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About Merrigong

Merrigong Theatre Company is a not-for-profit company that operates Wollongong’s premier performing arts venue, Illawarra Performing Arts Centre (IPAC) and the city’s key civic and community venue, Wollongong Town Hall.

Merrigong is also a vibrant theatre company in its own right –producing, presenting and touring exciting contemporary theatre and supporting the development of a wide range of theatre makers.

Merrigong presents a diverse annual season of theatre, dance and children’s programming, including work sourced from Australia’s finest performing arts companies, self-produced work, acclaimed international productions, and innovative contemporary work from new companies.

Outside its annual artistic program, Merrigong programs and partners on a range of commercial events across its venues and in the wider Wollongong Arts Precinct, including festivals, pop/rock concerts, cabaret and stand-up comedy.

With multiple venues for hire, we also facilitate and host numerous commercial and community performing arts events.

Our company’s name, ‘Merrigong’, reflects the Dharawal word for the Illawarra region’s distinctive escarpment, a landmark of supreme cultural importance. The name serves as a constant reminder that our venues rest on unceded First Nations land. In all the we do, Merrigong Theatre Company seeks to acknowledge the traditional custodians of this land, and to show respect to all First Nations people who call our region home.

Mission

Merrigong Theatre Company is a pioneering cultural leader, exemplifying and championing the arts in our local region, our nation, and beyond. We put artists and community at the centre of everything we do, connecting them and promoting their strength. From our home venues in the Wollongong Arts Precinct, we seed, develop, produce, present, host, facilitate and tour performances and programs that reflect our diverse community.

Artistic Rationale

We will make exceptional theatre that tells stories of local relevance, but universal resonance.

The theatre we produce and present will not be ordinary. It will be special. It will transport, thrill, amuse and open minds, strengthening our community and filling our stages with diverse voices.

Producing, Developing & Supporting New Work

As well as presenting the work of other companies, Merrigong produces full-scale productions in-house for presentation in our theatre subscription season and for touring to venues within Australia and internationally. Much of our work is commissioned and developed here at Merrigong, but we also collaborate with other companies in the creation of exciting contemporary theatre.

Recent Merrigong mainstage productions include: Lost Boys by Lachlan Philpott, the mixed abilities work The Outside Man (co-produced with The Disability Trust), Letters to Lindy by Alana Valentine, Landscape with Monsters (a co-production with Circa), A Sri Lankan Tamil Asylum Seeker’s Story as Performed by Australian Actors Under the Guidance of a Sinhalese Director by Dhananjaya Karunarathne, Van Badham’s The Bull, The Moon and the Coronet of Stars (co-produced with Griffin Theatre Company and HotHouse Theatre), The Table of Knowledge (co-produced with version 1.0), Mary Rachel Brown’s The Dapto Chaser and The Q Brothers’ Funk it up About Nothin’ (coproduced with Chicago Shakespeare Theater and Richard Jordan Productions).

Through our MERRIGONGX program we also support local independent artists in all stages of their work, from development to production and presentation, giving birth to unique stories from and for our region.

Touring

Merrigong regularly tours, both our own work and exceptional international theatre, to other venues around Australia.

In 2018, Merrigong’s production of Letters to Lindy by Alana Valentine toured to 21 venues across 4 states and territories of Australia.

Recent tours of international work include: from Ireland, Fishamble’s Swing (10 venues); from the United Kingdom, Dylan Thomas: Return Journey (17 venues); from the United States, Baba Brinkman and Jamie Simmonds’ The Rap Guide to Evolution (9 venues); Kahlil Ashanti’s Basic Training (13 venues); The Q Brothers’ Funk it up About Nothin’ (7 venues); Canadian Rick Miller’s MacHomer (4 venues); and Scotland’s Traverse Theatre’s Midsummer (a play with songs) (4 venues).

Our Venues

Illawarra Performing Arts Centre (IPAC) was opened in 1988, and consists of three performance spaces: the 515 seat IMB Theatre, the 234 seat Bruce Gordon Theatre and the 80 seat Bob Peet Studio. The Wollongong Town Hall comprises four meeting and performance spaces, including the 944 seat main auditorium and The Music Lounge, a 150 seat cabaret style venue.

In addition to being the home of Merrigong’s annual artistic program, our venues also host a range of commercial and community performing arts events throughout the year, operating as venues for hire, as well as instances where Merrigong acts as a commercial promoter or co-presenter.

Coming Up…