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Hanne at Casula Powerhouse making stop-motion dough
Photograph: supplied Hanne at Casula Powerhouse making stop-motion dough

Hunt ghosts and make stop-motion movies with the Casula Powerhouse crew

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Rolling with our stay-at-home times, the Casula Powerhouse Arts Centre (CPAC) is tapping the incredible knowledge and creative inspiration of its in-house crew and the creatives they support to go digital. Over the coming weeks, the CPAC website will host a bunch of ingenious online exhibitions, workshops and fun special event to keep you entertained, engaged and even creative.

Resident Bellbird head chef Frederico Rekowski will whip up some inspiring and achievable easy cooking classes to keep your taste buds entertained, including how to make comfort food fave gnocchi.

"I love cooking, but I do it all day every day, so when I come home I don’t like to spend a lot of time making myself dinner," he tells us. "Over the last few years I’ve been developing recipes that take no more than 15 minutes to prepare and cook, and these will feature heavily in the show."

As well as revealing how to get between three and four meals four of one roast chook, one of his first classes will be how to make ricotta gnocchi. "It’s a favourite at Bellbird, but it’s also super easy and quick to make because you don’t have the fuss of having to cook potatoes, it’s just ricotta and flour."

He says in-house gardener Lauren Booth will share her tips for growing your kitchen garden, whether that’s in a backyard, courtyard or on your balcony. "She’s still growing things from seeds right now, but with the restaurant closed we’ve been donating the produce to local community kitchens who make meals for the homeless or those facing economical hardship."

Exhibitions getting the online treatment will include Adaptation, created by artists living with disability or chronic illness, and Pulse of the Dragon, curated by Guan Wei and Cang Xin, which highlights Chinese traditional culture.

Panicking parents desperately seeking grand ideas for what to do with the kids this indefinite Easter break can mainline inspo from CPAC’s cheery educators too. 

Love movies like Shaun the Sheep or creepy-cute classic The Nightmare Before Christmas? You can get stuck into making stop-motion films thanks to a fantastic masterclass from CPAC educator Florence. Even better, a brilliant back-up tutorial from her colleague Hanne will teach you how to make salt dough, the perfect modelling material for moulding your original zany characters. There are plenty of downloadable worksheets available, too.

And if you're into spooky stuff, the Australian Paranormal Phenomenon Investigators will be posting ghost tours of CPAC and flashing back to all the weird stuff that's happened there, plus they'll host the Gritty Lit Crime Writers Festival.

CPAC director Craig Donarski says that as well as keeping audiences entertained and educated during the lockdown, it's also an excellent way for the cultural institution to support the artists currently shut out. “Art and creativity is really important in these times, and this is how we’ll get through the difficult stuff and make sense of the world when the world seems to make no sense at all.”

The best way to stay across all of the goodies as they drop is to sign up for the CPAC newsletter here.

And the creative endeavours aren't just a one-way street, with the CPAC team keen to see vids of all your brightest ideas, which they'll share with the world. “Interconnectivity is going to be so important for us to all get through this together,” Donarski says. “We want CPAC’s online channels to become a portal for us to connect, engage and inspire as a community.”

Keen to see more cool online art for free? Check out these Sydney institutions here.

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