Antipodes Theatre Company Launches Inaugural Development Retreat

Antipodes Theatre Company, lead by artistic director Brandon Pape,  has enlisted over forty artists to participate in their first annual Winter Development Retreat, taking place 17-28 June, 2020. A total of eight projects have been selected, ranging from one-person shows and clown acts to immersive works and musical theatre. In addition to online meetings and rehearsals for individual projects, participants will have access to a variety of virtual workshops, panel discussions, presentations and other programming as part of the retreat.

This retreat represents several milestones for us as a company, says Artistic Director Brandon Pape.

“While our Ricochet Free Reading Series features plays that have not yet been seen in Australia, this retreat will allow us the chance to support projects that are still being developed. We’re also thrilled to bring together a diverse group of writers, actors, and other creatives – most of whom we haven’t worked with previously. Finally, this is a storytelling experiment as we explore the potential of collaboration in an online environment.”

Artists who were chosen to develop projects as part of the Winter Development Retreat include Max Brown, Hayley Lawson-Smith, Rachel Lewindon & Willow Sizer, Mama Alto, Brooke Murray, Vonne Patiag, Ciara Thorburn, and Chloe Towan & Nathan Fernandez.

Winter Development Retreat Artist

They will be supported by directors, dramaturgs, and actors, including Marty Alix, Sherri Eden Barber, Chris Bennett, Theresa Borg, Keith Brockett, David Butler, Anthony Craig, James Cutler, Maude Davey, Melissa David, Jennifer Sarah Dean, Jess D’Souza, Bernadette Fam, Bailee-rose Farnham, Mike Finch, Kala Gare, Kristy Griffin, Deborah Leiser-Moore, Kaori Maeda-Judge, Miss Cairo, Terence O’Connell, Shamita Siva, Cameron Steens, Margaret Thanos, Tre Turner, Rhys Velasquez, Susan Ling Young, and Harvey Zielinski.

Additional activities that are planned as part of the retreat include a Career Wellbeing Workshop led by William Centurion, an Accessibility Q&A with Daniel Graham (who is also the Access Consultant for the retreat), and a panel discussion about the state of the Arts in Australia, moderated by Pape.


The works include:

By The Grace Of by Max Brown

A stage play with multimedia components, By The Grace Of tells the story of a Chinese-Singaporean immigrant as she struggles to integrate into Australian society. Max Brown’s acting credits include Torch The Place at Melbourne Theatre Company, the award-winning series Glitch, and his latest role as Oscar Wolfe in the Stan Originals series The Gloaming.


Breathing by Hayley Lawson-Smith

In this one-woman performance piece, Lawson-Smith uses photographs, letters, heirlooms, and artworks by relatives to trace her family’s feminine evolution across generations and continents. Hayley Lawson-Smith holds a Masters of Writing for Performance from the Victorian College of the Arts and was the Wheeler Centre and Just Pretending Theatre Group Hot Desk Playwright Fellow in 2019.


Orlando by Rachel Lewindon and Willow Sizer

Based on the novel Orlando by Virginia Woolf, this blend of contemporary music, musical theatre and abstract movement unpacks themes of self, time and bucking societal norms. Rachel Lewindon and Willow Sizer are both graduates of the Victorian College of the Arts. Their most recent collaboration, Death of a Demi Diva, was nominated for four 2020 Green Room Awards.


The Ancestress by Mama Alto

A magical realist journey of epic poetry, The Ancestress is a hybrid cabaret-theatre work exploring ideas of ancestry, lineage, legacy, family trees, bloodlines, history, myth, and heritage for trans women of colour in the performing arts. Mama Alto is a jazz singer, cabaret artiste & gender transcendent diva whose work has been featured at MTC’s Cybec Electric, Melbourne Writers Festival, and Melbourne Recital Centre.


The Moon, The Sea, You & Me by Brooke Murray

Moon Girl is curious about Earth, and Sea Boy is always looking up. When their lives collide and wreak havoc on the world around them, they must unite their communities to save the solar system. Intended for audiences aged nine and up, this piece draws on Transgender stories of strength to inspire audiences with themes of resilience and tolerance. Brooke Murray is a playwright and producer who was recently selected for the First Stage emerging playwright’s program at MTC and works as an inclusion support artist at St. Martins Youth Arts.


The Life Cycle of Blanco by Vonne Patiag

This solo semi-autobiographical piece explores the exhaustion caused by institutional racism and class privilege, especially within the Arts in Australia. Vonne Patiag is a writer, director, producer and actor working across stage and screen. He was part of the inaugural Sydney Theatre Company x CAAP Director’s Workshop and is currently developing his main stage debut in collaboration with Belvoir Theatre.


The Thesis by Ciara Thorburn

An exploration of the peculiar endeavours an eccentric navigates while working on their thesis. Driven by physical comedy and mime, The Thesis embraces the mundane and brings it to the forefront of human connection. Accessible and inclusive for Deaf Arts audiences. Ciara Thorburn is a graduate of the National Institute of Circus Arts, a student of Philippe Gaulier, and a variety performer based in Melbourne, Australia.


Revelation Bar by Chloe Towan and Nathan Fernandez

The world has ended and a small group of survivors is drawn to the mysterious Revelation Bar for what will be a night to remember. Exploring themes of purpose, trauma, sexuality, faith and forgiveness, Revelation Bar is an immersive musical theatre piece created by actor/writers Chloe Towan (Twelfth Night, Melbourne Shakespeare Company) and Nathan Fernandez (Bright Star, Pursued by Bear). Towan and Fernandez previously collaborated on Scary Goats Tour, slated to premiere later in 2020.


For more information, visit

Peter J Snee

Peter is a British born creative, working in the live entertainment industry. He holds an honours degree in Performing Arts and has over 12 years combined work experience in producing, directing and managing artistic programs & events. Peter has traversed the UK, Europe and Australia pursuing his interest in theatre. He is inspired by great stories and passionately driven by pursuing opportunities to tell them.

Peter J Snee

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