Utopiate was performed at The Theatre, Belconnen Arts Centre from Nov 4-12 2022

Rebus Theatre’s bold new work explored the experiences, challenges and voices of a cast of disabled actors, and actors with lived experience of mental ill health, from their Flair program through an audio-visual feast that brought together dialogue, physical theatre, soundscapes (live and recorded) and visual design.

The cast was selected from Rebus’ community theatre programs to enhance their artistic development by devising and performing a professional show. Utopiate was co-directed by Rebus’ Associate Artist Sammy Moynihan and Creative Producer Ben Drysdale, with assistant direction from Melissa Gryglewski and sound design by Marlene Radice.

The cast explored the spiritual teachings of Eckhart Tolle and his description of the ‘pain body’ – the human instinct to suppress or escape pain rather than be present in it. The characters in Utopiate, like all of us, experienced a variety of pains in their life. They took up an intergalactic opportunity to join a new world with no pain with unexpected results. Through a series of treatments administered by a well-intentioned alien race, they were forced to decide if this new world was all it’s cracked up to be.

Utopiate was created through Rebus Theatre’s Flair program, which invites the diverse cast to take the next step in their professional practice and creatively explore social issues through metaphor.

Here’s what the critics had to say:

  • “One wonders if Rebus actually holds the seeds of where theatre is leading in its relationship with society and culture.” Joe Woodward – Canberra CityNews – Read the full review here.
  • “If the aim of theatre is to make a difference and bring about change, then Rebus Theatre is its standard bearer.” – Peter Wilkins – Canberra Critic’s Circle – Read the full review here.
  • “Despite the adversities that all the members of Rebus Theatre face daily, they have successfully created a play showing growth and love, tied together with a sense of humour. Delightful theatre, in other words.” Frank McKone – Canberra Critic’s Circle – Read the full review here.
  • “The direction is inventive, the costumes are colourful, the lighting effects are excellent and the witty script is peppered with enough tongue-in-cheek lines to keep the audience chuckling through-out. Together with the underlying theme of “careful what you wish for” which bring the proceedings to an optimistic and satisfying conclusion, “Utopiate” offers a revealing insight into the valuable work being undertaken by Rebus Theatre.” Bill Stephens – Canberra Critic’s Circle – Read the full review here.

‘Flair’ is funded by the Australian Government Department of Social Services. Go to www.dss.gov.au for more information

Supported by the Restart Investment to Sustain and Expand (RISE) Fund – an Australian Government initiative.

A collage of images of performers on stage in colourful costumes under lights
Image of the ACT govt logo with two swans, onen black, one white, facing in either side of a crest containing a castle and two sword crossed. The words 'supported by ACT Government are written in bold text
Ainslie and Gorman Arts Centres logo with with letters 'A+G' in bold texgt and the words 'Ainslie and Gorman Arts Centres' written below