It's hard to believe it was only six years ago that Nikita Agzarian and Julian Morrow opened Giant Dwarf Theatre in Redfern. The venue at 199 Cleveland Street has become one of our city's most important live comedy and music institutions in that short period of time – to the point that it sort of feels like it's always been there, providing opportunities for creatives to develop popular new formats (like Maeve Marsden's Queerstories, and Ben Jenkins and Zoë Norton Lodge's Story Club) and big-name performers (hello Tim Minchin) to play in a more intimate venue.
But Agzarian and Morrow have today announced Giant Dwarf Theatre's final show will take place on March 7, 2020. Their reason? An age-old Sydney story: they say rent hikes have made the theatre unviable in its current location. Since its opening, the pair say their rent has increased by 40 per cent. They say their landlord is now insisting on another rent hike of 35 per cent and, despite generous donations from supporters and $80,000 raised for improvements to the Redfern building, they're unable to cover that cost.
The final show, appropriately called March Final Show, will feature Giant Dwarf favourites including Becky Lucas, Benjamin Law, Cam James, Ben Jenkins, Alex Lee, Nakkiah Lui, Carlo Ritchie, Montaigne, Freudian Nip and Kate Mulvany. We imagine those tickets will be snapped up pretty quickly, so keep an eye on Giant Dwarf's website for booking details.
The good news is that Agzarian and Morrow still intend on operating Giant Dwarf Theatre at a new location, and are currently in negotiations to secure a new central Sydney venue. So while it's the end of one era, the start of a new one may be just around the corner. Watch this space.