Doppelgangster Co-Director Dr. Tom Payne talks about the company’s extraordinary new show Puntila/Matti, which is currently on at KXT as part of the Sydney Fringe.

My theatrical schooling took place in Wales. And in Wales there aren’t any theatres. It’s a historical thing - something to do with not being able to find a flat piece of land on which to site a seating unit. So, for want of a proscenium arch, people have been making shows in barns, on beaches and in ruined castles for the best part of half a century. The Welsh National Theatre isn’t even in a theatre; it’s a loose association of web designers that meet fortnightly in a bus shelter in Cardiff and text each other tips on social integration.

It was through National Theatre Wales that my Doppelgangster Co-Director Australian Dadaist poet Tobias Manderson-Galvin and I first met. We were sharing a bunk bed at a Rudyard Kipling inspired anti-theatre retreat run at the Girl Guide’s Headquarters in mid Wales; run, as I recall, by Robert Baden-Powell’s granddaughter. At one point Tobias and I tried to build a stage, but the other participants stole the curtains and ritually burned it to the ground. Then we were sent to our room and that’s when we came up with Doppelgangster.

So, with Puntila/Matti we’re reacting against that anti-theatrical sentiment. We’re trying to find a new way. I tentatively term it theatre-specific theatre. It’s basically like site-specific theatre, but there are fewer distractions and it’s a bit warmer. In the title roles, Grace Lauer and Tobias move like actors in a Robert Wilson play on speed. Musically, Jules Pascoe’s score is a jazzier and more imposing version of John Cage’s 4’ 33”. Visually, Antoinette Barboutis’ scenography is reminiscent of the invisible art works of Yoko Ono, Yves Klein and Andy Warhol, but with some well-chosen graphics and a splash of pink. Textually, Tobias’ Epic reinterpretation of Brecht is a weave of many interesting words, often his own. Dramaturgically, Kerith Manderson-Galvin and myself have carefully negotiated all of these elements, in a style close to what the Germans were describing as ‘post-dramatic theatre’ back in the 1990s, long before the term was translated into English and replaced ‘contemporary performance’. Although, artistically, I like to think we’ve moved on from all that

pre show.jpg

With this in mind, I propose a new phase. I like to refer to it as ‘post-(contemporary dramatic performance)’. In fact, what you have with Doppelgangster’s Puntila/Matti is ‘post-(contemporary theatre-specific dramatic performance)’. It’s new, and the inclusion of brackets means that audiences will most likely find it tough going to begin with. We expect walkouts. But it’ll catch on, and eventually it will be assimilated into the mainstream and the Germans will publish a useful student textbook called Post-(zeitgenössische theaterspezifische dramatische Aufführung). After a few years, Tobias and I will grow old and fat and die, like Puntila, by the pool, sipping mocktails, with pages from an aging copy of a first edition Kipling floating on the surface of the water. 

When we’re done with the Sydney Fringe Doppelgangster would like to bring the show back to Wales and do it there; although, it could prove controversial, as we’ll have to build a theatre and ask everyone to stay off Snapchat.

Dr. Tom Payne

Twitter // @doctortompayne.com | Website // www.drtompayne.com



bAKEHOUSE on opportunities * collaboration * diversity. Taking risks and saying Yes. And championing new and emerging artists, companies and work

young, lively and imbued with a feeling of magic

- concrete playground

whats it all about?

Since opening 18 months ago, we’ve been thrilled to play host to  myriad of experienced and professional teams, and KXT has fast become known for quality work. A place where you can see the latest work from Phil Rouse, Mophead, Anthony Skuse, bAKEHOUSE, Outhouse, Claudia Barrie, Shane Bosher, Rachel Chant. We've also been excited to welcome in early stage directors, actors, producers, writers, designers, operators.  We love the fearlessness of youth, the ambition and passion that drives them headlong into risky and dangerous work. The drive to succeed and the willingness to fail. Some of the best bAKEHOUSE work has been bold, brave, ambitious. Occasionally flawed. Many times not. But we’ve been able to hone our craft because someone somewhere took a chance on us. They said Yes.

There have been a lot of No’s. We pitched The Laden Table and Jatinga to all the venues and companies over three years, and they all said no. We took a world premiere script by an award winning living Australian legend to some of Sydney’s most accessible curated seasons and they didn’t like it (it’s getting a London premiere in 2018 by the way). We got long listed for multiple seasons, and short listed for others and went to the meetings and wrote the submissions and they still said No. Sometimes we got invited in. For about 6 years we didn’t have enough experience. Then we'd been around too long. Then the work was too ambitious. The teams untried. The ideas too big. Or risky.

