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In development

Supporting new performing arts projects

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

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 »