Back to Back Theatre was founded in Geelong in 1987 to create theatre with people who are perceived to have a disability. It has gone on to become one of Australia’s leading creative voices, focusing on moral, philosophical and political questions about the value of individual lives.
With a full-time ensemble of six actors, Back to Back creates work that is idiosyncratic, passionate and at times confronting. Back to Back’s ensemble is made up of actors perceived to have intellectual disabilities, a group of people who, in a culture obsessed with perfection and surgically enhanced ‘beauty’, are the real outsiders. This position of marginality provides them with a unique and at time subversive view of the world. The stories they create explore “the cold, dark side” of our times, be it sexuality of people with disabilities, the uses of artificial intelligence and genetic screening, unfulfilled desire, the inevitability of death, and what the fixation with economic rationality and utilitarianism means for people excluded from the ‘norm’.
With Bruce Gladwin as Artistic Director, Back to Back has nurtured a unique artistic voice, placing the ensemble at the centre of social and cultural dialogue. Through a process of research, improvisation and scripting, and collaboration between the ensemble, Artistic Director and invited guests, new work is realised and performed to audiences around the world.
“small metal objects turns the notion of theatre and the everyday inside out. It is a pure, open-hearted, complex and breathtaking production and a unique meditation human worth.“ Sydney Morning Herald, Jan 07
”Its beauty lies in the way that it forces you to concentrate on the things and people who are normally rendered invisible. In their accidental participation in the show, the people in the crowds become distinct individuals…” Time Out London (Critic’s Pick), Nov 07
“That the two leads are people with intellectual disabilities only adds another layer to the perception, as we are asked to revisit what we think a so-called impaired human being is capable of" Irish Theatre Magazine, Dublin, Oct 07