But we got enough Yes’s to make it work. To make the work.

Curating KXT has been a steep learning curve. It’s a circus act, juggling what’s best for a venue, the artists, the audiences. The community. Our partners. We want to keep it accessible and affordable. We want the work to be ambitious and new and exciting and challenging and entertaining. And successful. We want to nurture the existing audience and grow a new one. We want to help existing companies to sustainability, supporting those indie legends. While providing opportunities to new and emerging companies.

Its not possible to be all things to all people. But we’ve taken some time to reflect on what we’ve done, what we’re doing and what we want to do. And the next big thing is the next big thing.

* Every month or so we're hosting a MEET UP in the KXT Foyer. Drop in and say hi, tell us what you're up to, pitch an idea or project, ask a few questions, meet some folk. Got a problem you need to trouble shoot? We might just be able to recommend some people or a plan of action. Got a show on? Bring in some fliers. Or just want to know what's going on or what we're thinking about? This is your chance for a chat. First MEET UP is Monday night 4 September. We'll open the doors at about 7.00 pm and hang around until 9ish. Grab a drink and head on up. 

* The bAKEHOUSE STEP UP team will consist of 10 new and emerging practitioners. We’re looking to host designers, directors, writers, producers, actors, and technicians. We’d like to see a good spread across all these areas. We’re particularly keen to support emerging producers. See below for more info. If you'd like to be a part of the Step Up team, then flick us an email to bakehousetheatrecompany@gmail.com with the subject line: KXT StepUp Tell us a little bit about you, your work and what gets you excited. Keep it brief. No attachments, but do include any links that you think might be useful. 

* In 2018 bAKEHOUSE will provide time for 4 one week developments of new work at KXT. Additionally, we will support 2 new companies on a full production of 2 new works.

the next big thing is the next big thing


We’ll work with each team member to shape their role at KXT. For some that may mean assisting on bAKEHOUSE productions, working with designers or directors. For others, it may be that we work with you on your script development. Or introduce you to people who might champion your work. Perhaps you just want to hang out at KXT, come to the shows, help out with FOH, learn how to operate the desk, sit next to some experienced designers, or producers, or directors. Maybe you want to come sit in on some rehearsals. Or find out about auditions. Help at auditions. Perhaps you've got a project you want to run that you reckon is a good fit for bAKEHOUSE & KXT. We'll grab a coffee and have a chat about it. 

You’ll get free tickets to the shows, opportunities to meet and work with some of Sydney’s indie legends, and the chance to pitch for full productions and developments.


In the first 6 months of 2017 KXT has hosted 3 developments, 1 staged reading, and 2 full productions of developments from 2016. We got the ball rolling on Danny & Hugo's  KXTeethcutting project. Patrick & Victor and Jacquline and Ryan from ARRIVE.DEVISE.REPEAT took another look at the gorgeous GOTTERDAMMERUG, and Montague Basement are ran their whirlwind season of BEFORE LYSISTRATA. We opened the door to FREEFALL productions for the Australian Premiere of White Rabbit Red Rabbit But we've been doing this for a while now: big love and a bAKEHOUSE shout out to Harry Tseng, Danielle Jackson, Monica Sayers, Alice Kheovong, Elijah Williams, Constantine Costi, Joshua McElroy, Clare Hennessey, John Goodway, Arisa Yura, Dino Dimitriadis, Michael Dean, Guy Simon, Ben Wood, Michael Costi, Randa Sayed, Eloise Winestock, Belinda Jombwe, Mansoor Noor, Suz Mawer, and a whole crowd of other wonderful artists who've been a part of a bAKEHOUSE project. Who said Yes. 

We're working out a formalised process for STEP UP, one that keeps the doors of KXT wide open to all that's new. Come along to our Step Up Information Night on Tuesday 8 August. We want to tell you what we've got planned. CLICK HERE TO REIGSTER

We've got a bit of time coming up at KXT...

Do you want to come join us at the Cross? We've got a bit of time coming up for new companies, new work that's ready to go, emerging artists, developments. Drop us a line to bakehousetheatrecompany@gmail.com with EOI 2017 in the subject line and tell us what you've got in mind. You never know, we might just have what you're looking for!

But don't get confused... this is NOT our call out for 2018! That will happen in August.

