WA Decides | Perth’s favourite show of 2017

Posted by Thom Smyth, December 12th, 2017

The results of our annual industry poll are in, and it was a close and mixed one this year. We asked the below respondents to: let us know what their favourite shows were; to nominate a company or artist to look out for in 2018; and let us know their pick for a show commission.

And the winner is…Co3 Australia for their show The Zone! This super-physical new work by Raewyn Hill combined movement, live music and a stunning design from architect Satoshi Okada. Honourable mentions to Roslyn Oades’ Hello, Goodbye & Happy Birthday (toured by Performing Lines) and Perth Festival’s stunning 2017 opening event Boorna Waanginy: The Trees Speak.

We’ve got a tie for artists to watch out for! The joint winners are: Perennial favourites The Last Great Hunt, and the WA Youth Theatre Company under newly appointed Executive Producer James Berlyn.

NAME: Graeme Watson | Editor, Out in Perth

PERFORMANCE PICK #1: The Clearest Light by Christopher Hill, presented as part of the WA Ballet’s Quarry Season. Hill is a super talented, choreographer and musician, This piece was foreboding, dark and mesmerizing.

PERFORMANCE PICK #2: Lady Eats Apple – I had huge expectations for this show from Back to Back Theatre, it didn’t disappoint, I think I slipped into a trance during this show.

PERFORMANCE PICK #3: Renegade Productions Unveiled: Gay Sex for Endtimes – I saw it a week ago and I’m still laughing.

ARTIST/COMPANY TO WATCH IN 2018?: Cougar Morrison – his Fringe World shows are always amazing, but he’s been perfecting the art of drag throughout the year, and giving stunning performances.

2018 COMMISSION TOPIC?: clearly we need some shows about dual citizenship

Hello, Goodbye & Happy Birthday | Image by Amy Brown

 Mitchell Whelan | Independent Artist

PERFORMANCE PICK #1: The Gabriels by Richard Nelson at PIAF – 9 hours of ‘hard core naturalism’ at it’s finest

PERFORMANCE PICK #2: Hello, Goodbye and Happy Birthday by Roslyn Oades, produced by Performing Lines at MPAC – Just so beautiful, and heartfelt

PERFORMANCE PICK #3: Price Tag by Jeffrey Jay Fowler – I laughed, I screamed, I bought a cheap delicious beer after the show

ARTIST/COMPANY TO WATCH IN 2018?: Rhiannon Walker, designer of Once We Lived here @ The Blue Room; Frieda Lee, performer in The Advisors by Last Great Hunt and a Black Swan Emerging Writer; Liz Newell, Playwright of Toast @ The Blue Room

2018 COMMISSION TOPIC?: FUCK TRUMP; “gender is a construct, tear it apart” – Sasha Velour; Russia is rounding up and killing gay men


NAME: Joanna Trilling | Producer, ABC News

PERFORMANCE PICK #1: Complicite & Simon McBurney – The Encounter at Perth Festival: This incredible feat of story-telling took us on a journey into the Amazon jungle – it was an astonishing technical feat.

PERFORMANCE PICK #2: Barking Gecko Theatre Company – Bambert’s Book of Lost Stories: I’d heard so many wonderful things about this production having missed it’s first run so expectations were high -it didn’t dissapoint. Bravo Barking Gecko for delivering this delightful, gem of a show.

PERFORMANCE PICK #3: CO3, Raewyn Hill The Zone – Raewyn’s hard-hitting, physical choreography combined with Eden Mulholland live music, Mark Howett’s lighting and Satoshi Okada’s set created a mesmerising work.

ARTIST/COMPANY TO WATCH IN 2018?: The Last Great Hunt and James Berlyn (WAYTCo)

Boorna Waanginy | Image by Toni Wilkinson

 Alex Desebrock | Lead Artist, Maybe (   ) Together

PERFORMANCE PICK #1: Boorna Waanginy: The Trees Speak – Perth Festival – just stunning, and timely. Such an massive experience by Perth locals talking about necessary things, with magic, science and heart.

PERFORMANCE PICK #2: Aeon by Lz Dunn, presented by PICA Perry Lakes and produced by Performing Lines – I had a magic experience doing this. Walking through WA bush and swarming with strangers. Loved its simplicity.

PERFORMANCE PICK #3: Fantasy Light Yoga by Deep Soulful Sweats – those girls know how to get people moving. This was the second time I’ve done their work and it always amazes me that everyone participates, embodying their star sign. Hilarious, joyous and a work out!

ARTIST/COMPANY TO WATCH IN 2018?: I missed the PRVCY showing at PICA and am interested to see how this evolves….sounds hot. Am also super excited by High Tide and Fremantle Festival and how this is going to evolve! Shout out to Open Lid Ensemble for Hypatia this year too – look forward to seeing what’s next.

