JOHN HARRISON spoke with Audrey Journal

about the 2018 STEP UP FESTIVAL AT KXT

Every production at KXT in the Step Up program has been informally developed and mentored by Suzanne Millar and John Harrison, co-artistic directors of bAKEHOUSE, and Andrew McMartin, the company’s production manager and resident stage manager. As senior artists, they believe it’s vital to invest in the next generation and new work, literally “stepping it up”.

“From our point of view, there is nothing like being thrown into the cauldron of having to produce work to learn and develop your practice,” Harrison says. “We are providing a space where you can make that step up to producing world-class work, particularly if you have the right team on board.”

JOHN HARRISON speaking about Visiting Hours KXT2018 Launch.jpg

"...Harrison says (Martin) Kinnane and (Benjamin) Freeman (designers on Are We Awake?) bring a wealth of experience to a show. “It’s a great thing for young artists to draw on. There is always some point in a bump-in where everything feels like the train is going off the rails. Having people who have seen everything and made every mistake you can make … their wisdom is invaluable.”

Harrison casts an eye over the crowded room. “It blows my mind,” he says. “I feel like we have the lucky end of the bargain, an amazing pool of up-and-coming talent that is going to rule the Sydney theatre scene in the next 10 years and we’ve had the chance to work with them right at the start. It makes me really happy.”

John Alex Jess.jpg

In March 2018 we're dedicating a month to The Next Big Thing. Come meet our Step Up team and take a peek at their work. Discover new plays in development. Take a first glance at the work of some of Sydney's newest and most exciting emerging artists: writers, directors, producers, designers all testing their wings.

At KXT we're investing in risk.


We’ve seen several attempts to create “immersive” promenade theatre in Sydney in recent years. Some have worked. Others have fallen down because the narrative and dramatic aspects dwindled as the performance unfolded.

But Visiting Hours gets it right. Here, for once, is a show that engages its audience emotionally, not just viscerally, or with the short-lived appeal of novelty.

- Jason Blake, Audrey Journal

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click on the link for production pics, reviews and inside info

is sydney's indie scene too conservative?

Is the conservative reputation fact or furphy?
Audrey asked some of Sydney’s leading independent theatremakers for their thoughts. Scroll down and click on the link to read responses from bAKEHOUSE’s Suzanne Millar; Lachlan Philpott, Kate Gaul, Claudia Barrie, Emily Ayoub, Andrew Henry, Stephen Multari, Dino Dimitriadis

Suzanne has a few extra thoughts: RISK and money go hand in hand. If you’re investing in risky work, then you’ve got to spend money. If you don’t spend money your risky work goes unseen and unnoticed, or worse – critical response is impacted by low budget production values, and audience stay away.

bAKEHOUSE invested a lot of money (and time, but we’re talking money here) into The Laden Table and Jatinga: and not just the productions, but the expensive three year development for each project. 23 diverse artists played to 6 weeks of sold out houses, to great critical and audience acclaim. We budgeted into those productions a generous fee to actors and designers who were sharing the risk with us.
THE LADEN TABLE Mansoor Noor + Jessica Paterson playing Mousa Ka'Adan and Ruth Fishman photo credit Natasha Narula-400x265.jpg
We haven’t yet covered the cost of staging this work.

Like many of the crits, we believe these shows deserve a broader and bigger audience. But in 2017 all our money went into these 2 productions, (and KXT, but we’re talking production costs here). So those shows need a champion. That’s how risky work becomes viable.
I think there’s a lot at stake in indie theatre. It’s a few people, investing their limited time and money into their passion. So it’s tempting to play it safe, to try to be the best independent – as in unfunded – version of our main stages.
bAKEHOUSE presents Jatinga by Purva Naresh.jpg

— KXT2018 —

In 2015 bAKEHOUSE had a little idea that grew. It was an idea about how we could put the world on a small stage in Sydney; how we could invest in the sustainability of independent companies and artists; how we might create a venue that was accessible and affordable, and known for work of excellence; how to create a place in Kings Cross that would be a hub for radical community engagement through the arts
Suzanne 1.jpg
after a whirlwind two years, during which level 2 of the hotel was gutted, KXT was built, relationships and partnerships set up with the hotel, procedures put in place and a whole heap of documents written up, we find ourselves in the heart of the city, in the heart of Kings Cross. In the last 2 years more than 40 productions have been staged at KXT, companies have worked with more than 400 cast, crew and creatives, and around 25,000 people have walked through the doors. We’ve had 6 sold out seasons, performances of theatre, dance and music, with multiple festivals, art exhibitions, events and panels, and plays that have toured and won awards. We want to acknowledge and extend our most heartfelt thanks to those companies who have over the past 2 years, worked with us to take on the risky business of independent theatre, in a new venue in a new arts precinct.

