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In development

Supporting new performing arts projects

The Judith Wright Arts Centre (JWAC) hosts a number of Queensland-based artists and organisations to develop new works.

2021 projects

First Night Showcase Judith Wright Arts Centre supported 11 projects with funding of $295,332 for independent artists and organisations based in Queensland to develop and present new visual and performing works at Judith Wright Arts Centre. 

Photograph by Ivan Trigo Miras

Ashleigh Musk - Re-model future practice now

Independent makers come together in a collaborative residency process to develop new works based around the conceptual framework of ‘Re-model - Future Practice Now’: In an uncertain world we make preparations to emerge from the chaos, looking to a new future. The residency at JWAC will reimagine the format of making and collaborating, sharing leadership and support roles among the artists to encourage dialogue and collaboration, while uniquely dissolving common hierarchical habits of creative developments. (Photo: Ivan Trigo Miras).

Funding First Night Showcase Program - Judith Wright Arts Centre
Visit Ashleigh's website here »


Ingress. Photo Credit billie_wc

Bridie Hooper - Ingress

Ingress is a solo show using circus as the vehicle to witness a woman’s indefatigable and glorious effort to untether herself from her myth, and live with an urgency and euphoria that only an ending allows. Ingress is a performance in development by circus artist, Bridie Hooper, with the support of the Queensland Government through Arts Queensland and Creative Partnerships Australia through MATCH Lab.

Image: Photo Credit billie_wc

Funding First Night Showcase Program - Judith Wright Arts Centre

Visit Bridie Hooper's website here »


Camerata - Sinking Cities

In a large-scale project for string orchestra, saxophone and choir based on the concept of sinking cities and erasing histories, Camerata brings together acclaimed independent artists Rafael Karlen (composer, saxophone) and Pearly Black (lyricist) with The Australian Voices to create a new 60mins work which traverses themes of loss, modernization, short term gains and changing lifestyles. In addition to the funding received through First Night Showcase program, the project is supported by Australia Council and Phonographic Performance Company of Australia.

Funding First Night Showcase Program - Judith Wright Arts Centre

Visit the Camerata website here »

Aha Ensemble, Kayah Guenther. Image Credit Jorge Serra.

Aha Ensemble - Assemble

Assemble is a year-long residency by members of the Aha Ensemble, a South East Queensland based collective of disabled artists. Through collaboration with Queensland guest artists 'Assemble' aims to increase visibility of disabled artists within JWAC and further develop audiences for work by and for people with disability.

Image: Aha Ensemble, Kayah Guenther. Image Credit Jorge Serra.

Funding First Night Showcase Program - Judith Wright Arts Centre
Visit the Aha Ensemble website here »


SugarRush Music - Come into My World

This new production takes a deep look at six people who have extraordinary stories to tell. With the help of some of Queensland’s most exceptional songwriters they will also have their story told in song and audiences will hear and see how the emotion of their story is encapsulated by the songwriter.

Funding First Night Showcase Program - Judith Wright Arts Centre
Visit the SUGARRUSH Music Facebook here »


Belloo Creative - The Woman Remembers

The Woman Remembers is a sophisticated projected work about belonging and loss. Belloo Creative is collaborating with Good Company Arts (New Zealand) and Phluxus2 Dance Collective to share a poetic piece of visual storytelling on the façade of the Judith Wright Centre in April-May 2021.  

Funding First Night Showcase Program - Judith Wright Arts Centre
Visit the Belloo Creative website here »

Western-Dyer Productions - Dirty Fame Flash Candles Club

Western-Dyer Productions - Dirty Fame Flash Candles Club

Drawing on all the best movies of an 80s youth (Dirty Dancing, Fame, Flashdance, Strictly Ballroom, 16 Candles, Pretty in Pink, the Breakfast Club, Girls Just Want to Have Fun) this original play is fast paced, funny and excruciatingly familiar for anyone else in the 'midlife'. 

Funding First Night Showcase Program - Judith Wright Arts Centre
Visit Western-Dyer Productions website here »


Topology - The War Artist

Topology - The War Artist

Topology’s John Babbage is working with Brisbane author Simon Cleary, animator Bruce Currie and vocal artist Pearly Black to create a new multimedia work based on Simon’s book. This new work explores the power of body art in response to emotional trauma and violence.

