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Hell House – Provocation, Belief & Morality

Using a staged performance of Hell House as a catalyst for discussion, Geelong’s world-renowned Back to Back Theatre invites you to three community forums on Provocation, Belief and Morality.


Theatre of Speed. Image: Ahrmanya Price & Marcia Ferguson

Every year in the USA’s Bible belt, thousands of Christians engage in a unique form of community theatre via a modern-day morality play called Hell House. Written by Baptist Minister, Pastor Keenan Roberts, the performance takes the form of a haunted house tour, with each room themed around a sin – such as drug-taking, pre-marital sex, abortion, drink-driving or homosexuality. Designed to scare young audiences into confirming their commitment to Christianity, Hell House presents a black-and-white moral world where a wrong decision will send you to hell.

Performed by 40 community actors from Geelong and south-west Victoria, Back to Back Theatre will stage Hell House as a museum would exhibit a cultural or religious artefact. This event is an anthropological presentation of a recruitment drive for evangelical and fundamentalist belief and a discussion about matters that are important to us all.

Forum Topics and Facilitators

Provocation – August 3
Facilitated by Scott Stephens
Panel members: Clare Bowditch, Dr. Benjamin Myers, Waleed Aly

Belief – August 4 Facilitated by Dr. Rachael Kohn Panel members: Dr. Andrew Singleton, Danielle Kirby, Desmond Cahill

Morality – August 5
Facilitated by Peter Mares
Panel members: Dr. Leslie Cannold, Rev. John Depuche, Peter Sherlock

Warning: Themes and subject matter not suitable for persons under the age of 18. Performance explores moralistic and political views that may be sensitive to some. Also contains loud music, strobe lighting, fake blood, hay and very loud effects.

Director Bruce Gladwin Designers Mark Cuthbertson and Emily Barrie Sound design David Franzke Lighting design Jennifer Hector Costume design Emily Barrie

Project Funders & Partners