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Power, Privilege & Physicality

Innovative dance theatre collective The Farm has built a name for themselves with boundary pushing performances that challenge traditional perceptions of contemporary theatre.

In an exciting world premiere, Darwin Festival audiences are treated to their latest genre-bending work, Stunt Double.

By Kate Conway

In lieu of a director, The Farm operates under what they call the gathering of the six – a group of artists collaboratively making decisions to guide the company’s creative and artistic direction.

Gavin Webber is a member of the collective, who worked on the script for Stunt Double, and performs the role of lead actor in the meta film-within-a-performance production.

“We’re riffing on a classic Aussie action film, but it’s not the film itself, it’s the filming of it. The audience is watching a film being made on stage. It’s set in the 1970s, in the era of Razorback and Mad Max, and those kinds of films,” he says.

“The Aussie film industry took off and suddenly had a lot of money and no rules. There was a real human cost to all this craziness that was happening … especially what was happening with the stunt performers.”

Taking place on the problematic set of a fictional outback horror film, Stunt Double explores the complex power dynamics rife in the film industry. While the film’s stunt doubles put their bodies on the line, performing athletic, risky and downright dangerous manoeuvres, it’s the actors that receive all the credit.

“We’re talking about that industry as a metaphor for society. Using the lens of the 70s film set, which is fun, accessible and entertaining as a metaphor for how power, privilege and hierarchy works,” Webber says.

The interactive performance gives members of the audience a unique opportunity to sign up for roles in the production and join the actors on stage. Standing in as extras, gaffers, clappers and more, it’s a chance to witness the dancers breathtaking flips, jumps, fights scenes, and impressive physicality up close.

“We realised that we could bring people into the performance, and they don’t actually need to know their jobs. Because it’s a very B-grade 1970s film, it’s already a bit chaotic on the set, so the idea that the cast and crew are also a bit chaotic fits perfectly … it just adds to the humour of it all,” Webber says.

Being based on the Gold Coast, the home of Australia’s film and stunt industry, The Farm were able to have conversations with real stunt performers about their experiences in the industry.

An insightful take on what happens when one person’s fame gets used for another person’s glory, Stunt Double is a tongue-in-cheek exposé not to be missed.

Stunt Double
WHEN THU 24 – SAT 26 AUG | 7.30PM
COST $51-$55

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