For one night only, a sizzling smorgasbord of experimental and unexpected theatre will be on show at THE DPS LAB, a special event featuring some of Brisbane’s most exciting emerging and independent artists.

Showcasing three new visual theatre works by Dead Puppet Society’s Academy artists, this year’s bill explores diverse themes including gender, the ‘other’ and aliens; navigating the joys and challenges of early parenthood; and a journey of self-discovery in an AI-generated world.

With fresh vibes at The Princess Theatre’s outdoor bar and behind-the-scenes tours next door of Dead Puppet Society’s Fabrication Workshop before and after the show, this one-off theatrical event is not to be missed.

Now in its seventh year, the DPS Academy is a unique program that enables artists to develop original story ideas for the stage with a focus on visual theatre under the guidance of Dead Puppet Society’s team.

This year’s three showcased works include Human Scaffolds Marvellous Creations by VOiiiD Collective, Small Planets by Julie Ritchey and Georgette Kelly, and Survival on a Strange Planet by Darcie Rae Boatswain and Calum Johnston.

Human Scaffold Marvellous Creations by VOiiiD Collective explores themes of loss, letting go, and the blurred lines between reality and fantasy. A journey of self-discovery through a fantastical world, this immersive experience features an original sound score, recycled wearables, and a taste of AI visuals, letting generative art loose.

“I’m incredibly excited to share our exploration of the collision between old and new worlds. Through crafting with recycled items to enhance the visual art aspect of our work, I hope to inspire others to transform their trash into treasure,” says VOiiiD Collective’s Jade Brider.

Small Planets, by international collaborators Julie Ritchey (Australia) and Georgette Kelly (US), is an astronautical adventure for very young audiences (0-7 months) and their caregivers. An aesthetic, sensory and somatic experience, this voyage seeks to transform the anxieties and uncertainties of early parenthood into a sense of deeper connectedness.

“Small Planets necessitates a true 360-degree approach to design. We hope that this opportunity will open up theatrical spaces for families who might not otherwise come to the theatre due to the unique needs of caring for a very young baby,” says Ritchey and Kelly.

Survival on a Strange Planet is a circus and physical theatre comedy by Darcie Rae Boatswain and Calum Johnston. Set in 1994, an alien visitor has free reign over an inner-city apartment after crushing its human occupant upon landing. With iconic sci-fi movies as the alien’s only reference point, this work playfully prods at perspectives on humanity, gender and the stories we tell about each other.

“This will be the first time we have worked together as equal co-creators, and we’re excited to bring this idea to life,” says Boatswain and Johnston.

Calum Johnston Moon with a View. Image by Jenna Todd.

Dead Puppet Society’s Associate Creative Director, Matt Seery, says that THE DPS LAB uncovers the hidden gems and emerging creative artists who are poised to make a big dent in the contemporary arts scene in years to come.

“THE DPS LAB shines a spotlight on some of the most promising new talent in the city. Each year, we assemble an exclusive line-up of rising stars who couldn’t help but seize our attention in the past twelve months or so. They represent the fresh faces at the forefront of Brisbane’s independent theatre scene; standout artists with something new to say and a wholly original way of saying it.”

Presented in partnership with The Princess Theatre, the DPS Academy is supported by The Jelley Family Foundation and Arts Queensland.

The Princess Theatre provides DPS Academy artists with access to one of Brisbane’s best contemporary performance spaces to develop and present their work, with Dead Puppet Society’s HQ and Fabrication Workshop just next door. The Princess Theatre is Queensland’s oldest-standing theatre, designed and built in 1888.

Dead Puppet Society is an international production house and design-led theatre company. They combine timeless craftsmanship with cutting-edge technology to create deeply imaginative experiences wrought with spectacle and wonder. Recent box office hits include Holding Achilles, The Wider Earth, Ishmael, Laser Beak Man and Storm Boy.

THE DPS LAB’s three bold and brave new works will hit the stage on Wednesday 10th July, at 7:30pm at The Princess Theatre, 8 Annerley Road, Woolloongabba.


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Hero image credit: The Storm in the Barn by Eric Coble, Directed by Julie Ritchey (Boise Contemporary Theater). Photo Credit: Andy Lawless Designs by: Noël Huntzinger and Michael Baltzell.