi-sized space to make mini-sized films. I love it!

The Cartographer is now complete! See the 40 second trailer on IMDb