About Merrigong Theatre Company
Merrigong Theatre Company manages one of Australia's busiest, most dynamic regional venues – Illawarra Performing Arts Centre (IPAC) in Wollongong, about an hour south of Sydney. The company also manages the city’s key civic and community venue, the Wollongong Town Hall.
Under Artistic Director Simon Hinton, Merrigong has also developed into a vibrant theatre company in its own right – producing, presenting and touring exciting contemporary theatre and supporting the development of a wide range of theatre-makers. Merrigong presents a diverse annual season of theatre, dance and children’s programming, including work sourced from Australia’s finest performing arts companies, self-produced work, acclaimed international productions, and innovative contemporary work from new companies. Merrigong and its audience are an essential destination on the national touring circuit.
PRODUCING, DEVELOPING AND SUPPORTING NEW WORK
As well as presenting the work of other companies, Merrigong produces full-scale productions in-house for presentation in our theatre subscription season and for touring to other venues. Much of our work is commissioned and developed here at Merrigong, but we also collaborate with other companies in the creation of exciting contemporary theatre.
Recent Merrigong mainstage productions include: A Sri Lankan Tamil Asylum Seeker's Story as Performed by Australian Actors Under the Guidance of a Sinhalese Director by Sri Lankan playwright Dhananjaya Karunarathne, the mixed-abilities work The Man Who Dreamt the Stars (co-produced with The Disability Trust), Alana Valentine’s Dead Man Brake, Van Badham’s The Bull, The Moon and the Coronet of Stars (co-produced with Griffin Theatre Company and HotHouse Theatre), Marcel Dorney’s Charcoal Creek, The Table of Knowledge (co-produced with version 1.0), Mary Rachel Brown’s The Dapto Chaser and The Q Brothers’ Funk it up About Nothin’ (co-produced with Chicago Shakespeare Theater and Richard Jordan Productions).
Through our Studio Sessions program we also support local independent artists in all stages of their work, from development to production and presentation, giving birth to unique stories from and for our region.
Merrigong regularly tours, both our own work and exceptional international theatre, to other venues around Australia, often in association with our London-based producing partner Richard Jordan Productions. Recent tours include: from the United Kingdom, Dylan Thomas: Return Journey (17 venues); from the United States, Baba Brinkman and Jamie Simmonds’ The Rap Guide to Evolution (nine venues), Kahlil Ashanti’s Basic Training (13 venues) and The Q Brothers’ Funk it up About Nothin’ (seven venues); Canadian Rick Miller’s MacHomer (four venues); and Scotland’s Traverse Theatre’s Midsummer (a play with songs) (four venues).
Illawarra Performing Arts Centre (IPAC) was opened in 1988 and consists of three performance spaces: the 515 seat IMB Theatre, the 234 seat Bruce Gordon Theatre and the 80 seat Bob Peet Studio. In addition to being the home of Merrigong Theatre Company, IPAC also operates as a venue for hire, hosting numerous commercial and community performing arts events throughout the year.
The recently refurbished Wollongong Town Hall comprises four meeting and performance spaces, including the 800 seat main auditorium. Smaller rooms are able to accommodate 30 to 270 people. Through our infrastructure and programs Merrigong is the key service provider for the performing arts in south-eastern New South Wales.
The name Merrigong is thought to be a derivation of the indigenous word for the Illawarra region's distinctive escarpment.
The company name acts as a constant reminder that the Illawarra Performing Arts Centre sits on the ancestral land of the Dharawal people. Merrigong Theatre Company acknowledges the Dharawal people as the traditional custodians of this land.
For thousands of years prior to white settlement, the Dharawal people resided along the coast from Sydney to the Illawarra, feasting, dancing, hunting, sharing stories, music and family. They continue into the future as the custodians of this land amongst the now internationally diverse community that is Wollongong.