THEATRE

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i knew a phoenix

in my youth

woodford folk festival 19/20

large scale outdoor theatre

woodford folk festival closing ceremony

 

Artistic Director | Writer: 

Alex Podger

​PART 1
A marsupial boy called Emir finds a baby bird, and raises it. They grow older together in a summer drawn long and golden, but soon we must all grow up. The phoenix must rise into the sky, and as his childhood friends bid farewell and the worlds starts to fall apart, Emir decides to stand up for the smallest creatures. 

In respect of the Australian bushfires, no fire or pyrotechnics were used in the ceremony, and instead the performance concluded with a celebration of climate activist groups and the volunteer Rural Fire Services, who have supported our ceremony over the past three decades.

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the rift

woodford folk festival 18/19

large scale outdoor theatre

woodford folk festival closing ceremony

Artistic Director / Writer: 

Alex Podger

The earth is new and inhabited by peculiar twin-folk - lumbering spheres that resemble two humans bound back-to-back. Their hearts beat to the same song as together they finish painting the trees and sculpting the stones. They know nothing yet of anger, nor hurt, nor love. 

 

But as the mountains grow slowly around them, so too do the cracks in the human condition - until maddened by selfish desire they tear themselves in two and cast a fiery rift between them.

 

Inspired by Aristophanes’ Speech, Plato’s ‘Symposium’ (385 BC)

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verdi: requiem

bleach* festival 2019

outdoor opera

bleach* festival + opera queensland
 

Site Designer | Pyro Artist: 

Alex Podger

​The Gold Coast's spectacular outdoor amphitheatre at HOTA was transformed into a fiery sanctuary for Verdi's iconic work performed by Opera Queensland and Griffith University in collaboration with Bleach Festival. 

12 giant candelabras surrounded the space as 2000 red prayer candles lined the stage. Flames leapt from the wings during the Dies Irae before giving way to pyrotechnic stars in the final refrains of Libera Me. 

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anytime the wind can change

the new shadow cabinet

touring shadow play
brighton fringe + across united kingdom

 

Writer | Director | Puppeteer | Co-Producer: 

Alex Podger

A fire lit evening of shadows and music that tells the story of two lonely giants falling in love in the wake of a comet, accompanied by a stunning original live score that will pluck at your heartstrings and make you sing with joy.

This new folk tale carried you in to a world of shadow and light through one of the world's oldest forms of puppetry, presented by a collective of international artists united through the turmoil of this year. 

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welcome to sameville

commonwealth games festival 2018

immersive outdoor theatre
Shock Therapy Productions

Production Designer | Costume Designer:

Alex Podger

​A fruity brutalist world containing a social experiment gone wrong. A corner of a public park was converted into a cement facility with cement monuments, inflatable domes and a population who all looked very similar. 

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for whom the bell tolls

woodford folk festival 17/18

large scale outdoor theatre
woodford folk festival closing ceremony

 

Artistic Director | Writer:

Alex Podger

In the green hills beside a booming Iron Town, Astrid tends to her herd of endangered Auryx - gentle creatures with magic in their horns and music in their hearts.

 

The Iron Town thunders on, belching its fumes to turn rusty wheels that never rest, until watchful human eyes discover new value in the Auryx. Despite the warning tolls of the bell, human greed is never quenched - leaving Astrid the only thing standing between the Auryx and extinction. 

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what we learned from the sky

woodford folk festival 16/17

large scale outdoor theatre
woodford folk festival closing ceremony

 

Artistic Director | Writer:

Alex Podger

​A great comet burns across an empty sky. Down below, Astrid and Naut fall in love across a vast ocean, sending messages to each other with beacons and on the wings of birds. But in the wake of catastrophe, peace becomes chaos and cracks begin to form. 

The Woodford 'Fire Event' is the one of the largest annual outdoor theatre productions in Australia, and involves over 1000 artists and participants, for an audience of 20 000 on the first day of the year. 

 

This story has been reimagined as Anytime The Wind Can Change - a touring shadow play in the UK. 

 

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the drought

woodford folk festival 16/17

circus theatre
woodford folk festival 

 

Director: Hayden Spencer

Artist: Adam O'Connor-Mcmahon
Designer: 
Alex Podger

The heart wrenching story of an Australian farmer's slow descent into madness after seven years of relentless drought. Isolated, devastated, yet ever hopeful, his only companion are ghosts from his past. 

