1. Theatre Works is one of Australia’s longest-running independent theatres, founded in 1980 by an ensemble of theatre-makers in their final year at the Victorian College of the Arts. Initially presenting work in the Eastern suburbs of Melbourne, the ensemble moved to St Kilda to stage shows at the Linden Gallery and the Esplanade Hotel before securing the lease for the Christ Church Parish Hall on Acland Street in 1986. The Theatre Works you know today has been in the same spot ever since!
Image: Dybbuks by Chamber Made (2018)
Photo by: Pia Johnson
2. Theatre Works values artists over art. We believe in creating safe opportunities and environments for artistic and professional development in pursuit of individual artists and companies' own definitions of success. Each year we receive hundreds of submissions from writers, directors and theatre-makers. Over the past 40+ years, Theatre Works has been at the beginning of many careers, including Richard Murphet, Andrew Bovell, Barrie Kosky, Nancy Black and more recent household names such as Dan Giovannoni, Adena Jacobs, Little Ones Theatre, Rawcus and The Rabble.
Image: Room of Regret by The Rabble (2013)
Photo by: Marg Horwell & David Paterson
3. In 2022, Theatre Works launched a second satellite venue, Explosives Factory, as a response to the creative industry’s high demand for affordable rehearsal and development studios in Melbourne. The space was once used to manufacture fireworks (hence its name) and is as much a part of local history as Theatre Works itself. In April 2022, Theatre Works was granted $1.1 million from the Andrews Labor Government through the Victorian State Government's Creative Infrastructure Fund towards capital building upgrades which will include a rehearsal space and improved accessibility for audiences and artists.
Image: First Stories Festival Script Development (2022)
Photo by: Cameron Grant Parenthesy
4. Theatre Works commissions, produces and partners with artists to present new Australian work. There are no upfront costs to present a show at Theatre Works or Explosives Factory. All expenses are reconciled at the end of a performance season through a box office share between the artists and Theatre Works.
Image: Common Dissonance by Na Djinang Circus (2021)
Photo by: Brigitte Brand
5. Theatre Works is a charity. Your support over the last 40+ years is the reason we are still here. Theatre Works cannot survive on ticket, café and bar income alone. We heavily rely on donations to continue supporting the next generation of indie artists and to keep our doors open.
This year we are launching the Future Indie Theatre Fund to directly support the next generation of independent theatre makers who will be premiering their work in 2023 and beyond. You can play an active role in discovering new talent, supporting ambitious new work and giving communities a voice with a tax-deductible donation from as little as $5.
Image: Little Legends Youth Festival (2022)
Photo by: Underground Media