For all the latest news and updates head to the CONTACT page to subscribe to our eNews

KXT2017 RISKY BUSINESS... breaking it down

13 seasons * 15 plays *2 festivals * 4 world premieres * 9 Australian premieres * 8 female directors * 7 male directors * 8 Australian plays * 14 female writers * 5 male writers * 4 script developments * 6 female producing teams * 7 new plays * 3 major diverse projects * 2 international co-productions * 7 first time teams * 5 companies returning * 6 directors returning

1. KXT champions new work: 4 world premieres ~ 8 Australian premieres ~ 4 script developments

one had the right to write because other people needed news of the inner world, and if they went too long without such news they would go mad with the chaos of their lives”
Arthur Millar


2. KXT supports new AUSTRALIAN writing: 8 Australian plays ~ 4 script developments

Writers are magicians: they conjure worlds out of words filling blank pages with people and places where once there was nothing. When we invest in Australian writing we play a part in creating the voice the next generation will hear, respond to and build on. 


3. KXT aims for (and exceeds) gender parity: 8 female directors ~ 7 male directors ~ 14 female writers ~ 5 male writers

In 2017, DTC (59% women), Belvoir (50%) and Griffin (50%) achieved gender parity in their programming of writers and directors. Sydney Theatre Company (34%) and Ensemble Theatre (16%) have male-dominant seasons, again. It should be noted that Griffin did not achieve gender parity in its independent season programming (40%). - WiTS


4. KXT invests in diversity: 3 major diverse projects

bAKEHOUSE is committed to providing a platform for the often unheard voices of Sydney.

The voice of Sydney in 2017 is indigenous. It is Australian, American, English Irish, Chinese, Arabic, Japanese, Korean, Vietnamese. It comes from Sierra Leone, Zimbabwe, the Congo, Rwanda, South Sudan, New Zealand, India, the Philippines. And many more. It is no longer white and English - it is much, much more. 

I’ve been wracking my brain trying to think of a play produced in Sydney over the past decade set in modern day Africa. Credit to bAKEHOUSE Theatre Company for staging it [Black Jesus] and believing it can find an audience. It should”
Jason Blake, SMH


5. KXT invests in the arts community: 7 first time teams ~ 2 international co-productions ~ 5 companies returning ~ 6 directors returning ~ 2 festivals

KXT is a not for profit organisation set up to support the local arts industry. It is run entirely be volunteers and neither KXT nor bAKEHOUSE makes any money from the venue. By opening the door to new companies, and by welcoming back others, we aim to play a role in the development of a sustainable arts ecology. 

bAKEHOUSE has been kicking around the curated seasons and venues for hire for a while now. We're a self-funded company - like many of you - and we're still here due to the loyalty of our audience and the extraordinary generosity of the artists we've collaborated with. At KXT we've attempted to put in place processes that consider the needs of indie companies, providing them with an opportunity to create viable new work that inspires audiences and artists alike. For now that means subsidising hire and supporting companies in a way that will help them pay their artists. And we see this as an investment in the cultural life of Sydney 

We're here to support the game changers and the risk takers. 



done and dusted!

So Mardi Gras at KXT wrapped up last weekend. Over the last two weeks we've played host to Montague Basement's kaleidoscope; 2 series of artworks by Phillip Patterson and Lauren Marshall; Kin in development and a forum on telling trans stories, featuring our very special guests Paul Capsis and Natasha Io; and Elegies, our first musical at KXT.

Big shout out to Montague Basement, who continue their support of trans artists with Charlie O'Grady's Telescope showing at the Sight & Sound Festival later in the year. 

And a bigger shout out to the Red Line guys. We've done 2 weeks of late shows and we're cooked! How do they do it? Passion? A love for all artists? Cocaine? We're picking they've made a pact with Satan. Somewhere in the basement of the Old Fitz is a portrait of Sean, Vanessa and Andy looking like they're about a hundred and fifty years old. 

Paul Capsis in the house!

We had our first taste of celebrity at KXT last night, as Paul Capsis joined the post-show panel for the play in development, Kin. The play is about a trans-woman returning home to visit her father on his deathbed. But the reunion sets family members scratching at old wounds...

Vibrant post-show discussion ensued, led by the freakin' fabulous Natasha Io - was the trans character "made palatable" for the general public? Can a cis-gender man play a trans-gender woman? Who has the right to tell these stories? And how do trans-women manage to strut so damn good in stilettos?