2018 COMMISSION TOPIC?: Anything getting people with differing perspectives connecting in the same room. Anything with two sides (indigenous and non, young and old, left and right, etc: bring it!)


NAME: Terri-ann White | Director, UWA Publishing

PERFORMANCE PICK #1: Strut Dance/One Flat Thing, Reproduced A masterpiece of alfresco intensity and future projections for crack dancers

PERFORMANCE PICK #2: Roslyn Oades/Hello, Goodbye and Happy Birthday Such exquisite theatre-making and performance

PERFORMANCE PICK #3: Perth Festival/ Boorna Waanginy: the Trees Speak/Kings Park Opening Event Transformative


2018 COMMISSION TOPIC?: Beauty and love in our difficult era


NAME: Mararo Wangai | Independent Aritst

PERFORMANCE PICK #1: Gregory Maqoma: Exit/Exist

PERFORMANCE PICK #2: Hart – She Said Theatre

PERFORMANCE PICK #3: Laika: A Staged Radio Play by Second Chance Theatre



The Advisors | Image by Daniel James Grant

 Paul Selwyn Norton | Director, Strut Dance

PERFORMANCE PICK #1: Betroffenheit – Kidd Pivot – Perth Festival

PERFORMANCE PICK #2: One Flat Thing, Reproduced – William Forsythe – STRUT Dance

PERFORMANCE PICK #3: The Advisors – The Last Great Hunt


2018 COMMISSION TOPIC?: Moral Leadership


NAME: Anna Reece | Head of Programming, Perth Festival

PERFORMANCE PICK #1: The Gabriel’s, The Public Theatre, Perth Festival 2017. Sharing this show with good friends and strangers for a whole day at Subiaco Theatre Centre reminded me of how extraordinarily powerful and touching simple, bare bones theatre can be. Made me weep with happiness and despair and this crazy old world.

PERFORMANCE PICK #2: My Robot – last show out of the gates for Barking Gecko in 2017 was a serious showcase of the best of the West from performance & design through to the genius behind the lovable Robot.

PERFORMANCE PICK #3: Oddysea – Sensorium Theatre.  Such a treat to be able to enter the extraordinary tactile world Sensorium create for young people with special needs in their amazing underwater dome.

ARTIST/COMPANY TO WATCH IN 2018?: Arielle Gray – a lead artist for the Last Great Hunt’s equally brilliant and adorable New Owner, her performance as the gutsy young adventurer in Barking Gecko’s My Robot was outstanding and currently in development for a new site-specific work in a hotel. 2018 is the year for AG I reckon!

2018 COMMISSION TOPIC?: Contemporary Indigenous stories


NAME: Sean Walsh | Producer, The Last Great Hunt

PERFORMANCE PICK #1: Deanna Flesher/ Butt Kapinski

PERFORMANCE PICK #2: The Last Great Hunt/ BALI

PERFORMANCE PICK #3: The Kabuki Drop/ BLINK – Ok I didn’t see much this year, but it was good (for a play I was in!)

ARTIST/COMPANY TO WATCH IN 2018?: The Last Great Hunt – more great stuff on the way in 2018!

2018 COMMISSION TOPIC?: Social impact of the dual speed economy – the widening gap between rich and poor in Australia

Good Little Soldier | Image by Peter Tea

 Sarah McNeill | Arts Editor, POST Newspapers

PERFORMANCE PICK #1: The Lighthouse Girl/ Black Swan State theatre Co. A beautifully realised local story. Moving. Heartfelt

PERFORMANCE PICK #2: Master Class/ Amanda Muggleton. A true master class in performance

PERFORMANCE PICK #3: Good Little Soldier/ Ochre Dance company

ARTIST/COMPANY TO WATCH IN 2018?: Ochre Dance co

2018 COMMISSION TOPIC?: sexual predators!


NAME: Frances Barbe | Senior Lecturer, WAAPA


ARTIST/COMPANY TO WATCH IN 2018?: WAAPA Bachelor of Performing Arts – Performance Making graduates!


NAME: Sharon Custers | General Manager, Bunbury Regional Entertainment Centre

PERFORMANCE PICK #1: The Encounter – Complicite


PERFORMANCE PICK #3: It’s Dark Outside – The Last Great Hunt

ARTIST/COMPANY TO WATCH IN 2018?: The Last Great Hunt

2018 COMMISSION TOPIC?: What it means to be a young person growing up in the digital age


NAME: Anna Kosky | Producer, Barking Gecko Theatre Company and Producer, Perth Festival

PERFORMANCE PICK #1: Boorna Waanginy: The Trees Speak. An amazing local collaboration of scale

PERFORMANCE PICK #2: Wardarnji: Fremantle Festival Opening. A beautiful simple dance and singing celebration of Noongar culture.

