Get us in your inbox


Sydney has a new festival for weird and wonderful performance

Written by
Ben Neutze

Griffin Theatre Company has been churning out new Australian plays for more than three decades in its 120-seat theatre at the top of Kings Cross. But what about the performance and writing that doesn't quite fit into the neat and tidy "play" category?

Batch Festival is the new alternative performance festival from the company (April 11 to 28), and features everything from short comic monologues to stand-up, spoken word, burlesque and even a theatrical walking tour of the Cross. The festival replaces Griffin's yearly independent season, which is on hiatus in 2018 to make space for the Australian Theatre for Young People to present its work.

Curated by Griffin's artistic associate Phil Spencer, Batch Festival is packed with some of the country's most exciting rising talents of the stage. Even if you haven't heard of some of the folks behind these shows, trust both us and the good people at Griffin that this selection is the cream of the crop.

Highlights include:

Since Ali Died (April 11 to 14)

Award-winning rapper, writer and spoken word artist Omar Musa will transform his 2017 album Since Ali Died into an hour of theatre, packed with story-telling and politically potent songs. The album explores what happened to Musa since his childhood hero, Muhammad Ali died in mid-2016.

Glimpse (April 11 to 21)

Independent Sydney designer Jonathan Hindmarsh and director Scarlet McGlynn will transform a space just outside the SBW Stables Theatre into a magical and theatrical garden. 

Exclusion Zone: A Walking Tour (April 25 to 28)

Playwright Caleb Lewis has crafted this imaginative walking tour around Kings Cross in which you step into the shoes of a group investigating recent reports of unaccountable crypto-cartographic activity. His words and your imagination will help to transform the streets of the Cross into a dangerous, near-apocalyptic world.

Blueberry Play (April 18 to 21)

This short play about a 17-year-old girl dealing with the awkwardness of her teenage years as well as her father's illness was shortlisted for the Griffin Award in 2017. Penned by Ang Collins and directed by cabaret star Sheridan Harbridge, this production will star Contessa Treffone, fresh from an impressive turn in Sydney Theatre Company's Top Girls.

Blueberry Play

Onstage Dating (April 27 to 28)

This show by Bron Batten is pretty much what it sounds like: at each performance she'll go on a first date, live on stage. The show has toured internationally and picked up glowing reviews for Batten's brilliant handling of each awkwardly comedic situation.

Betty Grumble: Love and Anger (April 28)

Sydney's alternative burlesque queen Betty Grumble will give her new show its Sydney debut as part of Batch Festival. Expect fiery and political burlesque, laced with disco, sex and fun times.

Asian Ghost-ery store (April 18 to 20)

Perth artists Shannan Lim and Vidya Rajan received stellar reviews for this play when it premiered at Melbourne Fringe in 2015. Both were raised in and around Asian grocery stores and have used this background as the inspiration for this haunting comedy.

Asian Ghost-ery Store
Photograph: Devika Bilimoria

See the full Batch Festival program here.

Need more theatre in your life but don't know where to start? See our latest reviews here.

Latest news