Associate Artists Program: Creating Drama with Joshua Allen

Each year, a number of emerging artists are selected to participate in Theatre Works’ Associate Artists Program. Coming from various disciplines, the artists are given an opportunity to work on one of Theatre Works’ productions, gaining valuable industry knowledge and experience. Joshua Allen is a producer, arts marketer and writer working in contemporary performance who has been partnered with Little Ones Theatre on their upcoming production of The Nightingale and the Rose.

Allen has been involved in various areas of the arts for a number of years but only recently felt comfortable to refer to himself as a producer.

JA: It feels like forever I’ve been waiting for this moment in my career, where I’m finally working as a producer. Studying writing and editing has shaped the way I’ve worked; learning how to edit and mentor other writers equipped me with a sense of artist pastoral care and dramaturgical awareness. Getting into marketing work allowed me to infiltrate art organisations and see all the moving parts and hierarchies – I started to realise I wanted to be a producer and work directly with under-represented artists to create industry change.

The Associate Artists Program has created the perfect stepping stone for Allen to pursue his desire to work with independent theatre makers.

JA: I’ve never studied in a performing arts institution (read as: I’m a mixed race, queer person who grew up in a small conservative town having been excluded from the same opportunities and social circumstances as WAAPA, VCA and NIDA graduates) so I’ve relied on industry programs such as this and my work to build a career. I’ve worked in the arts for a few years now, but our industry historically has focused on artists and directors rather than developing arts workers. Applying to be an Associate Artist was very much an experiment and has given me access to Little Ones Theatre, a company I’ve always been drawn to.

JA: Seeing Psycho Beach Party and The House of Yes at Theatre Works years ago while I was studying in Melbourne was the first time I saw productions that had a queer aesthetic. It was my theatre ‘Aha!’ moment – when I realised that I wanted to make and support queer performance making. Since then I’ve watched the company grow and take over main stages and I’ve always wanted to find a way to work with them.

Allen has been able to put to use his marketing and producing skills in the lead up to The Nightingale and The Rose whilst also given the opportunities to expand his own arts practice.

JA: I’ve mostly been observing and assisting where I can in the rehearsal room; having conversations about text, form and character. I’m also assisting with bumping in and any marketing and producing support I can give. From the outset, I wanted to be involved dramaturgically in this production and be a fly on the wall in the rehearsal space but that hasn’t exactly happened because being in the room has been entirely collaborative; everyone in this production has been a dramaturg. I’m already so attached to the cast and the Little Ones team and am feeling very excited heading into opening week of The Nightingale and The Rose.


Read more about The Nightingale and The Rose here.

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