The set contained a seven metre tight wire, and several tonnes of red earth. 

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the planting ceremonies

the planting festival 2016-19

welcome + tree planting + bonfire ceremonies
the planting 


Director: Alex Podger

Jinibara elders and dancers welcome us to Country. Rick Roser & Bob Robinson light the first fire, which is kept alight throughout the festival. 

The Spanish Community gift Woodfordia with an olive tree. 

Woodfordians write their gratitude on paper lanterns that become a huge candle mandala. The audience and surrounds are filled with flickering candles as the bonfire is lit. 

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the last leaf

woodford folk festival 15/16

large scale outdoor theatre

woodford folk festival closing ceremony
 

Artistic Director | Writer: Alex Podger

​In a dead forest at the edge of the world, an ancient giant tries to save the last tree - a colossal paperbark that needs fire to germinate. A golden conjuror sells tickets to watch the tree die, ignoring Viktor's ancient knowledge, until in a moment of great sacrifice Viktor puts his own soul into the tree, watching its vibrant leaves burst to life as his eyes close for the last time. 

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the fire village

woodford folk festival 14/15

large scale outdoor theatre

woodford folk festival closing ceremony
 

Artistic Director | Writer: Alex Podger

​Tilda returns to her village of fire farmers, to find it destroyed by a band of machine-riding, electro-punk Philistines. The village moon has been stolen, and a blue neon cage holds the people captive. 

 

With a little help from the natural world, Tilda frees her village and restores the natural order of things.  

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the gremlins

bent schematic

street theatre + outdoor theatre

woodford folk festival | adelaide fringe | anywhere theatre festival | cairns festival

Producers: Jenna Koda + Alex Podger
Director | Designer: 
Alex Podger
Founding Co-director | Clown Trainer:
Hayden Spencer

​A race of horned, green-skinned creatures obsessed with flight. Their culture is a simple one; they worship the humble potato, consider planes to be flying gods, and attempt to build flying machines out of 'borrowed' car parts. 

 

Developed in 2010 for Woodford Folk Festival, The Gremlins performed 8 seasons of outdoor shows plus street performances, guest appearances & a 21 day performance installation in Cairns, and most recently a hit season with sold out shows and five star reviews in the Garden of Unearthly Delights, Adelaide Fringe '16.

 

Based on clown, slapstick and grotesque physical comedy, with a nod to The Young Ones and the Three Stooges, The Gremlins were a hit with all ages and backgrounds, and created outrageous comedy from the junk laying around them. 

For more go to www.bentschematic.com

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macnas parades

macnas, galway

procession + spectacle theatre 2015 - 2017

galway macnas parade | bram stoker festival dublin | hull city of culture

Artistic Director: Noelene Kavanagh
Designer: Orla Clogher
Associate Director | Performance | Pyro Designer: 
Alex Podger

Masters of story-telling and spectacle, Macnas are known the world over for their extraordinary puppets and images, accompanied by wild performance and music. Myths and poems roll through the streets as shadows stalk the unsuspecting. 

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little boxes

bent schematic

outdoor theatre
anywhere theatre festival 14

Producer: Jenna Koda

Director | Designer: Alex Podger

​Performed in a purpose built one-eighty degree set from reclaimed materials, an absurd pano-drama unfolds around the audience. Six peculiar people live their lives in self-imposed isolation as their actions begin to affect each other more and more. 

 

A rather destructive show, it took about 3 hours to reset each day with a large number of technical effects, water effects, walls being torn down and a car crashing through the set during the performance.

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amphi interludes

woodford folk festival

outdoor theatre
woodford folk festival 13/14

Producer | Director: Alex Podger

​Each night of the Woodford Folk Festival, the Fire Event structure came to life. Filled with self-obsessed humans, we watched the Heart slowly become occupied by monsters - as each night a new creature arrived and evicted someone before making itself at home.

Pyrotechnics, water and porridge.

So much porridge.

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ausfolk conference

woodfordia

outdoor theatre
ausfolk conference closing 2010

Producer | Director: Alex Podger

​A gathering of cultural engineers from across the country, Ausfolk invited the delegates to set the scene for the Closing Ceremony. Delegates entered across the stage and placed candles around the lake to illuminate the musicians.  A beacon of puzzle pieces, painted by the guests, floated in the centre of the pond, before being completed by two characters in a rowboat.