History

Urban Theatre Projects draws upon a 30-year lineage of distinctive new theatre works based on a process of dialogue between contemporary theatre practice and diverse communities. Stories and images of contemporary life are created in collaboration with teams of artists from diverse artistic and cultural backgrounds. A succession of leading Australian artists has enabled the company to remain at the forefront of ground breaking new processes that have led to seminal theatre works, mapping the shifting dynamics of urban life and artistic development over three decades of contemporary Australia.

The philosophy and artists of Urban Theatre Projects have driven an investigation of new forms, new collaborations and new contexts, consistently challenging and reinvigorating art form practice.

As a way of reaching a new constituency in its early years, a collective of young performance-makers made work on the streets, later shifting to art in working life processes, placing artists in working sites such as mining towns (Coal Town, 1984) and factories (Behind the Seams, 1988). In the early 90s the company moved to western Sydney and began to make works where communities became the performers as well as an essential part of the devising process, such as Café Hakawati (1991), a collaboration with Arabic-speaking communities at the time of the first Gulf War. In the mid 90’s UTP began creating site-specific intimate spectacles, intersecting community cultural development and contemporary performance practice. Under the artistic direction of Fiona Winning and John Baylis, landmark works included Hip Hopera (1995), Trackwork (1997), Speed St (1999) and Asylum (2001).

This is Urban Theatre Projects’ intimate spectacle: an entire suburban street performing itself… Even better, this is a spectacle that stares back at its audience.
Dr Ian Maxwell, Postwest

Under Alicia Talbot’s Artistic Directorship (2001–2012) a new brand of work propelled the company into an exciting phase of growth, extending its profile and reputation nationally and internationally. Talbot shifted the model of community engagement to position community members as expert consultants. As such, they were invited to share opinions and observations about the world as they perceived it. This process grounded Talbot’s projects with an authencity that blurred the line between theatrical artifice and everyday life. om 2006–2012 the Company premiered 4 large-scale works as part of The Sydney Festival; Back Home (2006), The Last Highway (2008), The Fence (2010) and most recently Buried City (2012), a co-production with Sydney Festival and Belvoir Street Theatre.

In addition to the work of the Artistic Director, UTP has a producing relationship with a diverse family of artists in the contemporary arts sector. Years of producing a diverse range of projects varying in scale and location, and informed by multiple art form practices and cultural perspectives, have equipped the company with the expertise to produce guest teams of artists in the creation of new work.

Since 2014, current Artistic director Rosie Dennis has significantly increased the company’s program, expanding to digital platforms (producing the company’s first film Bre & Back), and shifting to a curatorial model while maintaining an artist-led culture and branding work with her distinctive exuberance and sensitivity. Her works as Director include: Home Country (Sydney Festival 2017), Simple Infinity (2016), One day for Peace (2015), My Radio Heart (2014) and Life As We Know It (2013), while her work as Curator includes BANKSTOWN:LIVE (Sydney Festival 2015).

Chronology: 1978–2017

2017
Home Country
The Tribe Touring

2016
Simple Infinity
RIGHT HERE.RIGHT NOW.
One Day For Peace
_Space Residency

My Radio Heart
Coffee, Tea & Cigarettes

 

2015
BANKSTOWN:LIVE
Bankstown Bayanihan Hopping Spirit House
Van
Family Portraits
The Bankstown Dancing Project
The Tribe
The Last Word
Songs From Northam Avenue
Lullaby Movement
Bre & Back
One Day For Peace

2014
My Radio Heart
On the Verge of Bloom
Democratic Garden
Close Encounters
B-Side

2013
Michael Essien… I Want To Play As You
Life As We Know It
Inclusions
Catalogue of Dreams
_Space Residency
B-Side
Practice & Participate

2012
Buried City
Intersections

2011
Stories of Love & Hate
Ama & Chan
Posts in the Paddock

 2010
The Fence
The Folding Wife (tour)
The Football Diaries (tour)

 2009
The Football Diaries
The Fence (Development)

2008
The Last Highway
Stories of Love & Hate

2007
The Folding Wife
Back Home (remount & tour)

2006
Back Home
Fast Cars & Tractor Engines (remount & tour)

2005
Short ‘n Sharp 4
Fast Cars & Tractor Engines

2004
Short ‘n Sharp III
Karaoke Dreams
Plaza Real

2003
Mechanix
Short ‘n Sharp II
india@oz.sangam

2002
Girt by Sea
The Longest Night
The Longest Night (tour)
Short & Sharp

2001
Fa’afafine
Asylum

2000
Marinheiro
Manufacturing Dissent
The Palais
The Cement Garage (tour)

1999
The Query
Tabernacle
Desert Rap

1998
The Other Side
Chay Vong Vong
Speed Street

1997
Crop Circles
TrackWork

1996
Noroc!
Danger
Going Home

1995
Yungaburra Road
Hip Hopera

1994
Eye of the Law SITE: Homebush Bay Story
Blood Orange (tour)

1993
Blood Orange (adaptation)
One in a Million

1992
Mal De Ojo
Rap it Up (remount)
Selling Grandma
Blood Orange

1991
Café Hakawati
Rap it Up
Children’s Week

1990
Repercussions Death Defying Life Show

1989
DDT-a-go-go
Jumping Stumps
Behind the Seams (remount)

1988
Biting Tongues (remount)
Blistering Backtracks (remount)
Behind the Seams
Circus Villawood

1987
Biting Tongues
Blistering Backtracks
Coal Town (remount)

1986
Riff Raffle (remount)
What a Load of Old Rubbish
The Really Interesting Gypsies

1985
Coal Town (film)

1984
Riff Raffle
Coal Town
The Really Interesting Gypsies

1983
Living Newspaper
The Really Interesting Gypsies

1982
Dr Floyds Fly By Night Medicine Show
The Really Interesting Gypsies
Discipline and Punish

1981
Creation of Death Defying Theatre
Recruitment of company and rehearsals of Dr Floyds Fly By Night Medicine Show

1980
The Really Interesting Gypsies
1978
Cartwheel Theatre formed