Back to Back Theatre

60 Little Malop St
Australia 3220

Postal Address

PO Box 1257
Australia 3220

Tel 61 3 5221 2029

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Image: Jeff Busby


“Occasionally it’s like a dream sequence in a David Lynch film, disturbing, unstoppable. Sometimes it reeks of loneliness, people going about their business in some seriously fucked-up economy hotel. But mostly it’s full of laughter and hope, a feeling very much helped by the wide demographic of its contributors.” RealTime Arts

An experimental residency model for working with communities.

THE DEMOCRATIC SET is a residency model for creating short films and performances, to explore the belief that all people are, in principle, equal and should enjoy social, political and economic rights and opportunities. THE DEMOCRATIC SET uses a custom-made film set, a neutral room with two opposing doors.

Disturbingly obvious and tantalisingly strange, THE DEMOCRATIC SET is a rapid series of short live performances and screen-based video portraits created in collaboration with communities.

THE DEMOCRATIC SET is a cavalcade of portrait, soap box and drama.

Since 2009, via THE DEMOCRATIC SET, communities have created short films that can be viewed on THE DEMOCRATIC SET Microsite.

Back to Back develops experimental residency models. The models create space for the intuition of collaborating artists and community participants. Once developed, a residency model is often deployed iteratively, in different communities, over several years, allowing for approaches from one incarnation to seep into the next, and for collaborators’ working practices to deepen and flourish. The structure proposes artistic directions with a focus on collaboration, not facilitation.

Developed with support from
The Australian Government through the Australia Council, its arts funding and advisory body, and the Victorian Government through Arts Victoria.

The film below includes footage from 15 Democratic Set residencies and was screened at the 2015 PQAU Exhibition, as part of the Prague Quadrennial, 18 – 28 June 2015.

Film: Rhian Hinkley

Upcoming Performances

22 Sep 2016 - 30 Apr 2017

Arp Museum, Remagen, Germany

THE DEMOCRATIC SET Long run Film Exhibition


04 Apr 2017 - 08 Apr 2017

Tweetakt, Utrecht, Netherlands

Filming: Tuesday 4 - Thursday 6 April
Screening: Saturday 8 April, 8:15pm

Image: Carl Newland