Helium 2013 – Do You Dare?

Helium – the Malthouse Theatre’s annual season of independent works – was announced at a launch event in Melbourne recently. Bethany Simons sat down with Malthouse Producer, Josh Wright, to chat about the program of daring performances for daring audiences. That’s a double dare…

Helium MalthouseIt’s that time again! Following a hugely successful season in 2012, Malthouse Theatre will once again invite audiences to climb the staircases to the Tower Theatre for five bold, contemporary, and perhaps even kooky new works by independent theatre makers from across Australia.

Selected from a pool of over sixty applicants, the five independents that made the cut are all established artists and theatre makers in their own right. Producer, Josh Wright says, “Helium is an opportunity for people to pursue their artistic visions. It’s the kind of opportunity where you want a creative team who know what the opportunity is, and how to bring it to fruition. So we were after people who have a history of making work”.

Priding itself on programming contemporary and ‘adventurous’ new work, Wright says, “Malthouse is really interested both in content and form. As a producer, what always amazes me is that one Helium show has very little connection to the one following, except that it’s really bold in its ideas. It’s great to see [the artists] take a chance, use a proper theatre, have access to production staff who are used to working in periodic seasons of work. It’s an ideas exchange.”

With a number of well-supported and well-publicised presentation opportunities on offer across Melbourne, it seems it’s a great time to be an independent artist. Wright says, “For some time it was a really uneven playing space where independent artists were very much underground. The opportunities they had to use proper theatres and to tap the resources of companies was limited. It’s great to see Theatre Works and Artshouse and MTC [Melbourne Theatre Company] engaging with what we call the ‘independent sector’, giving them more opportunities – juicy opportunities!”

From giant worm puppets, to all female casts, to Wilde adaptations – audiences can expect to be entertained and challenged by the 2013 Helium program. The much anticipated line up is as follows:

Lord of the Flies
Lord of the Flies

US-A-UM’s – Lord of the Flies 28 June – 14 July

This story of a stranded group of school children who spiral into murderous disarray addresses universal themes of morality, violence and animal instinct. Re-imagined using an entirely female cast, this production cracks open William Golding’s time-honoured tale and exposes the humanity within.


The Public Studio – This is Beautiful 19 July – 3 August

Three actors consume a sumptuous meal on stage. They openly cross-examine one another – they objectify and are objectified. Part film, part feast, part inner beast, this is an interrogation-installation on the aesthetics of being human.


Melita Rowston – Hey! Yeah! It’s Molly’s Travelling Worm Show! 13 August – 24 August

Enchanted, and disturbed, by childhood memories of road trips to ‘Big Things’, your intrepid host Melita “Molly” Rowston goes on a fantastical journey into Worm Country. Reminiscent of an 80’s variety TV show, this colourful, kooky and dream-like celebration aims to unearth a local legend that will teach Molly to live the life she once imagined.


Little Ones Theatre – Salomé 30 August – 14 September

A wild re-imagining of Oscar Wilde’s scandalous play about religion, sexuality and the desire to be different. With an 80’s New Wave soundtrack and gender-bending cast inspired by the drag balls of Paris is Burning, Salomé promises to be a bold and risqué theatrical event with more than enough eroticism to get you hot under the collar.


Rachel Dease – City of Shadows 21 September – 5 October

Inspired by the Police and Justice Museum’s exhibition of forensic photography in early 20th Century Sydney, City of Shadows – A Song Cycle of Murder, Misfortune and Forensics is a unique experience that brings to light the vulnerabilities of the forgotten and the need for love of our fellow man. Haunted by faces and taken by the brutal beauty and humanity behind the images, Rachael Dease has created songs that may begin to do the dead justice, and give the living pause for thought.


You can catch any of the Helium works for just $25 a pop. We have lift off!

HELIUM: 28 June – 5 October, 2013
All tickets $25 / Season pass $100
Tower Theatre, Malthouse
113 Sturt Street Southbank

For info and bookings visit malthousetheatre.com.au

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