PERFORMANCE PICK #3: Betroffenheit. a show that hit you in the guts and left you reeling for days.

ARTIST/COMPANY TO WATCH IN 2018?: City of Fremantle I think are doing really exciting things in the arts sector and I think there is heaps of interesting things to come out of the programs down there.

2018 COMMISSION TOPIC?: Post-Weinstein world and the normalisation of sexism and misogyny in our everyday lives.


NAME: Philippa Maughan | Director of Investment, Country Arts WA

PERFORMANCE PICK #1: The Zone by Co3. The meeting of contemporary dance & architecture with the dancers having to overcome barriers simply to enter & exit the stage made for an exciting evening of dance

PERFORMANCE PICK #2: Good Little Soldier by Ochre Dance – an excellent merging of dance & storytelling about a compelling subject by an impressive ensemble of actors, dancers & creatives

PERFORMANCE PICK #3: Sista Girl – State Theatre of SA & Yirra Yaakin – terrific to hear two voices and a scenario not often heard on our stages in a tight production

ARTIST/COMPANY TO WATCH IN 2018?: Spare Parts Puppet Theatre – if The Rules of Summer indicate a change in tone for the company, then more please!



NAME: Ryan Taaffe | Executive Officer, Circuitwest

PERFORMANCE PICK #1: Co3 & The Farm – Frank Enstein

PERFORMANCE PICK #2: The Last Great Hunt – Bali

PERFORMANCE PICK #3: Small Voices Louder – Maybe ( ) Together, produced by Performing Lines WA.

ARTIST/COMPANY TO WATCH IN 2018?: Western Sky Theatre

2018 COMMISSION TOPIC?: When did empathy evaporate?

Lady Eats Apple | Image by Jeff Busby

 Jay Emmanuel | Artistic Director, St Georges Cathedral

PERFORMANCE PICK #1: Lady Eats Apple (Back to Back Theatre) The epic is set against the every day in this incredibly moving and profound production. Presented by Perth Festival.

PERFORMANCE PICK #2: Nautilus by Trygve Wakenshaw & Presented by Fringe World. He is a star of physical comedy. Catch him at Sydney Festival in 2018!

PERFORMANCE PICK #3: Hello, Goodbye & Happy Birthday By Roslyn Oades. A cross generational performance that puts us in touch with our humanity. It is heartbreaking and heartwarming at the same time.

ARTIST/COMPANY TO WATCH IN 2018?: Julia Hales, Ziggy Ramo, Kevin Wangai, Daisy Sanders, Maddie Kate, Liam Colgan, Ochre Contemporary Dance Company, Black Swan State Theatre Company’s incredible 2018 program

2018 COMMISSION TOPIC?: Works that explore intercultural conversations.


NAME: Julian Hobba | Executive Director, The Blue Room Theatre

PERFORMANCE PICK #1: Side Pony Productions & The Last Great Hunt – The Irresistible | Devised work that was rich, economical, evocative and aesthetically moreish!

PERFORMANCE PICK #2: The Kabuki Drop – Blink | A beautifully spare and refined production of a text-based play

PERFORMANCE PICK #3: Renegade Productions – Unveiling: Gay Sex for Endtimes | A brave and grounded post-dramatic work that crossed from theatre into art

ARTIST/COMPANY TO WATCH IN 2018?: FUGUE | Maiden Voyage Theatre Company

2018 COMMISSION TOPIC?: the disconnection of our social tissue


NAME: Leigh Hill | Journalist, Out in Perth

PERFORMANCE PICK #1: Arteries By Ancestry – Fugue

PERFORMANCE PICK #2: Hypatia – The Open Lid Ensemble

PERFORMANCE PICK #3: Mache: Home – Gendermess


Coma Land | Image by Philip Gostelow

 Fiona de Garis | Senior Producer, Performing Lines WA

PERFORMANCE PICK #1: This Little Light of Mine (Proximity Festival Program C) / Rachael Dease in Proximity Festival – possibly my favourite Proximity show so far. Beautifully judged framework for a deeply personal and transformative experience

PERFORMANCE PICK #2: Coma Land / Will O’Mahony Black Swan State Theatre Company and Performing Lines WA – OK, OK, totally biased on this one, but just as in love with this story of love and letting go after seeing it onstage as I was when I first read the script.

PERFORMANCE PICK #3: The Zone / Co3 – I could have watched the dancers being sucked in and out of the walls all night. Great to see the company in full flight on the mainstage.

ARTIST/COMPANY TO WATCH IN 2018?: WA Youth Theatre Company – exciting things ahead for WAYTCo with James Berlyn and Carmel McKie at the helm.

2018 COMMISSION TOPIC?: Happiness