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Stage and seating at the new Giant Dwarf Theatre.
Photograph: Daniel Boud

The Giant Dwarf, Sydney's home of cabaret and comedy, has closed its doors for good

The beloved independent theatre venue and performance hub has been forced to permanently close due to the impact of lockdown

Alannah Maher
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Alannah Maher
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In news that has rocked Sydney’s creative communities and dedicated audience members, Redfern’s Giant Dwarf theatre has announced that its doors will not be reopening. 

In a post shared to social media on Friday, January 28, the Giant Dwarf said the business has been unable to find a way to continue, with the second lockdown hitting hard.

“We simply cannot survive through this ongoing pandemic,” the post said. “...We fought as hard as we could for almost eight years and we are so proud that we even made it as far as we did and of what GD became.” 

For the unacquainted, the Giant Dwarf has spent years carving a definitive niche in Sydney’s performance scene, with accessible ticket prices and diverse voices centre stage. To quote its co-founder, The Chaser’s Julian Morrow, the Giant Dwarf was “...the place you see exciting comedians and performers of all shapes and sizes before they're massive hits playing bigger venues. And the place those performers still come back to when they're famous, ‘cos they love the vibe at Giant Dwarf as much as our audiences do.”

Popular storytelling nights and podcasts like Story Club and Queerstories have called the venue home, as well as nights for comedy, improv, and burlesque. Sydney’s drag king scene has even been revived under the Giant Dwarf’s roof. 

The Giant Dwarf had survived other challenges, moving up the road to a new venue after a 40 per cent rent hike made its original home on Cleveland Street untenable. In July 2020 we spoke to the trio of women who made the Giant Dwarf what it was – managing director Bec Annetts, program producer Moira Kennedy, and producer Jess Gordon – about their hopes for the new location. The move was supposed to be an opportunity to launch the Giant Dwarf into its “next generation” and further their work with platforming up-and-coming talent along with premium offerings.

Many members of the local creative community have joined an outpouring of grief and appreciation, perhaps captured best in an Instagram comment by author and broadcaster Benjamin Law, who wrote: “You all did incredible work building community, presenting heartsplitting stories and delivering joy for so long, and then finally, in the most diabolical circumstances. Sydney is indebted.”

The Giant Dwarf will be missed dearly, but its impact will ripple across Sydney for some time yet.

Need somewhere else to go? Check out the best things to do in Sydney this week.

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