Lies Lies & Propaganda; Tooth & Sinew, Montague Basement, Linda Sings, Catherine McKinnon & Co, Subtlenuance, The Kings Fools, Vivid, Brilliant Adventures, Some Company, St James Choir, Jetpack, Noli Me Tangere, Post Haste Players, Left of Centre, De Quincy Co, The Kings Collective, Siren Theatre, the Impending Room, Priscilla Jackman, LOT5, Stories Like These, Freefall Productions, Advise.Devise.Repeat, Mophead, KXTeethcutting, Mad March Hare, Outhouse Theatre Co, Rocket Productions, MKA, Don’t Look Away

Thank you for sharing the risk that is KXT. We would not be able to announce such a dynamic 2018 season without your investment and support
So. What does KXT2018 hold?

KXT2018 includes 9 Australian premieres, 5 world premieres, 5 new works from Australian writers, and the development of work from an additional 9 writers. The year includes 2 major social justice programs built from community collaborations, 6 diverse works, partnerships and collaborations with 2 NGOs and 1 major arts institution. KXT2018 exceeds gender equity. We are investing in quer writing with 3 productions and 1 development, and not just during Mardi Gras. Our season includes 3 large scale events, and a cheeky new event. We continue our radical community engagement with cheap tickets, open door access, regular play readings, art exhibitions, panel events, foyer meet ups, and schools and university programs. Most importantly KXT is investing in the future, providing opportunities and support for 15 of Sydney’s most exciting young artists as part of the inaugural KXT Step Up program. So lets meet them:

Amy Morcom - Beth McMullen - Derbail Kinsella - Elijah Williams - Eve Beck - Hannah Goodwin - Jessica Adie - Joshua McElroy - Julia McNamara - Kate Walder - Luke Carson - Rebecca Blake - Tabitha Woo - Tom Mesker - Trishala Sharma

we’ll be supporting and assisting this team as they develop new work, build new partnerships and collaborations and take on the world.
in addition we are partnered with CASULA POWERHOUSE THEATRE to provide a writer’s residency to a promising young playwright from the Liverpool District, who will spend time between the Powerhouse and KXT, as we work together to develop a new play to be staged at both venues. We want to thanks Lilian Silk for her work on this project.

bAKEHOUSE’s long experience with grassrots community collaborations continues when we partner with Cana Community to present StoryLines, giving voice to the most marginalised as they transition from prisons, addictions, violence and crime, and make their way back into an often unforgiving and frightening world. For this year long project we will be working with young writers and actors with the support of NSW Governor David Hurley to provide a platform for our city’s unheard voices. And we will continue our work with Katie Pollock on Human Activity a part of the bAKEHOUSE Artistic and Cultural Exchange and is her response to her time in Mumbai for the first read and development of Jatinga. Its an extraordinary play, a collision and intersection of the fantastic worlds of Mumbai and Sydney.
and finally we embark on a trilogy of large scale immersive theatre events playing out over multiple levels of the hotel, building on the breakout success of VISITING HOURS, for Vivid 2016.

So let’s hear from the producers and directors of KXT2018

bAKEHOUSE is seeking sponsorship and support to take JATINGA to Mumbai, India in November 2017
bAKEHOUSE has been invited to launch the CENTRE STAGE FESTIVAL of New Work at the National Centre for Performing Arts (NCPA) in Mumbai, India, with performances of JATINGA 24 & 25 of November 2017. This will be an international co-production with NCPA and Aarambh Productions, Purva Naresh’s popular and succesful theatre company

WE ARE SEEKING: sponsorship for travel, accommodation and artists fees

DATES: 17 - 26 November being one week of on site rehearsal + engagement with project partner AAWC and a weekend of performances

FURTHER DETAILS: 9 Australian performers and 2 production personnel

Travel and accommodation supporters will be noted as presenters ~ donors to the artists fees will be listed as sponsors.


JATINGA by Purva Naresh
presented by [ presenter listed here ]
a bAKEHOUSE & Aarambh co-production with NCPA
Proudly sponsored by [ sponsor listed here ]

NOTE: This will be recorded on all printed material including posters, signage and programs, as well as online on all website listings.

for further information please contact

mob: 0431040586 | e:


at KXT, bAKEHOUSE is committed to providing and affordable and accesible venue. We’re invested in the sustainability of companies, artists and new work. We’re at the forefront of diverse programming, theatre for social change and gender equity. We’re keeping the door open for new and emerging artists

Want to be a part of KXT2018? Then now is the time to...