(The answer, by the way? Years of practice!) Natasha and splendid company - kicking down the doors! 

KXT in 2016

INVISIBLE CIRCUS | November, 2016

INVISIBLE CIRCUS | November, 2016

KXT is the new kid on the block. Located in the heart of the city on Level 2 of the iconic Kings Cross Hotel, Sydney's newest theatre is just a short walk up the hill from the Old Fitz and down the road from Griffin.

We got things started late in 2015 with Lies, Lies and Propaganda's exhilarating production of Roadkill Confidential -

... intriguing, laden with ironic intelligence... stimulating and exciting.
— Kevin Jackson

Now bAKEHOUSE is kicking it up a gear. In 2016, KXT plays host to some of Sydney's indie theatre legends and trailblazers, continues to support small and emerging companies, and introduces you to some young guns on their way up. bAKEHOUSE continues its commitment to new work and development as well as its long-held practice of arts events, think-tanks and forums.

We’ve had amazing support from Sydney’s indie arts community and been able to put together a great program for 2016. We can’t wait to share it with you.
— Suzanne Millar, bAKEHOUSE Co-Artistic Director

First up is Anthony Neilson's blistering black comedy Year of the Family, presented by Tooth and Sinew, directed by Richard Hilliar, and running Feb 10-20.

The 2016 season features work from leading directors including Kate Gaul, Shane Bosher, Cathy Hunt, Rachel Chant, Glen Hamilton, Suzanne Millar, Paul Gilchrist and John Harrison. KXT will also host work from emerging companies and artists including Jetpack, Montague Basement, Oliver Burton and Stephen Lloyd Coombs.

It is our hope that KXT will be a place for exciting, passionate theatre that’s new, that’s ambitious, that is global in scope - theatre that inspires big conversations.
— John Harrison, bAKEHOUSE Co-Artistic Director

Highlights of the year include:

  • Mardi Gras at KXT - Featuring a restaging of indie hit Kaleidoscope (presented by Montague Basement), a trans story by writer Charlie O'Grady; a reading of the new work Kin, with a post-read Q+A panel featuring Paul Capsis; and a short season of the musical Elegies, A Song Cycle by Tony award-winning William Finn.
  • Black Jesus -  Long known as one of Sydney's few companies committed to staging culturally diverse work, bAKEHOUSE Theatre Company will stage the Australian premiere of Anders Lustgarten's powerhouse play. Set in 2015 in post-Mugabe Zimbabwe where a Truth and Justice Commission has been set up to investigate past atrocities, Black Jesus brings Africa to Sydney's stages, directed by Suzanne Millar and featuring a hot young African-Australian cast .
  • Invisible Circus - a month long festival of work by women, featuring three plays written and directed by some of Australia's foremost artists, who just happen to be women, including Cathy Hunt, Noelle Janaczewska and Kate Gaul. Co-curated by bAKEHOUSE Artistic Director Suzanne Millar and Siren Theatre's Kate Gaul, the festival is KXT's response to the ongoing issues surrounding gender parity in theatre.
  • The NIDA-bAKEHOUSE Collaborative Project - For many years, bAKEHOUSE has supported and mentored some of Sydney's most exciting young theatre-makers and this program allows us to provide a fully resourced process, with the selected graduates given the opportunity to participate in Sydney's indie theatre scene and a venue to showcase their work.
  • The Chesterfield - KXT's communal melting pot is about to kick off with performance platforms by Australian dance legend Tess de Quincey, featuring dance, jazz, spoken word and photography; a fundraiser for the heavenly St James Choir; classical music from members of Metropolitan Opera and brilliant conversations about refugees and migrants (Out of Africa), young scientists and the future of the world (Totally F#$*ked); and the how to make truly dangerous Art (Radical Art).
  • Diversity in development - a number of bAKEHOUSE projects in development will receive readings this year. Jatinga by Hindi Playwright Purva Naresh, commissioned through the bAKEHOUSE-Mumbai Cultural Exchange; Renee Lim's Falling Through Clouds; and The Laden Table written by women from Sydney's Jewish and Muslim communities.
  • Art installations - KXT's beautiful foyer has already played host to work from Blue Mountains-based artist Nick McKinlay and Suzanne Millar's impressions from her time in Mumbai. A sexy new installation from Lauren Marshall has just hit the walls and equally sexy work from Philip Patterson is on the way!
This is a sh$#tload of work... What were we thinking?!
— Andrew McMartin, KXT Venue Operations Manager