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The Strangeways Ensemble

MERRIGONGX 2020 Artist Profile


Comprising seven members, The Strangeways Ensemble is Merrigong’s permanent company of professional actors perceived to have intellectual disability, and Wollongong’s only professional theatre ensemble. Formalised in 2018 after Merrigong’s second professional work with the group, The Outside ManThe Strangeways Ensemble was created from long-term participants of Merrigong and The Disability Trust’s Altogether Drama Program. The Ensemble meet every Friday to rehearse and develop skills, as well as engaging in a number of week-long workshops with some of the country’s leading theatre artists and companies.

Premiering in 2020, their new show Trash Talk explores justice in the workplace for people working in Australian Disability Enterprises. Devised with Director Anne-Louise Rentell, and drawing on a hyper-real aesthetic inspired by professional wrestling, Trash Talk takes a gladiatorial approach to human rights and our universal desire for respect and dignity. An unflinching and unmissable start to the Merrigong 2020 Season, the work also toured to Riverside Theatres, Parramatta in February.

Trash Talk is the third original, mainstage work produced by Merrigong Theatre Company in association with The Disability Trust, following The Man Who Dreamt the Stars (2014) and The Outside Man (2017). Their next mainstage work will commence development this year for presentation in 2023.

Photo by Dida Sundet.

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