~ SEND a short covering email
telling us why this is the play you want to stage at KXT
~ ATTACH a single page doc giving: a brief description of the play + short bios of the production team including Director, Producer and any confirmed cast
~ PLUS proof of successful application for rights
~ AND 2 options of preferred dates
~ ALSO a copy of the script



WHEN: open now ~ closes 31 August 2017



bAKEHOUSE Theatre Company launched KXT -Kings Cross Theatre at the end of 2015 to support Sydney’s indie theatre scene and the local arts community.
We’ve come up with a process that offers companies heaps of support and maximum autonomy
We’re investing in a sustainable excology for indie theatre


since we opened in 2015 we've been offering

that’s right, we give you the gift of time itself! Bumping in a show on Monday, trying to ready for a sneaky preview on Wednesday before opening on Thursday or Friday adds a huge risk to indie productions - if you’ve not hit the mark on opening night, your season isn’t long enough for word of mouth to make up for it. At KXT we offer at just over half price an EXTRA WEEK of time in the venue
along with a flat rate weekly hire and the bAKEHOUSE subsidised week, KXT is one of the most affordable theatres Sydney. Most importantly:
so when your show is a hit you’ll make money
we let you in on the Monday then offer easy key access to the space during your hire - the place is yours from midday to midnight
We promote your work across our social media platforms, subscriber base and marketing networks, including the Solotel chain of hotels and exposure at our neighbours within the growing KINGS CROSS ARTS PRECINCT
We’re a new venue, and we’re still building our venue audience. But we will be working with you on audience-building and profile-raising
One of the best in Sydney. 3 phase power (of course!) a kick-ass lighting kit, state of the art desk and gear, great sound. Everything your designers need to make your work beautiful
KXT supports local artists by exhibiting their work in our funky foyer - these exhibits are changed regularly so our audiences are never quite sure what they will encounter on their next visit to KXT. We’ll do our best to ensure the artwork ties in with your show
through the bAKEHOUSE Step Up program we’re providing opportunities and support for new work, companies and artists.
we support your box office for previews and Opening Night; run your Opening Night event on the rooftop bar; host a special event during your season
we’re in the heart of Sydney’s newest arts precinct ~ in the heart of Sydney”





OVER ON SOCIAL MEDIA we’ve been talking about how prolific indie theatre is here in Sydney. Highlighting the stuff going on as part of Bondi Feast. Promoting all the new work and new writing. We were planning to use that to launch into a conversation about a couple of things we’ve been thinking about: the responsibilities of funded companies to reach beyond themselves, to make bold decisions. To do simple things like programming work with big casts. We were going to talk a little bit about the lack of recognition for the little guys doing the big things.

Mostly we wanted to consider the responsibility of the industry to view and frame work in the context of RISK and INVESTMENT
As in: how is it possible to compare an independent company staging a production with a cast of 11 diverse actors, that runs for 3 weeks and is all UNFUNDED (Jatinga) - with a funded co-production on one of the city’s professional stages? Both are successful. But which one has the highest risk? And shouldn’t we talk about that?

We were going to frame a clearly considered and well articulated post that would hopefully ask some big questions. But we’re pretty busy: there are just a couple of us and we’re trying to get JATINGA to a bigger audience; we’re meeting with the gang from Step Up; we’re getting things ready for our call out for 2018; we’re working on audience building and profile raising...

All unfunded.

Another feather in the cap for the Kings Cross Theatre, which hasn’t put a foot wrong in this its first year” ~ Jason Blake SMH


at KXT, bAKEHOUSE is committed to providing an affordable and accessible venue. We’re invested in the sustainability of companies, artists and new work. We’re at the forefront of diverse programming, theatre for social change, and gender equity. We’re keeping the door open for new and emerging artists.
IF YOU’VE GOT A SHOW you’d like to see as part of KXT2018, then now is the time...
SEND us a short covering email telling us why this is the show you want to stage
ATTACH a single page doc with a BRIEF overview of the show, why you reckon it should be part of the season, and details of your production and creative team
AND a copy of the script

WHEN: now until 31 August 2017

if you'd like to know what floats our boat then GO HERE


BUT KXT is more than that ~ we want to know what gets YOU excited

want to know how we get it done? click here

bAKEHOUSE is constantly working to break down gender disparity on Australian stages, promote diversity and give back to the community, and this production is a bold, brave and critical step on that journey...” Emily Caldwell, Weekend Notes


Notes from a recent presentation
...So lets get a little philosophical: There are two things that theatre can do: it can tell the stories of the world we live in. And it can tell the stories of the world we want to live in. So we’ve been putting the world on the stage in the middle of the Cross. KXT is up the hill from the Old Fitz, across the road from Griffin, Hayes is down the street, and the World Bar is through the lights. In the theatre world they talk of the new Kings Cross Arts Precinct, and we’re chuffed to be right in the middle of it.

