From contemporary aerial performances to comedic cabarets, this year’s Undercover Artist Festival will leave audiences on the edge of their seats.
Presented by Access Arts, the three-day festival at Queensland Theatre will showcase bold and daring works from d/Deaf and disabled performing artists alongside a dynamic programme of forums, workshops, and events, with the aim to redefine ‘artistic excellence’ and prompt audiences to re-evaluate their own unconscious biases.
Here are five must-see productions to pencil into the diaries at Australia’s premiere disability-led festival.
'The No Bang Theory'. Artist and performer Oliver Heatherington-Page debuts his first one-man cabaret at this year’s Undercover Artist Festival. Combining education and comedy, Oliver sets the record straight as he shares his personal experience as an artist on the autism spectrum. After constantly fighting the stereotypes popular culture tells the world about autism, Oliver believes the only way to combat the Sheldon Cooper syndrome, is to showcase authentic representation of autism stories on stage. For a musical journey from dating disasters to diagnosis, 'The No Bang Theory' will encourage audiences to re-evaluate their own unconscious biases in a light and comedic manner. 'The No Bang Theory' will be opening the festival at 7pm on Thursday 16 September.
'Nerve'. Where contemporary circus meets high energy physical theatre, Gold Coast performer Lauren Watson brings a thrilling autobiographical aerial theatre show to life in the world premiere 'Nerve'. Watson shares the complex truths and commodification of her identity and explores the fears and triumphs of everyday living through circus choreography and theatre. The bold new work examines trauma, grief, discrimination, and disability identity in an awe-inspiring performance that will keep you on the edge of your seat. 'Nerve' will follow 'The No Bang Theory' at 8pm on Thursday 16 September.
'Happy-Go-Wrong'. With five awards, standing ovations and multiple sold-out seasons, Andi Snelling brings the fight of her life to stage in this award-winning physical theatre odyssey. 'Happy-Go-Wrong' is a roller-coaster recollection of the greatest accident of Snelling’s life – a tiny tick bite that plunged her into dangerously ill health and forever changed her life. Through a profound celebration of mortality and resilience, Andi shares her ongoing plight with unwavering honesty and ruthless comedy. Her story of hope amidst uncertainty is even more relevant now than ever. 'Happy-Go-Wrong' will be showing at 7:30pm on Friday 17 September.
'The Crooners'. Tim ‘Mac’ McCallum ('The Voice Australia') and Tony ‘Dee’ Doevendans ('We Are The Superhumans UK') have joined forces this year to bring a high energy cabaret show to the stage performing all-time favourite swing and jazz classics. Chair to chair, hat to hat, the two leading men will swing and spin the night away with their exuberant showmanship and unique enchanting voices at their self-titled show 'The Crooners – Swinging And Spinning'. From Sinatra to Bublé, Nat ‘King’ Cole to Bennett, The Crooners will have toes tapping and hearts melting at the intimate soiree. The Crooners will be bringing their sweet sounds to the stage at 6:30pm on Saturday 18 September.
Aspy Jones. What better way to close a phenomenal three-day festival than with a glamorous night out? Dust off your most colourful blazer or your most sparkly dress for the fabulous 'Closing Night Concert'! The loveable and quirky Aspy Jones, supported by Sunshine Coast hip-hop artist MC Wheels (aka Nathan Tessman), will take out the Undercover Artist Festival with a bang! Jones’ honest and quirky songs reflect an authentic and inspiring retelling of his lived experiences with autism and anxiety. Despite living with a condition called spinal muscular atrophy with respiratory distress (SMARD), Tessman has not let his disability limit his desire to achieve his musical aspirations in life and has been able to write three albums due for release this month. Join Aspy to close the festival at 8:00pm on Saturday 18 September. Undercover Artist Festival is on at Queensland Theatre (Brisbane) from 16-18 September.