Funding First Night Showcase Program - Judith Wright Arts Centre
Visit Topology's website here »


Debase Productions - Death of a Statesman

Debase Productions - Death in a Statesman

After the success of the award-winning The Longest Minute, debase creatives Bridget Boyle and Robert Kronk are turning their hand to the noir genre – with a regional Queensland twist. Death in a Statesman is being developed with regular debase collaborator Allen Laverty and independent producer Xanthe Beesley.

Funding First Night Showcase Program - Judith Wright Arts Centre
Visit Debase's website here »


Outer Space Artist Run Initiative

Outer Space Artist Run Initiative

Location, location, location seeks to challenge the persisting associations of the urban as a place of centrality by superimposing it with critical reflections on positionality. By harnessing the immovable concrete structure of the Judith Wright Centre of Contemporary Arts, artists were invited to map out their psychogeographical coordinates onto its public-facing façade. Pictured: (Left) Christopher Bassi, Grow (2020), (Right) Catriona Drummond, Sweaty Saturday (2021).

Funding First Night Showcase Program - Judith Wright Arts Centre
Visit the Outer Space website here »


Preparing Ground. Image: Samuel James

Katina Olsen - Preparing Ground

Preparing Ground is an arts project in development throughout 2021-2023, showcasing First Nations solutions to climate justice through a new dance production and community environmental actions. Leading First Nations choreographers Marilyn Miller, Jasmin Sheppard and Katina Olsen develop the project across Wakka Wakka, Tagalaka, Yalanji and Kombumerri homelands, aiming to create a touring performance installation.

Image: Samuel James

Funding First Night Showcase Program - Judith Wright Arts Centre
Visit the BlakDance Preparing Ground page here »




2020 projects

The Working Title creative residency program is a new Brisbane Festival initiative supporting the development and presentation of bold new performing arts creations by Queensland artists and companies.

Supported through Arts Queensland, the program runs online and at the JWAC. The creative residencies began in April and continue until the end of 2020 to fund and support 10 projects creating employment and opportunities for Queensland artists to develop bold new work. The resulting work will be premiered at Brisbane Festival in 2020 and beyond

2020 Working Title projects that will be world premieres at the 2020 Brisbane Festival:

  • Karul Projects / BlakDance - Silence
  • Emma Dean and Katherine Lyall-Watson - Hot Mess Mama 
  • Polytoxic - Snapshot
  • Imaginary Theatre - The Incredible Telling Machine

2020 Working Title projects in development:

  • The Good Room - Let's Be Friends Forever melds documentary theatre with high impact video in a theatre-turned-dog park. This work explores the indelible contract drawn between pet and person and how we imprint on those we love.
  • Nadia Sunde / Everybody Now - Rink is a music theatre spectacle that tells the story of a group of women coming of age through roller derby
  • Casus Circus / MAD Dance - Collision is a mix of contemporary circus and street dance
  • Lisa Wilson / Nathan Sibthorpe / Metro Arts - Bunker is a new dance theatre work
  • Halfway / Uncle Bob Weatherall / Digi Youth Arts - Restless Dream is a performing piece featuring soundscapes, traditional dance and visual elements
  • Little Match Productions - The Grand Ragtag Animal Band is a reimagined telling of the beloved Brothers Grimm tale "The Town Musicians of Bremen"



The JWAC supported the creative development projects below in 2018 and 2019 through the AQ funding stream Queensland Arts Showcase Program (QASP) Arts Ignite – Judith Wright Centre of Contemporary Arts.

This funding invested in performing arts projects from development to presentation by providing financial and venue support. It was developed in response to feedback from the arts sector and positioned the centre to play a larger role in supporting the sector to develop innovative new work. The fund built on the success of the former Fresh Ground program.

Read more about AQ funding programs.

2019 projects

Nathan Sibthorpe

TRUTHMACHINE is an interactive performance work using forms of autoteatro, transmedia storytelling, and a working polygraph (lie detector).

Developed at JWAC: February 2019 to April 2019 (staggered creative development period)

More information here »


Wilbur the Optical Whale is an enchanting story set under the sea, where children are taken on an immersive journey engaging with the environment around them. Employing art forms including circus, interactive visuals and sound design, the young audience takes a deep sea sensory dive to meet Wilbur and his cheeky friends.

