Article by Cassandra Ramsay @cassramsay


Crack Theatre Festival will have to watch its back this year when Applespiel, a collective of performers, musicians, technicians and devisors, head in with A Theatrical Primer, representing every panel at Crack. Very quickly.

The collective’s first trip to Crack was in 2009, where members Simon Binns (performer/director/writer) and Mark Rogers (director/performer/playwright) were on panels, and they haven’t missed a festival since.


A love letter to the festival as well as a bit of fun, the work is inbuilt with a small hurdle considering it can’t be created until the festival begins. “We’ll come up with a framework before we get up there, but we won’t have much of an idea of what the show’s going to be until we sit in on the panels – which is sort of terrifying” says Nathan Harrison (performer/writer/and more). “It’s a chance to reflect back on Crack, but also make fun of the artists (including us) having Very Serious Discussions About Art.”

A Theatrical Primer expands on the collective’s body of work which tests dynamic audience relationships, engages personal stories and dissects structures of mythology in society.

Keeping processes and collaborations transparent through their blog (which they all contribute to) and performing at a number of festivals such as Festival of Unpopular Culture, Festival of Dangerous Ideas, Underbelly Arts Festival, Tiny Stadiums Festival, Next Wave and the Fringe Circuit including Edinburgh, the collective have made an impact in the contemporary performance landscape of Australian Theatre.

Along with Simon, Mark and Nathan, the collective comprises Nikki Kennedy (performer/director/choreographer), Emma McManus (performer/director/musician), Joseph Parro (performer/technician), Troy Reid (performer/devisor) and Rachel Roberts (performer). “We each bring different influences and resonances with us into new development processes” says Nathan. “We are all theatre practitioners in our own right, and hold commitments outside Applespiel. We have roots in theatre, but quite varied interests.”

As the collective of eight continue devising their framework, you can be sure that this year’s Crack audience and artists are all bound to learn a little and have a laugh with the unique – and ephemeral (what theatre isn’t?) – staging of A Theatrical Primer.