Nurturing the new

Theatre is unforgiving. Without the privilege of edits and retakes, it is about only what is on the stage. And especially in intimate venues like Metro Arts, there is little place for artists to hide. But this is exactly what can make the Metro Arts experience so rewarding.

Metro Arts markets itself as a contemporary arts space dedicated to professional independent artists and their work. As such, it has always celebrated risk and nurtured new and emerging ideas, forms and practices.  And from the look of their newly released program, there is going to be much to celebrate in 2014.

Highlights include:

The Escapists are back in a co-production with Hothouse Theatre Metro Arts to explore the nature of travel as a rite of passage for young Australians and the potentially profound effect such an experience can have. “Packed” is written by Lucas Stibbard and Matthew Ryan and promises wit and whimsy when it shows at the end of the year.

There is also “The Dokboki Box”, a live music and performance collaboration between Australian and Korean artists. Having seen their work “I will sing to you” at 2013’s “CROSS-STITCH: Thunderbox”, (during which a song is sung to you, not just for you, in an amazingly acoustic elevator), I am looking forward to the show’s rich renditions.

The Friday Night program returns in March, allowing audience members to view works in progress and engage in shared dialogue with artists. If previous Friday Night programs are any indication, this will be a rewarding and interesting series of rough, ready and full of potential ‘shows’ because continuous conversation among practitioners, arts workers and audiences is what makes Metro Arts so unique.

If, when you envisage theatre, you only imagine a stage, a seated audience, a couple of hours of your time and maybe an usher closing the doors as he house lights dim, then perhaps you should give Metro Arts a look, as a means of invigorating your usual theatregoing experience. Check out their 2014 January – June program on line now:- 


Boy, girl, wall… world

“><R&J” director and gatherer of the group which evolved  into The Breadbeard Collective, Lucas Stibbard is best known for his critically acclaimed solo show “boy, girl, wall”, staged by The Escapists at La Boite Theatre in 2011. And now, the show has been invited to present in the USA. To help fund this incredible opportunity to showcase this story to the world, the show is running a pozible campaign, the rewards of which include attendance at a one night only fundraiser remount of “boy girl wall” on Monday 16th December at Brisbane Powerhouse.

This is an opportunity not to be missed, not just to support the upbeat, one-person show in its journey to international exposure, but to once again enjoy its memorable use of chalk, sock puppets and its menacing Montague Road magpie. As anyone lucky enough to see the show as part of its La Boite season will attest, “boy, girl, wall” is a witty and wickedly funny night out, as the audience is taken on an impressive, high-energy ride along with its dozens of eccentric characters. And it is no surprise that “boy, girl, wall” has won The Escapists much critical acclaim, including the 2010 Matilda Award for Best Independent Production, or that Stibbard was nominated for the 2011 Helpmann Award for Best Actor in a Play.

“Boy, girl, wall” is a simple tale of two people, Brisbane apartment block neighbours Thom and Alethea, whose romance proceeds as a series of comic misadventures. What excels the show into memorable mode is its use of a giant blackboard upon which Stibbard draws most of his props as they are required. I only wish I was going to be in Brisbane for its return one-night run.