Unlike most of Australia’s capital city arts festivals, Brisbane Festival isn’t accompanied or complemented by a major fringe festival.
But that doesn’t mean there isn’t space in Brisbane each September for performance from indie companies and artists who are pushing artistic boundaries and providing wild slices of entertainment in smaller venues.
Since 2013, the Festival has featured a ‘Theatre Republic’ hub, located in QUT’s Kelvin Grove Creative Industries Precinct. The Theatre Republic has featured mostly smaller scale work, but it’s been home to some of the most daring and original performances I’ve experienced at any Australian arts festival in the last few years.
The hub returns this year with a combination of local and international works, and here are five of the highlights from this month’s program.
Canadian-born performer and playwright Deborah Pearson’s History History History (pictured above) has played around the UK to some glowing reviews.
On October 23, 1956, there was an uprising against the USSR in Hungary, fought mainly from the Corvin Cinema. Pearson “translates” and narrates the forgotten football comedy that was meant to be screening at the cinema that night, as it plays for the audience.
September 12 to 16.
Brisbane-based company The Good Room are premiering their new show at Theatre Republic. The team — Caroline Dunphy, Amy Ingram, Thomas Larkin and Michael Tuahine — have previously made successful shows based on anonymous, real-life personal stories, and continue that tradition with I Just Came to Say Goodbye. The show uses “anonymous apologies and real stories of forgiveness submitted by your friends and frenemies”.
September 13 to 23.
If you somehow haven’t managed to catch Zoe Coombs Marr’s award-winning theatrical stand-up show Trigger Warning, here’s your chance to finally do so.
Coombs Marr plays Dave, a casually misogynistic stand-up trying to reform his ways and create a more woke, feminist-friendly style of comedy. It won’t surprise you to learn that things don’t go quite to plan, and Dave suffers an extraordinarily funny and harrowing breakdown on stage.
September 12 to 15.
Grungy burlesque legend Betty Grumble describes herself as “surreal showgurl, obscene beauty queen, and sex clown.” Her latest show is an exploration is an “ecosexual cabaret”, and intersperses radical politics with some radical striptease.
September 19 to 23.
Hawa comes to Brisbane from Singapore, where it had sell-out seasons at the 2015 and 16 Singapore Theatre Festival. The warm and comedic work follows Siti, a recent convert to Islam, who has to oversee the funeral arrangements of a good friend.
September 27 to 30.