Anywhere Theatre Festival

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Anywhere Theatre Festival
Frequency Annually
Location(s) initially Brisbane, now all over the country
Country Australia
Inaugurated 2011

Anywhere Festival is an annual Brisbane based festival for performance anywhere but traditional theatre spaces. The first anywhere-but-in-a-traditional-theatre concept was brought to Brisbane in 2011 by creative director Paul Osuch and his partner, Ally McTavish. Their theory is that we need to take traditional story-telling out of theatre buildings and back to where life really takes place, in the community.[1]

The festival – which holds performances anywhere but in a traditional theatre – began in 2011 with 4000 attendees and 31 productions.[2] Since it began, the Anywhere Festival (they dropped the "Theatre" in 2015) has grown in size and popularity as it inhabited the nooks and crannies of this city of ours [3]

The idea behind Anywhere is that the art of theatre should not be constrained by, well, a theatre nor by a time frame of two plus hours with interval, or even a genre.[4]

External video
Arts Queensland documentary on Anywhere Theatre Festival
Festival Director Paul Osuch talking about Anywhere Theatre at TEDxBrisbane 2011

The idea behind Anywhere Festival is that you don't - you shouldn't - have to go to a traditional theatre space to see theatre. You shouldn't have to pay a lot of money for tickets, and artists shouldn't be limited by space or cost or time. For 10 days this month, you can see exciting theatre in parks, backyards, bedrooms, lifts, trains and even on Twitter, not just in Brisbane but as far away as Toowoomba to the west, and Yandina to the north.[5]

"The festival is about theatre anywhere but in a theatre," explains Paul Osuch, the mastermind behind the festival. He started Anywhere with his wife, Alex McTavish. "I could see people wanted exciting theatre that didn't have to happen in a theatre," he says. "What kicked it over the line was when English actor Ian McKellen couldn't find a theatre space in Brisbane to bring his acclaimed Waiting for Godot. I figured that if he had trouble getting into a Brisbane theatre there were probably a lot of less-well-known theatre producers with the same problem." [5]

It wasn't just a lack of available theatre venues that prompted him to act. Osuch says he found many traditional theatre spaces were restrictive, both for audiences and artists, and smothered in an air of "elitism" that was turning people away.[5]

"I find that most performances in a theatre space are just a little sterile. And parking's difficult, the drinks are generally overpriced and, as someone over the height of six foot, I'm not a big fan of theatre seating where I have to watch a show through the gap in my knees," he says. "I feel that the traditional theatre spaces stop more people going to experience it than it regularly attracts. It's been turned into this big thing with a huge infrastructure around it instead of it being something that people feel they can pop along to in their own neighbourhood or do themselves." [5]

"Ultimately, the Anywhere Festival is about entertainment and theatre but it is also about encouraging businesses to engage with their community in a new way", says co-founder and creative producer, Alex McTavish."[6] "It may seem like it is a simple arts festival but community and communion is what it's all about," she says.

The festival is held in Brisbane,[7] Mackay,[8] Frankston [9] and Parramatta.[10]


The festival began in 2011 as the Anywhere Theatre Festival, Brisbane but became known as the Anywhere Festival in 2014 to expand its remit beyond traditional "theatre". It was created and directed by Paul Osuch and Ally McTavish.[1]

In 2014, the first Anywhere Festival was presented in Frankston and in 2015 grew to include Brisbane, Mackay, Dysart, Middlemount, Moranbah Parramatta and Frankston.


The 2011 Anywhere Theatre Festival included cabaret, circus, comedy, drama, site specific theatre and kids theatre features productions by Riot Stage, underground Productions, Black Fox Theatre, Divalution, Cracked Pavement, Rag Tag Productions, Somerset Mills Productions, Flipside Circus, Roundabout theatre, Queensland Arts Council, Gumball Theatre, Edge Improv, Spangles Aura Productions, Booster cushion, The Deconverters, Fractal Theatre, Queensland Shakespeare Ensemble, Two Hours Traffic, Circa Zoolings, Cradle Productions, Michael Weston Organisation, Soapbox Theatre, Circa Zoo, allison Manson and Imploding Fictions.[11][12]


The 2012 Anywhere Theatre Festival ran from 10 to 19 May 2012 and included the following organisations and theatre practitioners: Arts Queensland, Queensland Theatre Company, Brighton Fringe, Markwell Presents Cinematic Theatre Co, Underground Productions, The Alleyway Collective, Cradle Productions, ELaRT Productions, Hannah Taylor, Tease, Black Fox Theatre, La Petite Famille, 2Muse Productions, Egg Festivals Inc., Musica Viva, Arts Support, Sarah Reinking, La Boite, Stage On Screen, Metro Arts, Woodfordian Institute of Street Performances (WISP), SeeD Theatre, Fixate Productions, HolePunch, Synestheatre, Tessa Waters, Mager & Smythe, Lucy Ingham & Alexander Baden Bryce, Australian Actors Network, Jennifer Bismire, 8 Wing Theatre Co., Two Hours Traffic, heartBeast- vicious theatre ensemble, Flipside Circus, Queensland Wind Orchestra, Oxford Girl Theatre Project, Hidden Room, Edrich, Queensland Shakespeare Ensemble, Belles of Hell, Marcus Lilley Artist, Small Crown Productions, Sandra Carluccio, UQ Drama, Medley Theatre Company, Babushka, Circa.


The 2013 Anywhere Theatre Festival changed from a ten-day to twelve-day festival, running from 8 to 19 May.


The 2014 Anywhere Festival ran from 7 to 18 May and included 420 performances of 67 different productions over 27 suburbs of Brisbane. It featured cabaret, circus, comedy, drama, site specific theatre and kids theatre. Festival director Paul Osuch said this year's event, running May 7 to 18, would see pubs, hotels, shops, cafes, parks, churches, homes and even a garage serve as a venue for a range of theatre, dance, music, circus and comedy acts.[13]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Cotes, Alison (2014-05-12). "Anywhere Theatre Festival reviews (Brisbane) | Daily Review: film, stage and music reviews, interviews and more". Retrieved 2015-07-09. 
  2. ^ Natalie Bochenski (2014-10-30). "Going anywhere? Festival's future in doubt". Retrieved 2015-07-09. 
  3. ^ "The Anywhere Theatre Festvial takes over Brisbane - ABC Queensland - Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC)". 2014-03-11. Retrieved 2015-07-09. 
  4. ^ "Anywhere Theatre Festival 2014 Brisbane". Must do Brisbane. Retrieved 2015-07-09. 
  5. ^ a b c d [1][dead link]
  6. ^ "Online Magazine". Brisbane News. Retrieved 2015-07-09. 
  7. ^ "Anywhere Festival - Brisbane - Event". Queensland. 2015-05-24. Retrieved 2015-07-09. 
  8. ^ [2][dead link]
  9. ^ "Anywhere Festival Frankston". Archived from the original on 2015-03-31. Retrieved 2015-07-09. 
  10. ^ "Anywhere Festival Parramatta | Parramatta Events". Retrieved 2015-07-09. 
  11. ^ "Anywhere Festival | Case Studies". Creative Spaces. 2011-05-14. Retrieved 2015-07-09. 
  12. ^ "Anywhere Theatre Festival" (PDF). Retrieved 2015-07-09. 
  13. ^ Natalie Bochenski (2014-10-30). "Ten strangest locations for Anywhere Theatre Festival". Retrieved 2015-07-09. 

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 27°28′16″S 153°01′22″E / 27.47111°S 153.02278°E / -27.47111; 153.02278