Developed at JWAC: March 2019 to August 2019 (staggered creative development period)

More information here »

All the Queens Men

Toy is an interactive installation for families that examines gender expression in children’s toys. Working with the trans and gender-diverse community, TOY will be presented as a gender-neutral workshop in which children design the toys of their dreams. Created by Lenine Bourke, Tristan Meecham and Sam Routeldge with Kim Busty Beatz Bowers, Keira Leike, M'ck McKeague, Shannen Sembrano. 

Developed at JWAC: April 2019 to August 2019 (staggered creative development period)

More information here »

Flipside Circus

The Dogs in the Schoolyard is a circus performance aimed at exploring loyalty, friendship, exclusion, fear, hunger, fun and play all through the eyes of dogs and puppies.

Developed at JWAC: May 2019

More information here »

Writers Republic

Voiceless is a spoken word theatre production reflecting stories from South-East Queensland's refugee and migrant communities.

Developed at JWAC: May 2019 to August 2019 (staggered creative development period)

More information here »

Angela Chaplin

IF ONLY I COULD … explores the process of ageing and combines contemporary and ballroom dance performed by emerging, established and elderly dancers.

Developed at JWAC: July 2019 (this was the next stage of development for this project, after an initial period at the centre in 2018 – see below)

More information here »

Zane Saunders

Cure is a new signature performance work as part of the 'Spirit' series by Indigenous artist and performer Zane Saunders, exploring cultural and spiritual reformation and transformation through contemporary dance, installation, sculpture, sound and lighting.

Developed at JWAC: November 2019

More information here »

Media story here »


2018 projects

Babushka Collective

Babushka in Happily Ever After is a cabaret work designed to tour. 

Developed at JWAC: MayJune 2018.

Outcomes Premiered at Redlands Performing Arts Centre for Queensland Cabaret Festival followed by a sold-out tour of regional Queensland of 20 communities and standing ovations at the Wonderland Festival. 2018 Matilda Award for Best Sound Design/Composition and nominated for Best Independent Production, Best Musical or Cabaret, and Best Costume Design.

More information here »

Circus Company 2

Le Coup is a circus performance that explores the rapid pace of contemporary society layered with issues of social class and gender.

Developed at JWAC: June 2018.

Outcomes Show previewed at the JWAC at end of creative development period. Premiered at Rockhampton River Festival in July 2018 and wowed audiences at Valley Fiesta in August and Woodford Folk Festival in December. Prospective two-month international tour in 2019, including Edinburgh Fringe and London Wonderground. The company is also in conversations for a 2020 national tour with regional venues and the Sydney Opera House.

More information here »

The Good Room

I’ve Been Meaning to Ask You is a new theatre work that will be created with young collaborators aged 9 to 14 years.

Developed at JWAC: July–September 2018 (staggered creative development period).

Outcomes Represented by peak national independent touring agency Critical Stages and performed over five days of the 2018 Brisbane Festival to sell-out audiences to critical and popular acclaim. The Good Room is consulting with the Australian Theatre for Young People, Performing Arts Exchange, and ArTour Queensland Touring Showcase, and the project is attracting strong interest from venues from across the country and internationally to present the work in 2020 and beyond.  

More information here »

Image credit: Stephen Henry

Angela Chaplin

IF ONLY I COULD... explores the process of ageing and combines contemporary and ballroom dance performed by emerging, established and elderly dancers.

Developed at JWAC: October–November 2018.

Outcomes Received overwhelmingly positive response to first showing at the JWAC. The project has been accepted to pitch to national and international producers at Dance Massive in Melbourne in 2019 and is in conversations with several potential producers. Lutheran Services has committed to ongoing support of the project and the Queensland Department of Communities, Disability Services and Seniors has provided opportunities for future funding.

Media story here »

The Farm

Depthless is a live music and dance-theatre work exploring gender roles.

Developed at JWAC: November–December 2018.

Outcomes The creative development culminated in three performances at the JWAC in late 2018. The project has the potential to tour regionally through a partnership with ArTour.

More information here »