The arts is intrinsic to a communities well being. Its the big ideas around support, and relationship and conversation, connection. And its also just value adding to your life style. At the time when the area and its demographic is rapidly changing KXT is somewhere you can come have a meal, watch a show, check out some art and catch an event.
At KXT we invest in the arts community by keeping costs at a level that allows companies to pay their actors, designers, directors and production teams. We’re passionate about opportunities for young artists and have championed new work from the next generation of theatre makers. KXT has been home to more than 20 premiere productions and new plays since launching.

But we’re a small company, a not for profit run by volunteers with procedures in place to ensure professional standards. We’re not ambitious. No one makes money in the arts. And we don’t think its possible to run a profit in a theatre (And why should you?) We’d love to see KXT embraced and supported by the local community, and become a place that the area is proud to host. Somewhere that speaks to the community about who they are, and who they want to be.

We’ve just finished a sold out season of THE LADEN TABLE and as we speak Mophead is in final rehearsal for BETWEEN THE STREETLIGHT AND THE MOONby Melita Rowston, a 2016 STC Patrick White Awrd finalist. Broadly speaking its about artists and writers in Paris. This afternoon we saw a white piano wheeled in and we reckon you might want to get along! After that bAKEHOUSE is back with JATINGA, our international co-production with artists and companies in Mumbai.

bAKEHOUSE at KXT is in the risky business of independent theatre. We’d love your support. We’ve got shows and events and art exhibtions programmed all year round, so get on the website and check out what’s on: buy a ticket; come have a meal, hang out at the bar for a drink after the show, say hi if you see us in the foyer. We’re in the heart of Sydney’s newest arts precinct, in the heart of Sydney


... quietly developing work of great important and ethical concern - attention should be paid
- Kevin Jackson KJ Theatre Diary
since our first season in December 2016, KXT has played host to a series of dynamic productions, exciting companies and brave new work. In 2017 alone the season includes 13 premiere productions and 7 developments. We’ve just come off the SOLD OUT SEASON of The Laden Table, and before we head into Jatinga (June 2017) we thought we’d take a minute to find out where in the world everybody is...


Novemer 2016: GOOD WITH MAPS by Noelle Janaczewska and presented by Siren Theatre Co premiered as part of the inaugural INVISIBLE CIRCUS, a month long festival of new work celebrating women artists. The production received the following Sydney Theatre Critics Awards: Best Director (Kate Gaul), Best Score or Sound Design (Nate Edmondson - winner). It has a restaging at Belvoir Theatre in June befroe heading off to Edinburgh Fringe Festival
 Photo credit: Natasha Narula

Photo credit: Natasha Narula

Another feather in the cap for KXT - which hasn’t put a foot wrong in this its first year
- Jason Black SMH


Also nominated: ELIJAH WILLIAMS was nominated for BEST NEWCOMER at the Sydney Theatre Awards for his lead role in the bAKEHOUSE production of BLACK JESUS. He went on to be awarded the Don Reid GLUG for emerging new talent, to work with Sport for Jove in the mutli award winning Antigone as well as their 2017 Education Season. He’s also now Usain Bolt’s Australian body double. Seriously


July 2016: The Some Company production of LEAVES was nominated for nine awards by


Also in development as part of the INVISIBLE CIRCUS: The Laden Table staged in March 2017 & Jatinga, our international co-production currently in rehearsal ahead of its June 2017 season at KXT. We’ve been in development with both these plays since 2014, collaborating with multiple artists and companies. Jatinga has been invited to launch the prestigious CENTRE STAGE FESTIVAL of new work at the National Centre for Performing Arts (NCPA) in Mumbai Nov 2017
 Pictured: Trishala Sharma // Photo credit: Natasha Narula

Pictured: Trishala Sharma // Photo credit: Natasha Narula

one of the most ambitious and logistically coplex efforts you’ll see in an independent theatre this year
— Jason Blake SMH
Still to come: more international work with Puntilla/Matti presented MKA (Aus) and Doppelgangster (UK); new and original work from a reconfigured and rebooted Don’t Look Away; the premier of Between the Streetlight and the Moon by Melita Rowston, a Patrick White Playwright award finalist in 2016, presented by the fabulous Mophead team (May 2017). Plus we’ve got 4 new script developments under way


We’ll be announcing details of our exciting STEP UP program soon, supporting new and emerging artists and new work. We’ve been dong that for a while now (see ALL of the above) and its time we put a plan in place
Jason: This is your new crew?
Sean Asa: Well they ain’t my bookclub

- Step Up: All In (2014)
 Pictured: Mansoor Noor & Jessica Paterson // Photo credit: bAKEHOUSE

Pictured: Mansoor Noor & Jessica Paterson // Photo credit: bAKEHOUSE

One of the best spots to connect with raw indie theatre”
- Lisa Thatcher