Press Releases

Working With Children

2 Jul 2018

Working With Children is a brand new work written, directed and performed by award-winning theatre maker Nicola Gunn (Piece for Person and Ghetto Blaster, Green Screen) that looks at the ethical complexities of working with children in an emotionally evocative and technologically inventive solo performance opening on Saturday 1 September at Southbank Theatre, The Lawler.

Created in association with Pol Hayvaert from internationally renowned Belgian arts centre CAMPO, this world premiere, NEON NEXT commission sees Nicola Gunn use her seductively subversive humour and fierce social critique to raise questions such as, what happens when we make children objects for us to look at, and what could be the long-term effects of an artwork on a child performer?

Nicola Gunn said, ‘I notice a lot of contemporary theatre-makers are working with children to make performances for an adult audience. I wonder why this is and what about looking at children is so interesting; I wonder how a child can change or amplify the meaning of something and then, what are our responsibilities, if any, in using a child for this effect. Or perhaps it’s just that we’ve all run out of ideas and children are simply funnier and smarter than us.’

Just imagine a woman who works with children. Now imagine a man who works with children. Imagine the woman who works with children has a secret that she’s ashamed of. Imagine the man is going through a messy divorce. Now imagine there are regulations in place to protect the children they’re working with from inappropriate things like dark emotions or the vulnerability of reality.

Working With Children will travel to Seattle, Washington in February 2019 for its US premiere as part of On The Boards festival of contemporary theatre, dance and music.

Nicola Gunn is an award-winning writer, director, performer and designer, who combines text, choreography and visual art to create bleeding-edge contemporary performance. She finds parallels between personal experiences and larger social realities, often using subversive humour to explore the fragility of the human condition. Her extensive body of work includes Piece for Person and Ghetto Blaster (Green Room Award for Outstanding Contemporary & Experimental Performance), Mermermer (Helpmann Award for Best Visual or Physical Theatre Production – 2017 nominee); The Interpreters, performed at Alliance Française in French, English, Auslan and Bunwurrong; and Green Screen, which featured at MTC Neon 2014. She was artist in residence with Kaldor Public Art Projects under the mentorship of Marina Abramovic in 2015. She is the recipient of an Australia Council for the Arts Creative Australia Fellowship, a Churchill Fellowship and a 3-month Pars Cité Residency.

Concept, Text, Direction & Performance Nicola Gunn
Artistic Associate Pol Heyvaert
AV Design Nick Roux
Music and Sound Kelly Ryall
Costume and Co-set Realisation Eugyeene Teh
Script Dramaturg Jon Haynes

Season Dates
30 August – 29 September

Opening Night
Saturday 1 September

Southbank Theatre, The Lawler

03 8688 0800


‘Gunn’s theatre is tantalising, entertaining and often bewildering in the best possible way.’ Herald Sun

‘Funny, smart, heartfelt…Gunn keeps her audience on a knife’s edge between profundity and the ludicrous.’ The Age

Published on 2 July 2018